Playing time coming for Ballenger

Colorado redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Ballenger saw the first action of his career last week against Texas. Coach Dan Hawkins talked about the possibility of using Ballenger more today at his press conference.

CU quarterback Matt Ballenger could be seeing more playing time in the coming weeks with coaches interested in developing some experience behind starter Cody Hawkins and finding out just what they have in their redshirt freshman from Idaho.

Coach Dan Hawkins said today Ballenger could be used at select times in the coming weeks, but he did not say it would definitely happen. Ballenger completed three of four passes for 61 yards and a touchdown in mop-up duty against Texas last week. He threw a nice 28-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Patrick Williams.

"That would be the large part of it is just getting him there and seeing how he does," Hawkins said. "See how he competes and see how he compares. You know, sometimes, you never know, you bring another guy in and things happen and people respond. We'll see how that goes."

Ballenger said he hadn't heard about any possible change in his role or the possibility for more playing time until reporters approached him today in the Dal Ward Center and asked him about it. He said he plans to approach this week like every other this season.

Ballenger also said he believes some people are being much to hard on Cody Hawkins for the way the offense has sputtered the past two weeks with a young and beat-up offensive line having a tough time blocking.

"He's doing a lot better than people are giving him credit for," Ballenger said.

Dan Hawkins assessed Cody Hawkins play this way today:

"I think it's a combination of things. I don't think we've been real prolific on offense to begin with. So all that stuff is cumulative. I mean, himself, personally, has he played well? No, he hasn't. But you've got to be able to run the ball well and get your play-action game going. You've got to be able to protect well and do all those kinds of things.

"I don't think it's a one-man thing. I think it's a whole group thing."

Hawkins said the best thing his son and starting quarterback can do is to keep working through it and trying to get better.

"It's not like you ignore it, but, at the same time, you don't exacerbate the situation because there are other factors that come into it," Hawkins said.

Since the day he arrived at CU, Hawkins has talked about his belief in competition always being open at every position. He said he continues to believe in that regardless or position, and playing Ballenger could have a positive effect on Cody Hawkins and the entire program.

"I think you always want to push guys," Hawkins said. "I think you always want to have that element in there that, 'Hey, you're going to play or you're not going to play.' I think that is something we're getting better at in our program."

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