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The Buffs’ first spring football drills, practices and scrimmages were surrounded by headlines when Mike MacIntyre was announced as Colorado’s new head coach. He and the rest of the football team entered spring training with the idea of having three or four quarterbacks compete for the starting spot. Since then, however, an injury and an unexpected departure have made the quarterback battle drastically less interesting.
Consider evaluating a battle between Jordan Webb, a fifth-year senior who was the starting QB last season; Nick Hirschman, a junior QB who was a solid and competitive backup last season; and Connor Wood, a junior QB who was a highly touted high school recruit and transferred to CU from the University of Texas. Sounds promising, right?
That matchup of solid QBs promised to allow MacIntyre to fully evaluate each quarterback while they faced the pressure of each other’s tough competition. Instead, because of recent events, MacIntyre has been robbed of that experience and is left with a default quarterback.
Here’s a brief timeline of how MacIntyre was left with his quarterback. On April 10, Webb suffered a season-ending ACL injury while partaking in non-contact spring drills. On April 13, Wood and Hirschman battled each other during the annual spring game and Wood put together a strong performance. On April 19th, Hirschman opted to graduate early and transfer elsewhere for his final two years of eligibility.
While these events did indeed rob both MacIntyre and Buff fans from a watching a QB battle, Connor Wood could be a quarterback that the Buffs can compete with.
Just three years ago, Wood was one of the most coveted quarterback recruits in the nation. His arrival incited a craze in some CU fans who thought Wood would be the future of CU. However, Wood struggled to command the huddle and didn’t have the strongest grasp of the offense last year. He found himself back on the bench.
This year appears to be different, though. In four scrimmages this spring, Wood has completed 36 of 56 passes for 601 yards and five touchdowns. He also demonstrated mobility when he ran for a 33-yard score.
Additionally, Wood has enjoyed his coaches and time at CU.
That being said, Wood must continue to work hard in scrimmages and practices and he cannot take his probable starting spot for granted. He’ll be facing a lot of pressure from Buff fans excited to finally see their star transfer play.
Wood already went through this experience last year when he lost the starting job to Webb early in the fall, which may prove to be an experience that Wood can build on in order to solidify himself as the top quarterback for the upcoming season.
It has been a true journey for Wood. He has seen the highs of being a top high school recruit and the lows of sitting on the bench. Now, he has the chance to prove his perseverance. All things considered, the Buffs are lucky to emerge from the spring with a competitive quarterback who appears to be getting in sync with star wide receiver Paul Richardson.
Wood still needs to officially lock up the starting job and prove to the coaches, fans and himself that he can live up to the hype he received coming out of high school. If Wood can manage that, then Colorado football could see a couple more wins next year. More importantly, CU could see more confidence and competitiveness on both sides of the ball.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Grayson O’Roark at Grayson.email@example.com.