Is Connor Wood the Buffs' future starting quarterback?
Jon Embree won't begin the process of answering that question until spring drills. But the Colorado head coach says the Texas transfer will make the 2011 defense better this fall.
"When your scout team makes it harder than it is in the game, then you've arrived as a program," Embree said. "So he gives us a step in the right direction toward that."
Wood sat in his first CU quarterbacks meeting on Tuesday and then practiced with the Buffs in the cool, fall-like air under the Flatirons just weeks after wrapping up a disappointing camp with the Longhorns in the Austin heat.
"It was awesome. You've got to love this mountain air," Wood said after Tuesday evening's session. "It was a lot different than Austin."
At Texas, Wood -- who was heavily recruited during three all-state seasons at Houston's Second Baptist High School -- found himself buried on the depth chart behind starter Garrett Gilbert and sophomore Case McCoy (Colt McCoy's brother).
At CU, Wood will definitely be in the mix to replace senior Tyler Hansen. He said the vision Embree and his staff have for the Buffs lured him to Boulder.
"Coach Embree and (quarterbacks) coach (Rip) Scherer and coach (Eric) Bieniemy are all ex-NFL coaches with a lot of experience under the belt," Wood said. "I just want to be a part of a building program here. It was the right fit for me and my family. ... I just felt it was a better situation for me to play. I just felt like I needed a change."
Wood will be a walk-on this semester before going on scholarship in the spring. He will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules.
"He can make all the throws. I'm excited just watching him here (Tuesday) kind of slinging it around. I thought he did some nice things," said CU receivers coach Bobby Kennedy, who was on Texas' staff the previous seven seasons. "He's a great kid, he's a 4.0 student, great family. I think the big thing is he just wanted an opportunity."
In addition to Wood, CU has added seven late walk-ons to the official roster since the start of the fall semester -- defensive back Brandon Brisco, wide receiver Blake Froistad, snapper Clayton Jones, defensive lineman Kyle Koch, wide receiver Tommy Papillion, linebacker Hunter Shaw and defensive end John Tuso.