Buffaloes could have starting QB named by end of spring

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Colorado coach Dan Hawkins said he could pick a starting quarterback by the end of the spring practice.

But Hawkins cautioned that even if he picked a No. 1 player between junior Cody Hawkins and sophomores Tyler Hansen and Matt Ballenger, he still reserves the right to change his mind before the Buffaloes' Sept. 5 opener against Colorado State.

Dan Hawkins hopes that one quarterback will emerge this spring, but emphasized that a potential starter would have to prove it again in August. The Buffaloes start spring practice on Tuesday.

"I think you always have, to some degree, preferences, but I don't know that you ever want to jump on a table and say that just set in stone," Hawkins told the Boulder Daily Camera.

Cody Hawkins started 11 games for the Buffaloes last season during their 5-7 season, passing for 1,892 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Hansen was expected to redshirt last season before he was unexpectedly thrust in the lineup to direct a comeback victory over Kansas State. He also started in a victory over Iowa State in a game where Cody Hawkins came off the bench to lead the Buffaloes to the triumph. And Ballenger has experience gleaned from two previous seasons in the Colorado program.

The experience at the position has the Colorado coach feeling more confident about his quarterbacks than at any time in his previous three seasons coaching the Buffaloes.

"It's definitely better," Hawkins said. "They all have a good understanding and have been here for awhile and know what we're trying to do."

While Hawkins might profess to wanting to develop a starter, it's more likely that the competition will play out through the fall.

The North Division is arguably at its most competitive point in the history of the conference this season with no clear favorite. And Dan Hawkins knows that settling the Colorado starting QB job could give the Buffaloes a chance to emerge as a dark horse contender in what is a winnable division for them with some good fortune.