Quarterback Tyler Hansen was the starter in Boulder for the second half of 2009 and the first half of the 2010 season before suffering a ruptured spleen that ended his season prematurely in October.
Hansen is back to running and lifting weights as the fall semester winds down and says he should be 100 percent healthy by the time he returns to school for the spring semester in early January.
"I'm pretty confident I'm good," Hansen said. "I think I've recovered well. I think the doctors did a great job of helping me through it and letting me know what I can do and what I can't do. Right now, I am lifting and running and doing everything I can."
Hansen said he doesn't expect to suffer any residual effects of the injury and doesn't believe he will shy away from contact in the future, but he will be smart about the hits he takes.
He was on an island one-on-one with a linebacker while running the option when he was hurt. There might be times where he may be asked to make similar plays in the physical, downhill running offense Embree and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy plan to deploy.
"Right now I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what coach Bieniemy brings to the table and what we do offensively," Hansen said.
Spring ball pushed back
Hansen and other Buffs recovering from injuries and surgeries will have an extra week to rehabilitate.
Embree has moved the start of spring football back to March 11 with the spring game still slated for April 9. The original plan was to begin spring ball on March 5.
No one is a guaranteed a starting spot in 2011 at this time of year, but Hansen qualifies as the safe bet when handicapping the race to be the starting quarterback next fall.
It's looking like his primary competition for the job will be a group of players with zero combined playing experience at the college level, including redshirt freshmen Nick Hirschman and Justin Gorman and true freshman Brock Berglund, provided all of those players remain with the program.
Embree would talk
to Dan Hawkins
One item that went overlooked last week during all the hubbub surrounding Embree's hiring was what the new coach had to say about the old coach. On the day he was introduced as coach in Boulder, Embree was asked if he had talked with former coach Dan Hawkins or if he planned to.
"I'd like to talk with Dan because I'd like to thank him for all that he has done," Embree said. "I think a lot of times when you get fired, people want to talk about the negative. He's done a lot of good things here. He has put some infrastructure here that is going to give me an opportunity to be successful.
"I know in his heart, he knows he did the best he could. Unfortunately, it wasn't what they wanted. That's OK because coaches know you get hired to get fired. I would like to talk to him."
No word on whether that conversation has taken place yet.
Embree's son, Taylor, is a wide receiver at UCLA and will be a senior next fall when he plays against his dad on Nov. 19. Taylor Embree grew up wanting to be a Buff, but as Jon Embree said, "The opportunity didn't present itself."