Hawkins Takes Lead In Starting QB Race

Though coaches say the competition is still open, redshirt-freshman Cody Hawkins has taken a distinct lead in the race for the starting quarterback job at Colorado. His consistency and ability to "make plays" has earned him the advantage 10 days into fall camp.

On Wednesday morning, Cody Hawkins was at quarterback with the first team each time the Buffs went into periods that included 11-on-11 work. Junior Nick Nelson worked with the second team, while true freshman Matt Ballenger ran the third team.

After the practice, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich confirmed what was apparent to onlookers.

"As it stands right here today, Cody's a little ahead of Nick," Helfrich said. "It's still a healthy, viable situation competition-wise. And I think right now we're going to plan on getting through that second scrimmage (scheduled for Saturday morning) and then make a decision."

Helfrich said they'll decide in the next couple of days whether Hawkins will get more reps with the first team in Saturday's scrimmage, or if he and Nelson will split those reps, as they did in last weekend's scrimmage.

Helfrich said Nelson has made plays in camp — and he pointed out the touchdown throw he made while being hit by a defensive lineman in Saturday's scrimmage. Nelson suffered a slightly bruised hand on the play.

"That was a heckuva play when he got hurt," Helfrich said. "That's something the team can really rally around, when you take a shot like that and it's a touchdown, and you pop up."

But Hawkins has been more consistent and made more plays the past 10 days. Also, Helfrich noted Nelson has been pressing a bit too much as of late, particularly on Monday, which has led to mistakes.

The team plans a second practice this evening, beginning at 8 p.m.

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