Nearly the entire Colorado football team walked up the hill near the Dal Ward Center on a recent evening and not one player noticed the small snake slithering in the dirt along the side of the path.
Then, sophomore quarterback Stevie Joe Dorman made his way up the hill.
"Oh, look, a snake!," he said, as he picked up the small serpent.
Much like that snake, Dorman has gone unnoticed by many. He is one of only four healthy quarterbacks on the CU roster, yet he's the only one of the four who rarely gets mentioned in the battle for the starting job.
Connor Wood is the No. 1 quarterback going into camp, which opens next month. Junior college transfer Jordan Gehrke and true freshman Sefo Liufau are both considered to have legitimate opportunities at the starting job, despite the two of them only being on campus a few weeks.
Dorman, however, isn't conceding anything. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder from Somerset, Texas, might be a long shot to win the starting job, but he continues to show up every day with an attitude of getting better.
"It's just a fight to go out and prove yourself everyday, and that's for everybody," Dorman said. "If you're the starter, your spot can be taken away just as quickly as the second-string guy or the third-strong guy. Things constantly change and I'm hopeful that I will prove myself to not only the coaches, but to everybody else, too."
Things have certainly changed since the Buffs went through spring practices.
Six quarterbacks threw passes during the three main scrimmages. One of those players, Jordan Webb, tore his ACL early in spring and won't be competing for the job in August. Three others have since left the team. Nick Hirschman transferred to Akron. Shane Dillon decided to quit football and pursue basketball at another school. John Schrock left the team to focus on his studies.
Among all the CU quarterbacks (counting Webb, the Buffs have five on the roster), Dorman has been on campus the longest, arriving a couple of months before Wood in 2011.
"That's a little weird, because I'm only a sophomore," he said.
When Dorman arrived, fans were eager to see what he could do. His uncle, Koy Detmer, was one of the best quarterbacks in CU history. Another uncle, Ty Detmer, was the 1990 Heisman Trophy winner while at BYU.
In high school, Dorman set a San Antonio area record with 9,253 career passing yards, while also throwing 94 touchdown passes and only 39 interceptions. So, expectations by some were rather high.
"My freshman year I felt the most (pressure)," he said. "(Koy) was such a good quarterback here that people expected the same thing out of me. It just hasn't worked out to where I have gotten a chance to play yet."
With three years of eligibility ahead of him, Dorman isn't even close to ready to giving up on his dream of becoming the starter.
"I am a different guy (from Koy and Ty), but I'm just as big of a competitor," he said. "It upsets me when I don't get to play, but that just makes me work that much harder at things and push myself to get on the field and actually play."
Regular communication with his uncles, including film sessions with Koy this past spring, have helped Dorman improve his mechanics and quarterback IQ. Having three quarterbacks leave in recent months has benefited Dorman, too.
"The four guys who are here take an even number of reps (in practice), but we take more now because there's only four guys," Dorman said. "The more reps you get the better you get. I think getting more reps will benefit everybody greatly."
If the battle in the fall truly does become a three-man race between Wood, Gehrke and Liufau, it could be a while before Dorman gets on the field, if ever, at CU. Dorman said he has thought about going to another school that might offer a better chance of playing, but it's never been a serious consideration to this point.
"I've just been waiting my turn and things will fall into place when they need to," said Dorman, who completed 17 of 31 passes for 137 yards and two interceptions during the spring scrimmages. "If I just work hard, I believe things will work out for the best, and if I'm not as good as the first-string guy, then that's how it is and we'll see how things go.
"I'm on full scholarship, so I get the good education of the university. If that is how it is and that's my shot and that's the best thing for me, then of course (I'll stay at CU). I'll get to work out and be on the team and I can say that I was a Buff for four or five years."
Dorman would love to be a Buff who actually plays, however, and he said he feels more ready to play than in the past.
Like the snake outside of the Dal Ward Center, he just needs someone to notice him.
Follow Brian on Twitter: