Buffs QB race stretches into summer


Colorado finished its spring workouts with the annual spring game on Saturday, and Tyler Hansen sat atop the depth chart at quarterback for the Buffaloes. Hansen and Cody Hawkins suited up against each other in the spring game and both performed well, but coach Dan Hawkins remained non-committal after the game in deciding on a clear starter entering the lengthy summer break.

"You'd love to make a decision after the spring's over, but it's great for our competition and great for our guys to keep battling," Hawkins said.

But it could also be great for Hawkins' "guys" to have a clear starter and leader entering summer workouts, allowing either Hawkins or Hansen to embrace the role of "starting quarterback," and all the off-the-field effects of that role. Clearly, Hawkins prefers the former.

Hansen took over for Cody Hawkins mid-game during an Oct. 10 loss to Texas and started for the remainder of the season. During that stretch, the Buffaloes were 2-5, with wins over Kansas and Texas A&M. In Hawkins' starts, the Buffaloes went 1-4 with the lone win coming against Wyoming and losses against West Virginia, Toledo and Colorado State.

In Saturday's spring game, Hansen threw three touchdowns and completed 17 of 22 passes for 170 yards. Hawkins threw two touchdowns and completed 20 of 26 passes for 220 yards.

You can't put too much stock into it, but Hansen led the Gold team to a 37-27 win. Both have to be encouraged by completing over 75 percent of their attempts.

"I don't know why, unless you had a guy who won 10 games, would say, 'Yeah, you're the guy,'" Dan Hawkins said.

Judging by those comments, only wins will secure either quarterback a job, and the Buffaloes won't have a chance at any more for almost four months.

A few other notes from the Buffaloes spring game:

  • Michigan transfer Toney Clemons had plenty of eyes on him all spring, and they must have liked what they saw. In the draft for the spring game, the Colorado captains selected Clemons with the first overall pick. Clemons caught four passes for 33 yards.

  • The second pick in the draft, All-Big 12 offensive tackle Nate Solder, caught a touchdown pass from Hawkins on a tackle-eligible play at the goal line in the fourth quarter. "We were supposed to run it all last season," Solder said. "We finally got the chance."

  • The Gold team busted out the Haka before the game, a Polynesian war dance made popular most recently by Hawaii in college football and the All Blacks, New Zealand's rugby union team.

  • Freshman quarterback Nick Hirschman threw one pass in the scrimmage -- and completed it to Andre Simmons for an 83-yard touchdown. That's good enough for a quarterback rating of 1127.20.