During his first go-round with spring football back in 2014, Jordan Gehrke remembers Colorado's quarterback room being a quiet place.
"It was just Sefo (Liufau) and I at the time," Gehrke said.
Two years later, Gehrke is in a similar position. With Liufau recovering from a foot injury and Cade Apsay having been dismissed from the team, Gehrke is once again one of just two scholarship quarterbacks this spring, along with freshman Steven Montez.
"It's a good opportunity," said Gehrke, a fifth-year senior. "Stevie and I are getting the bulk of the reps, and it's good for Stevie because he's young, so he's getting more comfortable with the offense. I'm thinking it's a great opportunity for both of us."
For Gehrke, it's the last opportunity.
After playing his freshman season at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College in 2012, he transferred to CU in May of 2013 and redshirted that season.
In 2014, he competed with Liufau, but Liufau was the incumbent starter and kept the job. He got a few spot opportunities that season, and when Liufau struggled, Gehrke was given an opportunity to start. It was a brutal assignment at Oregon. Gehrke struggled and was pulled for Liufau.
Last season, Liufau was firmly entrenched as the starter, and as Gehrke dealt with some nagging injuries, he slipped to third on the depth chart, behind Apsay. He moved to second when Liufau injured his foot late in the season.
Gehrke has played in seven games during his CU career, completing 32 of 68 passes for 286 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His most significant playing time came in last season's finale at Utah, after Apsay went down with a concussion. Gehrke completed 11 of 20 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Utes.
"I think I've learned from every time I've stepped on the field," he said. "Sometimes it's hard, going in there and you're a backup and you're kind of sitting on the sidelines for a few quarters so you're not as warm, but when you get in there it's a fun experience. You get to work on everything you've been prepared for and having fun with your teammates and competing with them."
Gehrke is working to gain more of those experiences. That might be difficult with Texas Tech transfer Davis Webb arriving this summer, Liufau still fighting to get back and Montez progressing. But Gehrke is doing all he can to earn a role.
"He brings experience. Experience is a huge asset to bring to any team," co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Lindgren said. "It's been a great opportunity to showcase what he can do and get more comfortable with the system and get a head start on those other two guys (Liufau and Webb).
"I think he's come out with the attitude that he's going to be open to learning new things."
CU's offense is changing a bit with the addition of Darrin Chiaverini as co-coordinator, and Gehrke said he loves the changes.
"I think it's perfect for me, because it's a lot of understanding defenses and making quick reads, quick decisions and getting the ball out of your hand quick," Gehrke said.
"The atmosphere is great with the offense. (Chiaverini) and coach Lindgren are getting along well and you can see that just in practices. I think we're moving at a quicker pace and I'm very excited with what we can do this year."
Gehrke said he knows the offense well but needs to prove it with his performance every day in practice.
"I feel prepared when I'm out there," he said. "I understand the offense, I'm extremely comfortable with it. Just executing consistently, I would say, is something I need to work on."
Since the end of last season, Gehrke has put in a lot of work to make sure he is more prepared to help the Buffs, regardless of his job.
"I'm just here to do any role they want me to do, whether it's a backup role or a teaching role," he said. "Whatever the coaches ask of me I'm 100 percent for.
"It's my senior year, so I really want to make it to a bowl game. I'm hoping we do that this year and I can get my first bowl experience along with all the other seniors."
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.