BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Boise State coach Dan Hawkins said Thursday he’ll go to Colorado to finalize negotiations to become the Buffaloes’ new coach.

“Officially, nothing’s been decided,” he said. “There are certain things that have to happen. You can go 99 yards on a football field, but you have to go that last yard, otherwise you don’t get a touchdown.”

The CU board of regents is scheduled to meet today to approve Hawkins’ contract. If that goes as expected, Hawkins coach could be introduced as the replacement for Gary Barnett later in the day.

“What it gets down to, is challenge and opportunity, versus continuing to do what you’ve been doing,” said Hawkins, who is 53-10 at BSU. “I’m going to prove myself again.”

The coach acknowledged the challenges at Colorado, where football has been under scrutiny in the wake of a recruiting scandal and, more recently, a state audit that did not look kindly at the way Barnett ran his personal football camps and the program, in general.

CU athletic director Mike Bohn said he’s looking for someone with the energy to make fans care about and unite behind the Buffs again, the way they did in the early 1990s, when Bill McCartney was coach.

“The biggest thing you need to do is go in there and galvanize some things, because they’ve been through a lot,” Hawkins said.

Bohn on Wednesday called Hawkins a great fit for CU.

“Dan Hawkins is the type of coach who represents virtually every expectation that I outlined,” the AD said.

Boise State officials did not indicate who would be a contender for Hawkins’ position, should he leave. Several players said they expect offensive coordinator Chris Petersen to be his successor.

“We’re losing a great coach, but we’re gaining a great coach, in coach Petersen,” said Ian Johnson, a running back for the Broncos.

BSU players say they are continuing to focus on their upcoming Dec. 28 MPC Computers Bowl in Boise against 19th-ranked Boston College.

“Football is all about winning,” said Alex Guerrero, a BSU defensive tackle. “It’s not about who is wearing the headphones.

AP-ES-12-15-05 1932EST

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