Five Big 12 teams will have new quarterbacks

Monday, August 27, 2007 | 11:41 p.m. CDT; updated 3:27 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008
Redshirt freshman Cody Hawkins beat out junior Nick Nelson for Colorado’s starting quarterback job.

Like any parent, Colorado coach Dan Hawkins wants his son Cody to succeed. Like any coach, he wants his team to win.

These two desires aren’t usually related for coaches. But it’s different for Dan Hawkins, whose son, a redshirt freshman, is Colorado’s new starting quarterback.

Dan Hawkins laughed when asked how he would feel when his son takes the field against Colorado State on Saturday. He said he would look at it as a coach wanting the offense to move the ball. As a father, he looks at his son’s character, not his passing yardage.

“Some guys here in town said, ‘Hey, aren’t you really proud your son is a starting quarterback, Division I football?’” Dan Hawkins said during Monday’s Big 12 Conference coaches’ teleconference. “And I said, ‘Hey, all that his mom and I ever wanted was that he was a good kid. … I don’t care what he does, whether it’s football or not.’”

But Cody Hawkins chose the sport and excelled. He’s 59-0 as a starting quarterback, beginning in Pop Warner football in sixth grade.

The novelty of their football relationship has worn off on Dan Hawkins.

“He’s just been around and involved and all that so much,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a new feeling to have him around.”

The Buffaloes announced Cody Hawkins as their starter Aug. 19. Dan Hawkins said he stepped back a little bit as his staff debated whether his son or junior Nick Nelson would get the job. Former starter and senior Bernard Jackson is listed third on the depth chart.

The Buffaloes aren’t the only Big 12 team with a new quarterback. Four other schools will have new players directing their offenses.

KANSAS: After starting eight games last year, sophomore Kerry Meier will start the season on the bench.

Meier has lost his job to sophomore Todd Reesing. Coach Mark Mangino announced Reesing as the starter on Aug. 18, and he’s not wavering.

“That’s a done deal,” Mangino said Monday.

Reesing has led the Jayhawks to victory. In his debut against Colorado last year, Reesing stepped in for Adam Barmann after halftime. Trailing 9-0, Reesing threw two touchdown passes as Kansas came back to win 20-15.

Mangino said he thinks Reesing’s confidence is key.

“I think it will probably make a big boost in our offensive play,” he said, “just because he thinks he can make a play every time.”

OKLAHOMA: Coach Bob Stoops announced last Tuesday that redshirt freshman Sam Bradford was the Sooners’ starter, beating out junior Joey Halzle and freshman Keith Nichol.

Stoops said Monday that the decision has raised Bradford’s profile.

“It gives him a little stronger voice in the huddle and in the locker room,” Stoops said.

None of the three quarterbacks has much experience. Last year Halzle attempted only two passes.

NEBRASKA: After getting passed over, Sam Keller is a starting quarterback again.

Last August, Keller transferred to Nebraska from Arizona State after he lost the Sun Devils’ job to Rudy Carpenter.

On Aug. 20, he was named the Cornhuskers’ starter after battling junior Joe Ganz during camp.

“It’s an honor,” Keller said after receiving the news. “It’s something I’ve been waiting for a long time.”

BAYLOR: Coach Guy Morriss is followinghis school’s lead. Baylor’s the only private school in the Big 12, and the Bears are the only team not announcing its starter. “I don’t see any point in making that public,” Morriss said.

Sophomore Blake Szymanski and redshirt freshman Tyler Beatty are competing for the job.

MU’S RICKS, WOODS RETURN: Cornerback Hardy Ricks will start against Illinois after recovering from a dislocated left shoulder, coach Gary Pinkel said . He suffered the injury during practice three weeks ago.

Pinkel also said backup running back Marcus Woods was cleared to play. He sprained his ankle during a scrimmage two weeks ago.

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