Colorado University football coach Dan Hawkins has a unique tie with his starting quarterback.
He can't help it. It's his son.
Cody Hawkins won the starting job in the offseason and has been effective in helping the Buffs to a 4-3 start despite a tough schedule. The younger Hawkins has passed for 1,680 yards and 11 touchdowns so far, but his 12 interceptions have proven a sore spot.
Still, the Hawkinses are thriving in what some may consider a tough situation in college athletics - the father coaching the son.
"The kids on the team, I think, respect the coach because he made the decision to put the best quarterback on the field, and they believe in him," Kansas University coach Mark Mangino said. "I'm sure that there's probably some anxiety on Dan's part. His quarterback is his son and is the central focus of the offense."
Mangino never had the same chance. While his son, Tommy, was a solid quarterback at Lawrence High five years ago, he wasn't considered a Division I football prospect and ended up playing football and baseball at Division II Washburn University in Topeka.
But KU's sixth-year coach can imagine what it's like day-in and day-out for the Hawkins family.
"It's gotta be an enjoyable experience, to be able to coach your son and be around him every day and share thoughts with him, share victories," Mangino said. "I think it's more of a positive than it is a negative. I'm sure Dan is enjoying this experience and rightfully so. Not everybody has an opportunity to coach their son."
Cody Hawkins is helping the Buffs win football games, too. A 5-foot-11, 190-pound red-shirt freshman, Hawkins physically compares to KU quarterback Todd Reesing. And besides his interception total, he has shown solid ability and leadership in leading Colorado's offense.
It's not all rosy, though. Hawkins threw three picks against a speedy Kansas State defense last week in a 47-20 loss, perhaps the first time he showed his age.
"I think it was probably similar to the rest of our team," Dan Hawkins said. "It was probably the first time he was really trying to press to make some plays versus going through the progressions and not predetermining or not trying to force the ball down the field.
"For the first time, he was trying to force things a little bit and not go through his progressions. But again, the guy's a freshman."
And for coach Hawkins, a special one at that.