"We're going to need them both."
The response came almost every time coaches were asked in the spring and summer who their starting quarterback would be this season, Tyler Hansen or Cody Hawkins.
Coaches ultimately chose Hansen and the junior has started every game this fall. But he was injured in the second quarter Saturday. The injury was originally diagnosed as bruised ribs, but after the game Hansen was admitted to Boulder Community Hospital and treated for a ruptured spleen.
Hansen won't play football again in the regular season, and the way the Buffs are headed after losing their third straight, that appears to mean he won't play again this year.
The injury put Cody Hawkins in the game for the entire second half Saturday. He played well in the third quarter and fell off in the fourth. Hansen's injury also thrusts Hawkins back in the spotlight at a time when his dad, head coach Dan Hawkins, needs as many wins as he can get to keep his job.
The senior, who spent the first 21/2 years of his career in Boulder as the starting quarterback, is well respected by his teammates. They named him a team captain this fall even after knowing he had lost the starting job to Hansen.
Some Colorado fans haven't been as kind to Cody Hawkins. Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau said Sunday he hopes every fan who cheers for black and gold will get behind their new/old starting quarterback.
"I'll tell you what, the punishment and abuse he has taken at Colorado, every person that is saying that, you would die to have that kid be your son," Kiesau said. "That's the thing that they don't get is that he is such a great kid and such a great competitor.
"A lot of people going through what he went through would have transferred, packed their bag and rolled and wouldn't be able to come back and play like he did. He has always kept an even keel about himself. He's got a very special nature about him, with limitations, but that has never brought him down.
"You'll see, he will play well here at the end of the year. Everything happens for a reason and I hope for the team, for him and for the people outside the stadium that regardless of what happens that Cody ends this on a positive note."
Hawkins became only the third CU player in history to throw for more than 6,000 yards in a career when he completed 22 of 43 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. He now has thrown for 6,269 yards in his career and would need to average 222 yards passing over the final five games to pass Kordell Stewart and Joel Klatt to become the leading passer in the program's history.
Keisau said he doesn't anticipate big changes in the offense with the change.
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville noted after Saturday's game that when Hawkins took over for Hansen, the Buffs went away from their running game.
Kiesau said that move had more to do with what the Red Raiders were doing defensively. He said they were playing with eight men in the box and one safety daring the Buffs to throw.
"It won't alter it too much," Kiesau said. "We'll just have to make sure we put Cody in situations where he feels comfortable, which might be a little different than things we did with Tyler, but it won't change too much because the things we were doing with Tyler, Cody can handle."
"He has the experience, he has thrown for a lot of yards, he has been in big games," Kiesau said. "He beat Oklahoma the last time we played them here. He's been in this arena. So offensively we won't take a big step back."
Hansen's season ends with him having completed 112 of 164 passes for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns with six interceptions. He also ran for four scores.