The Colorado football program could be one play away from a full-blown emergency at quarterback.

Senior Cody Hawkins is now the starter after Tyler Hansen suffered a season-ending injury Saturday against Texas Tech, but Hawkins is the only other quarterback on the roster with any college game experience.

The two players behind him on the depth chart -- Nick Hirschman and Justin Gorman -- are true freshmen who are more than halfway through redshirt seasons.

What happens if Hawkins gets hurt at any point in the final five games of the regular season?

If it`s a significant injury, it`s likely that Hirschman would be called on to finish out the season regardless of his redshirt status. Hey, that`s part of college football.

But if Hawkins suffered a minor injury at some point in the next five games that requires him to be out for a couple plays or a couple series or even half a game, coaches don`t want to waste another player`s redshirt year in that situation.

Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau said coaches were evaluating all their options Sunday night and will come up with plans for multiple scenarios, but he didn`t have all the answers just yet.

Kiesau said wide receivers Kyle Cefalo and Scotty McKnight might be the best options as emergency quarterbacks.Cefalo is a former high school quarterback who played college baseball as a scholarship pitcher at Oregon State before suffering an arm injury.


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He decided to play football and transferred in 2009 to Colorado, where he has earned playing time as a receiver this fall. Cefalo attended the same high school in Boise, Idaho, as Hawkins.

Kiesau said he believes McKnight, CU`s all-time leading pass catcher, could fill in at quarterback in a pinch.

"Scotty could do it I bet you," Kiesau said. "Just cause he knows this offense so well."

When told he might have to audition for the role this week, McKnight joked if it comes to that, he will definitely seek help from his best friend, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Kiesau said Hirschman, a scholarship player recruited from California last year, is the most prepared to play. He said he spoke with Hirschman about the possibility that he could be needed and Hirschman said he would be OK with burning his redshirt if the team needs him.

But Kiesau said he planned to talk with Hirschman`s parents, as well, on Sunday night.

"Sometimes when you`re 18, you see a big stadium and you want to go play," Kiesau said. "Then you get to your senior year and you`re like, 'Oh man, I wish I would have had that year.` I`ve got to kind of give him that long-term leadership and guidance on what`s the best thing to do for him and for us. We need to put our heads together and get a plan."

Hirschman is more of a pocket passer, but he does have the ability to run. Gorman, has worked nearly exclusively with the scout team since the end of fall camp and is more of a running quarterback who might be good in an option system.

"He really hasn`t had a lot of teaching and understanding of our system yet," Kiesau said.

Kiesau said if Hirschman does find himself on the field at some point this season, he probably will be forced to use a limited amount of the offense.

"Will he be able to handle the whole play book? No," Kiesau said. "We`ll just have to be very smart with him and the reps he gets in practice and make sure it`s something he can handle in a game situation."