Biggest shoes to fill: Colorado

March, 23, 2012
3/23/12
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Starters in, starters out. That's college football. Players' eligibility expires and they leave for the rest of their lives, whether that includes the NFL or not.

And they leave behind shoes of various sizes that need to be filled.

Our concern with this series? The biggest shoes -- in some cases Shaq-like size 23s.

Big shoes: Quarterback Tyler Hansen

Coach Jon Embree called the quarterback position battle the No. 1 priority for the Buffaloes this spring and going into fall. That's good enough for us. Colorado isn't lacking holes to fill, so you might as well start at the top. Hansen didn't have great numbers by Pac-12 standards. His 56.1 completion percentage was last among conference quarterbacks, and his 20-to-11 touchdown to interception ratio and 2,883 yards were pedestrian in a league where half of the quarterbacks throw for 3,000-plus yards. But numbers aside, he was gutty, reliable and absorbed every one of the 82 sacks he suffered in a four-year career. He was a leader. And that's not easily replaced.

Stepping in: Connor Wood, Nick Hirschman, Stevie Joe Dorman or John Schrock

The quarterback competition, which was supposed to heat up this spring between Wood, a Texas transfer, and Hirschman, last year's backup, got put on ice after Hirschman suffered another broken bone in his foot. That means Wood has the entire spring to impress the coaching staff and work pretty much exclusively with the first team. Embree said the competition will resume when Hirschman returns in the summer, and the job is not Wood's by any means. Dorman and Schrock, are a pair of dark horse candidates that will also benefit from Hirschman missing spring, but both are expected to split reps with the second team.

The rest of the "Big Shoes" series can be found here.

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