Originally written on CU at the Game  |  Last updated 2/3/12
Spring Forward

Editor’s Note: Spring practices begin on March 10th. The Buffs will go for two weeks before taking off a week for Spring break. The team will then return for two more weeks of practices, culminating with the Spring Game on April 14th. Here is a breakdown of each position battle as we await the opening of spring practice …


Spring Roster: Brent Burnette (Sr.); Nick Hirschman (So.); Connor Wood (So.); Stevie Dorman (R-Fr.); John Schrock (R-Fr.)

Incoming this fall: Shane Dillon

What’s at Stake – The Buffs’ 2012 record, the future of the program, and life as we know it.

Okay, perhaps it’s not that dramatic, but it’s not a stretch to say that the Colorado football program this fall will only go as far as the new quarterback will take it. Gone is three-year starter Tyler Hansen, who leaves in his wake virtually no experience at the position. The only other quarterback on the roster who took snaps from center last season was Nick Hirschman. The red-shirt freshman saw action in five games, but his only real opportunity for significant action came in a start against Arizona State.  Hirschman went 8-for-18 for 71 yards against the Sun Devils, but threw two poor passes which should have been intercepted. The CU coaches then yanked the shaky Hirschman in favor of Hansen, even though the senior had suffered a concussion the previous week, and had practiced little the week of the game.

Still, Hirschman might have been the favorite to take over the starting position this spring, but in January Hirschman underwent foot surgery, and his status for spring practice remains uncertain. If Hirschman is not a full go, the Buffs will have Burnette, Wood, Dorman and Schrock competing for reps this spring.

Brent Burnette has playing experience against 1-A competition, if you count playing as a backup for Middle Tennessee … in 2009. Burnette had a chance last spring and summer to impress the coaches and his teammates that he was ready to step in as Hansen’s primary backup, but lost out to Hirschman, a red-shirt freshman.

Stevie Joe Dorman was not slated to be a major factor last fall, with a red-shirt his destiny coming out of Texas as a true freshman. Still, Dorman slid down the depth chart as the fall went on, and will have to take great strides this spring in order to put himself back into the conversation as a viable backup.

John Schrock, an invited walk-on from Kansas City, did make a good impression last season. Staring out well behind Burnette, Hirschman and Dorman in terms of time with the new system, Schrock nonetheless continued to impress and improve throughout the fall. While it remains doubtful Schrock will see playing time in 2012, his stock as an option for the backup position continues to rise.

Which leaves us with Connor Wood. A transfer from Texas, Wood is being counted upon to take the reins of the Colorado offense and make it a competitive force in the Pac-12. A member of the recruiting Class of 2010, Wood, a 6’4, 210-pound prospect from Houston, was considered a four-star player when he signed with the Longhorns. Rivals rated Wood as the No. 3 pro-style prospect from the Class, and the No. 113 overall prospect in the country. Scout, meanwhile, tabbed Wood as the No. 9 quarterback nationally, and had this to say about Wood: “An excellent overall athlete, Wood has the ability to throw it a mile or take off and run. Has experience in a spread option and is comfortable running the option out of the spread offense. His size and armstrength help tremendously with his accuracy as he doesn’t have to muscle up on throws to get them downfield.”

Texas did not have a set quarterback for the future when Wood arrived, and, despite issues at the position the past two seasons, did not see Wood as the answer. Rather than carry a clipboard in Austin, Wood transferred to Colorado last August, and will be playing as a sophomore this season.

Pressing Questions -

1) With Nick Hirschman out for spring practices (or, at best, limited as to his participation), can Connor Wood assert himself as the starting quarterback, or will Buff fans spend the spring and early summer hoping that Shane Dillon will be the answer?; and

2) Who amongst the group of Burnette, Dorman and Schrock will identify themselves as a viable backup, in case either Wood or Dillon (or both) fail to materialize as the CU Quarterback of the Future?

To be posted later on Friday … The Running Backs …



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