Originally written on CU at the Game  |  Last updated 4/20/13
  Spring Grades – Offense Spring practices are completed for the University of Colorado. The players now have a few weeks to get ready for finals week, the coaches are off to evaluate high school talent, and the Buff Nation can take a few moments to catch its breath. How did the Buffs fare in their first spring practices under Mike MacIntyre? Let’s take a look Quarterbacks … C- The spring began with six potential candidates to start the opener against Colorado State on September 1st. Senior Jordan Webb and junior Nick Hirschman had experience at the starting position, with junior Connor Wood and red-shirt freshman Shane Dillon seen as the primary competition. Two sophomores, Stevie Joe Dorman and John Schrock, were also given an equal shot in the first eight practices of the spring in Coach MacIntyre’s open casting call. Two quarterbacks were moved to the second tier midway through the spring. The midway “pencil” chart had Dorman and Schrock moved down a level, reducing the battle to four quarterbacks. The number of candidates was reduced again a few days later, when Jordan Webb tore an ACL, ending his season before it had a chance to begin. This left the race at three, with Connor Wood and Nick Hirschman taking the lead. The two juniors were selected as starters for the spring game, and both had an opportunity to impress the coaches. “The Pistol is an awesome dynamic,” Hirschman said before the game. “I love running the ball. I love the contact and getting physical in there. I always make the joke that we’re not football players, we’re quarterbacks, but it’s fun to go in there and be a football player again.” For his part, Connor Wood was also ready to go. “We’ve been pretty much on fire the past two weeks since we came back from spring break,” Wood said. “I’ve been very encouraged. The linemen are really picking up a lot of different stuff, blitzes and all the different nuances of the protection. I’m proud of our receivers for adapting to all the different things. I’m confident about where we are.” Both players had good numbers during the spring game. Hirschman went 16-for-27 for 219 yards and two touchdowns, while Wood went 11-for-16 for 205 yards and a touchdown. With no other quarterback attempting more than six passes, the quarterback race was seen as being down to two candidates, with the battle to continue on into fall camp. Then … Nick Hirschman suddenly decided to move on. A junior, Hirschman was already in position to graduate in three years, giving him options. Under NCAA rules, he could graduate this spring, transfer to a school which does not have a graduate program CU offers, and still have two years to play two seasons. “I felt at this time that it has been three years, a great three years, but with no decision made at the end of spring ball, it was a personal choice that it was time for me to move on,” Hirschman said. It does not appear that Hirschman had been told he was no longer a candidate for the starting position. Quite the contrary. “Nick’s a phenomenal young man, a great team player, and I was looking forward to watching him mature this fall and to see how he would do in the battle for starting quarterback job,” Mike MacIntyre said in a press release from the school. “We hate to lose him, but we do wish him the best.” Which leaves the quarterback race … where? Does Hirschman’s departure and Webb’s injury give Wood the job? Will Shane Dillon – 3-for-6 for 38 yards in the spring game – be given another opportunity to win the job? Will junior college transfer Nelson Fishback be offered a scholarship? Will incoming freshman Sefo Liufau become the first true freshman quarterback in school history to start a season opener? No one could question coach MacIntyre’s willingness to give all six quarterbacks on his roster a shot at the starting job when spring practices opened. No one was surprised when Dorman and Schrock were moved to the second tier. And Connor Wood may be the answer. “The coaches do a great job of instilling confidence,” Wood said. “They really foster that at practice. Coach Lindgren, I just give all the credit to him, just the way he has coached us up as quarterbacks this spring”. But it shouldn’t have been by default. Wood didn’t beat out Webb and Hirschman. They are just no longer candidates. And that’s not what Buff fans were looking for from the quarterback race this spring. Still to come … running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and offensive line …
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