For the past three years, coaches and players alike have been preparing a defensive scheme to go up against CU-Boulder quarterback Cody Hawkins.
Around the halfway point last season, CU coach Dan Hawkins pulled his son, Cody Hawkins, in favor of the younger and more athletic Tyler Hansen.
Hansen fared little better than Hawkins, throwing only eight touchdowns with seven interceptions in eight games, and until recently, it was unsure who would start the season under center for the Buffaloes.
Though the Rams know it will be a different target on the other side of scrimmage, coach Steve Fairchild insisted the defensive strategy has not changed drastically.
â€œHe runs around a little bit more and can create a little bit with his legs,â€ Fairchild said. â€œWeâ€™ll have to be aware of him doing that, but I think what they do and what he does specifically doesnâ€™t change much. They are who they are.â€
Hansen is unquestionably more of a dual-threat quarterback capable of making big plays running the ball in contrast to Hawkins, who plays more like a traditional pocket-passing quarterback.
CSU defensive coordinator Larry Kerr acknowledged Hansen is dangerous in more than one way.
â€œHeâ€™s a guy who can move around in the pocket a little bit more and runs a little bit better,â€ Kerr said. â€œI think the biggest thing is containment, because he is a guy who will scramble and run.â€
After Hansen and Hawkins split time last year, the CSU coaches were not positive whom they would face in 2010, so they had to be prepared for either player.
â€œAll indications based on the end of last year where (Hansen) started seven games and then was the starter. For spring ball,â€ Kerr said. â€œWe thought he would be the quarterback.â€
The players are not worried about the mobility of Hansen because he is not the first athletic quarterback they have encountered.
â€œWe got a lot of different mobile quarterbacks in our conference, so itâ€™s no big deal,â€ junior linebacker Mychal Sisson said. â€œWeâ€™ll practice for him just like we practiced for Cody. It just might be more run-oriented with the quarterback.â€
Itâ€™s possible that the most memorable moment of last yearâ€™s showdown was the hit safety Elijah-Blu Smith had on CU wide receiver Scotty McKnight.
That play demonstrated the physicality the defense wants to take again this year.
â€œEach year, we are looking for that type of intensity,â€ Sisson said.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to bring it to them even more than we did last year.â€
Football Beat Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com.