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Reading the Tea Leaves

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    By Stuart

    [h=3]Reading the Tea Leaves[/h] A*primary focus for much of the Buff Nation this Fall Camp has been, and continues to be …
    Who will be the starting quarterback for Colorado on September 1st in the opener against Colorado State?
    As Fall Camp opened, there were four potential candidates: junior transfer (from Kansas) Jordan Webb; sophomore transfer (from Texas)*Connor Wood; sophomore Nick Hirschman; and Shane Dillon, a true freshman. Dillon was removed from the competition early, as off-season shoulder surgery will prevent him from being a full participant this August. Dillon will red-shirt, and ready himself for the 2013 campaign and beyond.
    This leaves three options for head coach Jon Embree, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer.
    What have we learned in the first week of practices?
    Jon Embree’s take on the three quarterbacks, from*the Colorado Media Day on Saturday:

    • Wood: “Big arm…can make all the throws…good grasp of the offense…needs to be more consistent in his decision making…needs to continue to work on his accuracy.”
    • Hirschman: “His teammates really like him, gravitate to him…also has a big arm, but sometimes believes he can throw through his mistakes…needs a better grasp of the offense.”
    • Webb: “A big attribute is his 19 games at this level… does a good job of working the pocket…reminds me of Koy (Detmer) in getting the ball out in unique ways.”
    As to the quarterback competition overall, Embree had this to say: “We’re in a quarterback competition right now and three guys, it’s (Connor) Wood, (Jordan) Webb, and (Nick) Hirschman all competing and they have all had their moments. It will get down to it now, we just finished summer school so we haven’t maybe done as much because finals were Friday. But now that school is done we will really put the screws down on these guys. We would love to get it down to two, if we can or one as quickly as possible so that the offense knows who the guys are that are leading them when we go out there to play CSU. We will start doing some more situational things and start evaluating those guys, not just 7-on-7. As I’ve said before, that’s all fine and all that but I want to see who can bounce back when they make a poor decision, see who can make things happen when there’s some pressure in their face, see who can just move the team and lead them down the field.”
    *To add even more spice to the debate, quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer hinted this week that the quarterback race might extend into the season. Scherer told the Daily Camera that CU might*alternate quarterbacks against Colorado State and Sacramento State, with the coaches allowing*the candidates to sort themselves out on the playing field. “We don’t treat it like preseason, but to let it play itself out a week or so into the season, we may have to do that,” Scherer said. “The one thing I think we don’t want to do is say, ‘We’re going to have a starter by this date.’ Because you may not make the right decision or the best decision.” (In a very unscientific poll here at CU at the Game, a full two-thirds of you were against the idea).
    *So, in handicapping the quarterback race, let’s look at where we are at after one week of Fall Camp …
    Nick Hirschman, as a true freshman, played briefly in the 2011 campaign. Hirschman was in*for mop up duty*against Stanford and Washington in lopsided losses in midseasson, and was then forced into action against Oregon when starter Tyler Hansen was injured. With Hansen still out, Hirschman was given his first career start against Arizona State. The first quarter against the Sun Devils was a disaster, as Hirschman failed to generate any offense, lasting only two series as the Buffs fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter.* Hirschman had a chance at redemption this spring, but broke his foot the week before the start of practices. He has now undergone three surgeries, and while he has been cleared as a “Full Go” for the season, injury concerns remain.
    Reading the Tea Leaves… As coach Embree noted, the players like Hirschman. The team is also anxious to have their leader chosen. This week, junior offensive lineman David Bakhtiari told the Denver Post,*“Before, I didn’t have a problem (with the quarterback competition dragging on well into the fall),” Bakhtiari said. “But now, I guess I’m having a little ‘camp fever,’ so I guess I’m getting a little annoyed. I want to see consistency. I want somebody to emerge from the group. I just want to see one of them step up and take the whole role, basically take this offense”.* The feel here … The coaches would have liked to have Hirschman installed as the starter at the end of spring practices, but injuries and a lack of overall improvement have given the coaches pause.
    Connor Wood has now had a full year with the Colorado system. Wood transferred in from Texas last September, and spent the fall running the scout team. With Hirschman out, Wood was able to run with the “1′s” pretty much solo during spring practices. Thoughts around the Buff Nation were that Wood had been given every opportunity to win the starting job this past April, but was not able to convince the coaches that he should be named as the starter heading into the fall.
    Reading the Tea Leaves … The starting job was, and perhaps still is, Wood’s to lose. Wood received some high marks from Embree and Scherer in week one, but the first week was mainly conducted in shorts and shells. With summer school now over, the Buffs will have nothing to do for the next three weeks but concentrate on football. As Embree stated, “We will start doing some more situational things and start evaluating those guys, not just 7-on-7. As I’ve said before, that’s all fine and all that but I want to see who can bounce back when they make a poor decision, see who can make things happen when there’s some pressure in their face, see who can just move the team and lead them down the field”. The stage is yours, Mr. Wood.
    Jordan Webb has only been with the Buffs for a few weeks. A junior with two years of eligibility remaining, Webb had a less than stellar career for a less than stellar Kansas Jayhawk team. Still, as Embree pointed out, he does have 19 career starts under his belt. Embree also compared Webb to a CU fan favorite, Koy Detmer, no small compliment.
    Reading the Tea Leaves … Webb was seen by many in the Buff Nation as an insurance policy for the Buffs, in case Hirschman, Wood and Dillon did not work out. There has been little reported after the first week of practices to dispel this notion. If Webb is the starter against Colorado State, it*may be*saying more about Hirschman and Wood than it does about Webb.
    Jon Embree has pointed out that there was little reason to expect the naming of a stater after one week of camp. Every practice before Friday was in shells, and, quite appropriately, the coaches allowed the players to focus on finishing up summer school before getting intense with practices. Now, however, a sense of urgency will be setting in. The Colorado State game is now less than three weeks away. If there is to be a separation in the quarterback race, it will have to come in the next week or two.
    Is it fair to insist upon the naming of a quarterback before the end of Fall Camp? Of course not. CU fans certainly want the coaches to make the right call, as*this one decision*could mean the difference between a bowl game and a school-record setting seventh consecutive losing season.
    Can such a call be made, though? Certainly. Look at UCLA. New head coach Jim Mora tapped touted redshirt freshman Brett Hundleythe winner of the Bruins’ four-way competition on Friday, prevailing over senior veterans Kevin Prince, Richard Brehaut and Jerry Neuheisel.*Prince had started 26 games and Brehaut 11, but Hundley won the job early.
    For those of you who have been with CU at the Game for years well know, I never liked the annual battle for the starting quarterback position between Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen. Hawkins always won, but Hansen would have his potential red-shirt (and with it, don’t forget, a 2012 senior season with the Buffs) torn off mid-season.
    The cliche goes, “If you say you have two quarterbacks, what you are really saying is that you have none”.
    And right now, Colorado has three …


