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Brooks: QB Battle Continues

Courtesy: B.G. Brooks, Contributing Editor
Release: August 20, 2009
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Cody Hawkins prepares to hand off in Thursday's scrimmage.   By CUBuffs.com
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BOULDER - Colorado's Nos. 1-2 defensive personnel will be set before the final camp scrimmage on Aug. 29, but several first and second offensive positions still could be undecided - and that includes the starting quarterback job.

At the conclusion of Thursday's closed game-condition scrimmage at Folsom Field, defensive coordinator Ron Collins said once that tape is graded, he and his staff will be "pretty close" to knowing their starters and backups.

"It's still a fluid depth chart; guys have got a long ways to go until they're ready . . . but we'll have a pretty good understanding after watching this film," Collins said. "We'll be in the last scrimmage with our ones and twos solid."

Not so for first-year offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Eric Kiesau, who said, "There'll be some spots that need more evaluation, more time. We've still got two weeks before the first game and we'll let that develop as camp goes."

That continued evaluation will be necessary to determine whether Cody Hawkins or Tyler Hansen opens at quarterback, said Kiesau, adding there has been no separation yet between the two.

"They're both playing well," Kiesau said. "We had no turnovers (Thursday) and they're playing smart football. And that's what I'm demanding of them. I've told them over and over, I don't care how tall you are, what you can control is how smart you play.

"They're both playing efficient and making the right reads. The great thing is, when things are breaking down, they're both making plays - which is good, we're making positive yards."

Hawkins believed he "did all right" in Thursday's two-plus hours of work: "I think I went to the right spots; I feel confident where I went on every throw, taking care of the football and taking the right drops."

He said Kiesau has emphasized to all his quarterbacks to concentrate on their assignments, but also know how to run the entire offense - whether it's with the first or second units.

Hansen said he got in "a couple" of series with the first offense Thursday and was more concerned with efficiency rather than which unit he was directing.

"Sometimes there are protection issues . . . and you're not getting the best look," he said. "But you've just got to make plays, and sometimes it looks better if you're making plays with the second guys.

"Whoever you're with, you've just got to make the right read, look at the right area on the field and work in your progressions."

Hansen's read on the QB competition: "Right now we're both making plays, the right reads and I would say it's pretty even . . . I think you could go with Cody or me and the offense will be good this year.

"Either way, I think we're going to be proficient and move the ball."

He said he was uncertain what Kiesau's decision will come down to, mentioning, "leadership, experience, you could say anything . . . a wide range of things - arm-strength, anything.

"You don't know what they're going to choose; you just have to trust your coaches and think that whatever they choose is going to be right for the team."

Kiesau has told both players whoever is getting the most repetitions with the first or second units doesn't matter because he will make his decision on performance.

"Now, what I have done is put Tyler with the ones every now and then, but seeing Cody go with the ones doesn't mean he's No. 1 - and they both know that," Kiesau said.

"I'm going to see them play, evaluate them, then make a decision on their performance."

STARTS, STOPS: Kiesau believed his first, second and third units passed more efficiently than they ran during Thursday's work. He liked his offense's quick start but said that momentum can't be lost over the next three quarters.

"I told the offensive staff and our guys that we're not here to game plan our defense," Kiesau said. "We need to get work done to beat Colorado State. So the things you saw here (Thursday) were for the most part Colorado State-based, just because we need to get better at that. We don't get wins and losses for beating our defense."

Collins, meanwhile, entered the afternoon's work with his defense having more calls at its disposal than in the first scrimmage.

"We wanted these guys to get out there on the field and play without us giving them any kind of input whatsoever," he said.

He bemoaned his unit's start, but said it "started picking up steam as the scrimmage went on; guys started playing with more enthusiasm and flying around to the ball.

"I liked that part toward the end. Now whether they're technically (sound), I've got to see the film."

Senior middle linebacker Marcus Burton said the defense "as a whole probably didn't do as well as we wanted to in stopping the run.

"But this was a scrimmage and we wanted to work the kinks out . . . anytime the offense hits explosion plays, you've got to correct that."

VIEW FROM ABOVE: Kiesau took his first turn at play-calling from the coaches' box. He gave his dress rehearsal mixed reviews, adding he's got one more scrimmage to settle into a comfort zone before the Sept. 6 opener against CSU.

"I was a little nervous being up there because I like to be on the field around the guys," he said. "But there are some benefits to being up there.

"I thought I'd feel disconnected from the players - and at first I did. I was actually standing most of the first half, then I sat down - kind of.

"It's just hard, because I like to be around the players, I like to see their faces, like to talk to the quarterbacks face-to-face. It's a little different, but I thought I did all right. It's just my comfort level being away from the guys."

BUFF BITS: Scrimmage statistics were kept but not released . . . . Hansen said redshirting has crossed his mind, but "that not a reality" with three freshmen behind him and Cody Hawkins. "But you think about it," Hansen said . . . . Hansen also believes using two quarterbacks remains a possibility . . . . Tailbacks Demetrius Sumler and Rodney Stewart did not see duty. Coach Dan Hawkins said Sumler was being rested, which allowed more work for Darrell Scott and Brian Lockridge, while Stewart still is taking it easy on a slight hamstring pull . . . . Asked about the status of receiver Andre Simmons, Dan Hawkins said, "It's still on the move." An NCAA elibigility issue has kept Simmons sidelined . . . . The Buffs will serve lunch to fellow students Friday as part of the "Global Jam" initiative. A late afternoon practice is planned.

Contact: BG.Brooks@Colorado.EDU

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