T he top five questions the Buffs hope to begin to answer when spring football practices begin today:

1: Will someone establish himself as the one to beat for the starting quarterback job? Senior Tyler Hansen has the most experience but it's a brand new system for everyone involved. Junior transfer Brent Burnette and redshirt freshman Nick Hirschman have a real opportunity here.

2: Who fills the void created by Mike Iltis' injury at center? Iltis believes he will be back at full strength in time for the start of his senior season after suffering a torn ACL in the season finale last year. At least three young players figure to get a crack at center, including Kaiwi Crabb, Gus Handler and Daniel Munyer.

3: How will the running game develop? The Buffs will run a West Coast offense and plan to feature a power running game, adding a fullback to the offense. Rodney Stewart ran for more than 1,300 yards as a junior but it's time to find out if he is suited to this new system. If he isn't who is?

4: Who fills the void at cornerback left by departed seniors Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown? Deji Olatoye and Parker Orms will probably miss all or most of spring ball with injuries, creating more opportunites for players like Jered Bell, Jonathan Hawkins, Makiri Pugh, Paul Vigo and Josh Moten. There are plenty of options here, just not many with much experience.


5: Can Justin Castor and Zach Grossnickle be depended on at place-kicker and punter or will coaches be looking to freshman Will Oliver in the fall? Castor is the only player listed at place-kicker on the pre-spring depth chart. So it looks like it's his job to lose. He will also challenge Grossnickle for the punting job.