Colorado Buffaloes Roster Breakdown: Quarterback

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Jordan Webb #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks passes against Steven Sylvester #34 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I was worried that I would have to make a guess as to who would be our starter at quarterback when I started writing this, but thankfully the coaches made the choice earlier in camp then I was expecting. However you feel about who the coaches chose to lead the team, it is a good thing that they made a choice with two weeks of camp left to go. It's always better for the offense for one guy to get a majority of the reps with the first-team. It helps the center to have a better feel for his QB's timing, it helps the QB to have a sense for the speed, tendencies and abilities of his 1st team receivers, it helps the RB's to get used to receiving handoffs from the guy that's going to be doing it in games, and I would bet it does a lot for a team's confidence to know who the guy is going to be behind center come gameday.

But, it's not all roses, and I'll explain why.

Quarterback:

  • Jordan Webb, Jr - Ladies & gentlemen, meet your starting QB for the 2012 Colorado Buffaloes. True, of the guys who are competing for the starting job, he's the smallest, has the least amount of arm strength and has been at CU the shortest amount of time, but he managed to beat out the other guys for the job anyway. And after hearing that it was possible the decision wouldn't be made until a couple of weeks into the season, it turns out he did enough for the coaches to hand him the reigns of the offense with a couple of weeks left in August camp. The thing he has that the other guys don't is game experience. True, he only won 4 of the 19 games he started, but he showed some improvement in his time at Kansas (boosting his completion percentage from 56% to 63% from his RFr to So seasons) on some pretty depleted teams and under a coach that didn't last very long. We don't know yet how much talent we have on offense, but we do know that Webb can take a pounding. Hopefully won't have to, but he has demonstrated some toughness in his time as a starting QB. He's not going to be throwing bullets 50 yards downfield, but we also don't have a proven downfield threat. He may not have the high potential that the other guys do, but the coaches clearly think he has something.
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  • Nick Hirschman, So - He was the #2 guy last year getting some snaps during garbage time & even earning a start against Arizona State. He was pulled in that game for Tyler Hansen (who was injured and didn't get to practice that week), and didn't really get a chance to show us much during the season. But at the end of the year, he had the inside track on the starting job going into 2012. Then came a series of foot injuries that kept him out of most of the offseason. He's back now, and he's competing for that #2 spot again. He has good size and solid arm strength, but the foot injuries may prove to have ruined his best chance to see the field. We'll see how he comes out of August and where he stands on the depth chart. It's true that the #2 guy is always only a play away from seeing the field and being the guy, so hopefully he continues working hard and improving, but the competition has increased substantially since the end of last season.
  • Connor Wood, So - He sat out last year after transferring from Texas and earned rave reviews while he was running the scout team. Then, when Hirschman was injured, he was able to take all of the first team repetitions at QB in the spring, but he didn't seize the job. He is a very good athlete, with great size and very good arm strength, but that apparently wasn't enough to get him the job going into the season. Like Hirschman, he's fighting for that #2 spot now and that is definitely a battle to watch. Wood might have the most potential of the QB candidates which is why folks have been clamoring for him to be the QB here and he may yet get his chance. We'll see how it all plays out with this group.
  • Stevie Joe Dorman, RFr - The nephew of Koy & Ty Detmer, Dorman is definitely from a football family. He went into August camp before Webb was added to the mix as the last guy on the depth chart at QB so he's got some work to do to put himself in a position to earn some playing time. This is one of the reasons I don't like that camp is closed, because we probably won't get much news about the guys further down the depth chart and I would really like to know how a guy like Dorman is progressing.
  • John Schrock, RFr - The walk-on managed to with the 3rd spot last year, but he'll have to fight to keep that spot this season with Wood and Hirschman ahead of him. It'll be fun to see if he can sneak into that role again this season.
  • Shane Dillon, Fr - He's going to redshirt so that he can fully recover from a shoulder surgery he had after his senior season. He was the highest rated QB recruit CU snagged in a long time and was a part of the Elite 11 HS QB competition. He could use a little work in the weight room (only about 200 lbs at 6'6"), but redshirting will also save him some eligibility while the older guys battle for the starting role in 2012. Watch out for him in 2013 & (especially if Webb keeps the job for two seasons) 2014.
Well, it looks like it's going to be Jordan Webb. I'm just happy they chose someone to be the starter with time left in camp. He doesn't have the greatest track record, but he does have a track record, and that is something. If he really separated himself from the other two guys, then it's hard to argue with the decision, but if it's just because of his game experience, then it's a questionable call. I'm inclined to think that the coaches made Webb the starter because they believe he gives us the best chance to win, but we'll see what happens if he struggles out there. If they pull him quickly, that'll tell us just how close this competition was. We have some talent in the wings at QB, especially with Dillon joining the competition at some point, but we don't need a guy who is going to put up huge numbers (though, I certainly wouldn't complain if our QB is capable of doing so). We have a ton of new players on offense in addition to our QB, so Webb (or whoever it is) will be dealing with some guys who may not always be in the right place. Hopefully the skill players can work out their growing pains before we get to the conference games. I don't see any reason why Webb can't have a solid year for us in 2012. I think he'll have solid protection up front and I think our running game will be good enough to open up some opportunities in the passing game. We may not be throwing bombs on every series, but that doesn't mean we can't be successful.

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