    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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  2. BoulderiJour

    BoulderiJour New Member

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    If you haven't done so already, check us out at the Boulder iJournal -- we launched in July. Here's my piece on the QB competition: http://www.boulderijournal.com/article.php?id=131

    I have worked or interned for three NFL teams, the Washington Post, the Farmington Daily Times and several other newspapers and magazines, and will be covering CU sports regularly. Please add us to your rolodex of sites to check for CU sports news.
     
  3. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    Oh hi there. Welcome. We will gladly promote your site for you. Thanks Matt.
     
  4. BoulderiJour

    BoulderiJour New Member

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    Thank you. Much appreciated.

     
  5. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    Did I use the wrong font again?
     
  6. Burrito Palazzo

    Burrito Palazzo huff my smug Club Member

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    How would she know?
     
  7. Ruckus

    Ruckus Peep my words. Club Member

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    Post your official resume along with your standard resume photograph or I don't believe a god damn thing you say. Christopher Smith? I don't understand why parents with such a common last name would name their child with such a common first name. It's like they wanted you to just blend away in the masses. You showed them. Good on ya.
     
  8. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    I'm happy to promote his site, but you're spot on.

    We need to come up with a new first name for Christopher.

    I've always liked "Thaddeus".
     
  9. Ruckus

    Ruckus Peep my words. Club Member

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    It is decided. His name is now Thad Castle. He has a lot to live up to.
     
  10. Burrito Palazzo

    Burrito Palazzo huff my smug Club Member

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    Hey Thad, you been called out!
     

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