It was clear throughout spring practices that Tyler Hansen was Colorado's best quarterback, so it comes as no surprise that the senior was named the starter Tuesday.
“Tyler did a great job all spring,” new coach Jon Embree said in a statement. “He has command of everything you need to have at quarterback and has also developed into a team leader. This was a goal of his heading into the spring and I’m happy that he was able to attain that goal.”
Hansen was the starter for most of 2009 and 2010 until he ruptured his spleen in the seventh game last fall, though his competition with Cody Hawkins, former coach Dan Hawkins' son, often made headlines.
Colorado also announced that five players will not be returning to the team this fall.
Two won't be back for medical reasons: senior offensive guard Max Tuioti-Mariner and junior receiver Will Jefferson. Both have knee problems.
Junior defensive end Forrest West and redshirt freshmen tight ends Henley Griffon and Harold Mobley will also not return. Embree did not elaborate in the news release on the details other than to say that, “They won’t be invited back to be part of the program in the fall. We will work with them to see if we can place them elsewhere.”
Embree talked about cutting players during spring practice. Consider this following through.
Hansen, named the team’s top senior following spring practices, had a passer rating of 188.9 in the three main spring scrimmages, according to the school. He completed nearly 74 percent of his passes for 531 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions.
“I’m looking forward to getting into more of a leadership role in the summer, getting even more familiar with the playbook, organizing the seven-on-seven sessions, and concentrating on our first and foremost goal to beat Hawai’i [CU’s season opener on Sept. 3 in Honolulu]," Hansen said. "I feel like I am playing smarter, I’m making better decisions, knowing when to throw the ball away instead of taking a sack, where to go with the ball based on coverages and knowing when to pull the ball down and run.”
The 6-1, 210-pound three-year letterman from Murietta, Calif., completed 112 of 164 passes for 1,102 yards, with six touchdowns and six interceptions and a 129.5 rating in 2010. Hansen’s 2,822 career yards rank 11th all-time at Colorado.
Hansen was competing with redshirt freshman Nick Hirschman, who will be the backup. Hirschman completed 22 of 43 passes for 274 yards and three scores in the three scrums, a rating of 127.7; he also did not throw an interception.
“I thought that [Hansen] grew a lot faster with the offense than I had anticipated,” quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer said. “He had a solid performance for the most part starting from day one through day 15 in spring practice, and he really gives us a chance at quarterback.
“I’m also really pleased with the depth at the position with Nick (Hirschman),” Scherer added. “He’s improved steadily throughout the spring and finished on a positive note. I expect him to keep pushing Tyler, which is exactly what we as coaches want to see.”