Theory No. 2: If a competition for the starting job is actually happening between Tyler Hansen and Cody Hawkins, coaches are taking an unusual approach in comparing the two against each other.
Both theories are based on one basic fact established through the first 18 practices: Hansen has received the vast majority of snaps with the first-team offense.
So if he is going to lose the job he took over in the second half of the fifth game of last season, he is going to do it against a guy whose work to this point has been mostly with the second string.
That seems unlikely.
Colorado State, the Buffs` first opponent of the 2010 season, officially named its starting quarterback Tuesday. The Rams will entrust their season in the hands of true freshman Pete Thomas. It seems safe, based on the aforementioned facts, to assume Hansen will be the Buffs` starter, even if CU coaches aren`t willing to make the call yet.
"It`s up there," Hansen said when asked to give a ballpark estimate of how much time he has practiced with the first team offense in camp. "It`s probably 80 or 90 percent, but I mean, I need quality reps and Cody has worked with the ones, too, but we both need the reps and we`re both getting the reps to put our best foot forward out there."
Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau meticulously chartedresults of everything Hansen and Hawkins did in spring practices. He recorded results from full scrimmage sessions to individual drills and Hansen emerged with a slight advantage. Hansen apparently built on those results during summer workouts.
Hansen said he can understand how onlookers might be under the impression that he has locked up the job based solely on his advantage in opportunities with the first team. But he said he still feels like he is competing for the job and nothing he has heard from coaches leads him to believe they have made up their minds about who will start.
"We still do not know, and we`re still competing," he said. "Right now, even if I`m with the ones, it doesn`t matter. Last year, Cody was with the ones during the majority of camp and it ended up he being the starter. But right now we`re still competing and every rep is still vital to our competition."
Coach Dan Hawkins has been reluctant to provide a time frame for announcing his starter under center. When asked about it, he jokes that he needs to keep it under wraps as long as possible so reporters will have something to write about.
Hansen said he was informed Cody Hawkins would be the starter in 2009 after the second scrimmage of fall camp, about two weeks before the start of the season.
Dan Hawkins says he isn`t dragging his feet on the decision to give CSU coaches more to worry about. He said he believes the Rams defensive game plan will be very similar regardless of who his starter is.
The Buffs and Rams kick off the season in just more than two weeks on Sept. 4 at Invesco Field in Denver . In the meantime, CU players have two more scrimmages to prove themselves and prepare.
Hansen is eager for his first action against the in-state rivals. He has watched the previous two games in the series on the sideline signaling plays in to Cody Hawkins, who started both contests. Hansen likes the idea of finally being able to play in the nonconference portion of the season. He has been called off the bench to relieve Cody Hawkins during Big 12 Conference play in each of the past two years.
"I know it`s an intense rivalry, and on the field, they get after each other," Hansen said. "I`m looking forward to it."