Texas transfer Connor Wood is considered the favorite to earn the starting quarterback job at Colorado in 2012 now more than ever after the program released its postseason injury report showing 2011 backup Nick Hirschman is undergoing foot surgery and could miss spring ball.
Hirschman suffered the injury during fall camp and played with it throughout last season. He started at Arizona State in place of senior Tyler Hansen but was ineffective and was replaced by Hansen early in the contest.
Hirschman is listed as questionable on the injury report with a note saying it is "too early to know spring involvement."
"We anticipate him being back full speed after a couple weeks of spring ball, maybe sooner, maybe a little later but right around that range," Colorado coach Jon Embree said. "We're just anxious for him to get it fixed so he can come out and be a part of the spring drills."
Hirschman is expected to be the primary competition for Wood, who transferred to CU early last season after one year at Texas. Both Wood and Hirschman will be third-year sophomores in the fall.
Wood is a former four-star recruit who was rated as the third-best pro-style quarterback in the nation in the 2010 recruiting cycle by Rivals.com.
Hirschman played in five games last season, completing 18 of 35 passes for 192 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Wood, who is from Houston, has not played at the college level after redshirting as a true freshman at Texas and sitting out last season following his transfer.
Hirschman is not the only Buff expected to miss spring ball.
Defensive tackle Nate Bonsu will not participate after undergoing shoulder surgery to correct a chronic problem. Safety Vince Ewing also will be held out following knee surgery for a chronic problem.
Running back Malcolm Creer and linebacker Douglas Rippy are recovering from knee surgeries to fix torn ligaments and are listed as out.
Cornerback Jered Bell (ACL surgery), cornerback Sherrard Harrington (hip/pelvis), offensive lineman Jack Harris (broken ankle), linebacker Brady Daigh (wrist) and wide receiver Alex Turbow (hernia) are all listed as probable for the spring.
Spring practices begin March 10 and culminate with the spring game April 14.
Buffs need seasoning
CU led the Pac-12 Conference in 2011 by playing 15 true freshmen. While 36 teams in the football bowl subdivision played at least 10, only six programs played more than the Buffs. Coach Jon Embree saw 33 players play for the first time in their careers during his first season at the helm.
But the Buffs still figure to be one of the youngest teams in the conference next season with only 11 seniors. The 2012 team also will be one of the least experienced in the recent history of the program.
Embree has players returning who accounted for only 703 games played and 223 starts in their careers. Those are the lowest totals in those categories since the 2004 team returned 761 games played and 182 starts.
Sophomore defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe set an obscure school record in 2011 by finishing the year with 18 solo tackles without any assists. The previous record was held by former cornerback Gardner McKay who registered 16 solo tackles in 2007 without an assist.
Uzo-Diribe finished the season with a team-best three forced fumbles, the most by a Buff since Clyde Surrell finished with three in 2003.