Extra work for Hawkins, Hansen in Colorado QB derby

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

If Dan Hawkins really wanted extra work for potential starting quarterbacks Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen, he got his wish.

The departure of third-string quarterback Matt Ballenger will leave the rest of the snaps this spring to be divvied up between Hawkins and Hansen -- the only two remaining quarterbacks in the Colorado camp.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Ballenger, a former two-time Idaho Gatorade Player of the year in basketball, announced Friday he will be transferring to a new program. He is considering playing basketball at his new school.

Hansen said he found out about Ballenger's departure from Cody Hawkins.
"I was eating dinner and I got a text from Cody telling me that, he just said 'I thought you should know.' I couldn't believe it," Hansen said.

Ballenger's demeanor the past few days before he left could have been indicative of his decision, Hansen said.

"I love Matt and he's a great guy. I didn't see it coming," Hansen said. "He was a little quiet the couple days before, in quarterback meetings, but I didn't think anything of it."

Dan Hawkins said that having two quarterbacks for spring practice is understandable considering today's athletes and how competitive the battle for playing time is.

"Back in the old days we would say you needed five quarterbacks on scholarship, but if you look nationwide, it's really hard to get three," Hawkins said. "Even in spring ball if you look at teams across the country, they have two quarterbacks in spring ball because it's very hard anymore, that fourth guy, he sticks around for a semester and then he goes 'I'm not in the mix, I'm going to roll.'

"I understand that, I understand the nature of guys who want to play. Our goal is to have four. Will we ever realistically be there, maybe for a semester you'll be there. We're always going to try and have four and we'll see how it goes."

Cody Hawkins and Hansen are close despite the competition for playing time.

"I get along with Tyler great, I always have. People might think it's funny, but he's one of my best friends on the team and I'm rooting for him, but I'm rooting for myself, too," Hawkins said. "We're both doing a great job of making each other better."

Both are girding for extra work during the rest of spring practice.

"The competition bar goes up," Dan Hawkins said. "As teams get better and guys compete and they realize 'I'm not going to play' they look for other places. All of that is not bad. What you can't do is you can't sacrifice your standards, you have to have the bar there and guys have to meet it."

The Buffaloes will have two quarterbacks arriving this summer. Dual-threat quarterbacks Josh Moten of Harbor Beach, Calif., and Clark Evans of Los Alamitos, Calif., will battle Hawkins and Hansen for playing time.

But both quarterbacks who are already in place should have a huge advantage when the two freshmen arrive.