Buffs to Stay With B-Jack at QB

Dan Hawkins made it clear, once again, at Tuesday's press conference that quarterback Bernard Jackson will be the starter Saturday vs. Arizona State. Hawkins also indicated they're not throwing out the passing portion of the CU playbook with Jackson behind center.

"We really want to throw this in Bernard's corner and let him roll with it," Dan Hawkins said. "That's not to say that we're giving up on James (Cox)."

So, fans should expect Jackson to start Saturday, right? Who knows?

Hawkins and his staff played their cards close to the vest a week ago, and when Bernard Jackson instead of James Cox trotted out to take the team's first offensive snap, it caught the entire stadium, and the CSU team, by surprise.

Jackson had CSU back on its heels as he led CU to an opening-drive score. But the Rams quickly figured out a way to defend Jackson's running ability. And the CU passing game never got untracked. CU ended the day with just 146 total yards on offense.

In the 14-10 loss, it appeared the Colorado coaches didn't trust Jackson with a big portion of the passing game. CSU picked up on that and decided to make Jackson beat them with the pass, by putting eight men in the box, blitzing a safety on most downs. You can bet the Sun Devils' coaching staff noted how effective CSU defensive pressure was after their first series. Jackson will likely see the same this Saturday.

Hawkins said they're not throwing out the passing portion of the playbook, however.

"We always talk about coaching to win," he said. "We're not going to go out there and give them two tight ends and two backs and try to play ‘slow death.' We're not going to. We're going to continue to push the envelope with (Jackson) and the rest of the team. We will continue to make the same refinements we have the first couple weeks and continue pushing that direction."

So, fans should expect the Buffs to begin in a two-tight end, two-back set Saturday? Who knows?

The reality is, the Buffs are simply using what they have at quarterback.

"You're always thrown into a situation where you aren't able to control all the variables and now you have to make those variables work in the best possible way that you can," Hawkins said. "We're trying to do that. But we're kind of throwing the ball Bernard's way at this point. That doesn't mean James is completely out of it."

So what about the two-quarterback system? Though both Hawkins and OC Mark Helfrich have said they're not fans, they've never been in this situation before — where one quarterback really hasn't proved himself clearly to be the best choice.

On Tuesday, Hawkins took a moment to answer after he was asked if he might go to a two-quarterback system.

"That can be hard," he said. "You have to look at what each guy can do and what he can bring to the table and what's best for your club at that point and try to mesh the advantages of using two guys with the detraction of using two guys, and see how that plays out, both from an X and O's standpoint and a psychological standpoint."

So, fans should expect to see a mix of Jackson and Cox on Saturday? Who knows?

• People have to remember that when Jackson took the first CU snap on Saturday, it was the first time he'd played quarterback (outside of a gimmick play here and there) in a game since he was a senior in high school in fall of 2002.

Also, Jackson was moved to a different position twice in his first three seasons at CU. Asked if he thought that had impeded Jackson's progress in quarterback fundamentals and reading defenses, Hawkins lowered his eyes and merely said, "Joel Klatt took almost every rep for them."

Under Hawkins, the benchwarmers and/or younger players get the coaches' full attention every Sunday practice. Typically, the starter and second string quarterback split reps in practice at about a 60-40 ratio, Hawkins said in August.


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