<
>

Opening camp: Colorado

Schedule: Practice starts today

What’s new: Not the coach. Dan Hawkins will try to turn the Buffaloes in the right direction in Year 5, with four losing seasons and just one bowl game behind him.

Key battle: Quarterback. Tyler Hansen looked like he had taken full control of the job late last season, but Hawkins opened the competition in the spring and insists he'll do the same this fall. Hansen is the safe bet to start, but Hawkins' comments make it obvious that he's no guarantee to beat out Cody Hawkins.

New on the scene: Receiver Travon Patterson. A 5-foot-9, 175-pound transfer from USC, Patterson caught 10 passes for 96 yards in 33 games at Southern Cal. He should be a factor in the passing game alongside Scotty McKnight.

Breaking out: Receiver Toney Clemons. An obvious choice, perhaps, but a necessary one. Clemons, the preseason Newcomer of the Year, transferred to Colorado from Michigan and made a big impact this spring on his teammates, who made him the first overall pick of the draft for teams before the spring game.

Don’t forget about: Colorado's talent on the offensive line. They have two of the best linemen in the conference in guard Ryan Miller and tackle Nate Solder. But the rest of the line around them must jell for the unit to see success after giving up a Big 12-high 43 sacks in 2009, 11 more than any team in the Big 12.

All eyes on: Coach Hawkins. Seated upon perhaps the hottest seat in America, Hawkins has never needed a winning season more. The Buffaloes' difficult nonconference schedule, with games against Georgia and Cal, won't help him do it, but that doesn't change the need.

Quoting: "I asked them yesterday, I said, What's been the biggest difference between last year and this year? It has been -- it's been just a few little things. They're rolling. Their club's on fire, and they're doing a great job. For us, that's been the whole concept. Let's look at this thing from an objective standpoint of what's really affected the wins and losses. Can we clean this up? Can we be responsible for this? So for our team, that's been the whole focus. So it hasn't always been so much a rallying as it has been pointing things out and learning and getting better." -- Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, on the comparisons between his team and the Texas Rangers