Working with the starting offense when camp began, Hansen drew quick praise from his teammates.
“Last year he was more of running quarterback that had a really strong arm,” senior receiver Scotty McKnight said. “This year he’s a pocket passer and if things break down … he can move.”
Whoever ends up under center will play behind a stacked offensive line and have two new targets in transfers Travon Patterson, a senior from Southern Cal, and freshman Paul Richardson, who was jettisoned by UCLA after an off-field incident this summer.
Patterson and Richardson will give the Buffs an early taste of the Pac-10. Colorado is bolting the Big 12 for the Pac-10 by 2012, although all indications are they’ll leave after this season.
Patterson was free to transfer anywhere after the NCAA penalized the Trojans program last month for rules violations. Being a fifth-year senior, he’ll use up his eligibility before the Buffs join what will be called the Pac-12.
Richardson and two other incoming freshmen were released by UCLA after they were arrested on campus June 23 by university police after allegedly stealing a student’s purse from a storage locker in a dormitory.
“This is definitely a second chance,” Richardson said. “I made it to a big-name university. I made a mistake … I’ve moved past it and I’m ready to move forward.”
The Buffs also are eager to put the past behind them _ Dan Hawkins received a reprieve from athletic director Mike Bohn last year when there was a groundswell for his dismissal, which would have cost the university more than $3 million.
Bohn has lauded his football coach for cleaning up the program but said he’ll have to make headway on the scoreboard this season.
The Buffs are practicing in the mornings now instead of the afternoons and they’re not wearing names on their backs, the latter idea suggested by left tackle Nate Solder.
“It’s about the team, but it’s also about getting the fans off your back: ‘Hey, hey, down there.’ Now, you don’t know my name,” Solder explained. “They’re not going to yell at you as much.”
The early season includes a trip to Cal and a visit from Georgia before Big 12 play begins Oct. 9 with a trip to Missouri.