For the third time in as many games, the Colorado State Rams have a different starting quarterback.
After Wednesday’s practice, coach Mike Bobo officially announced that true freshman Collin Hill would start for the team against the University of Northern Colorado on Saturday.
“We are going to go with Collin Hill for this game,” Bobo said. “I feel like he is confident. I feel like the guys are responding well to him. I am looking forward to seeing him play on Saturday.”
Bobo would not say whether this decision was just for this week or the rest of the season. But he does expect a different look out of his team this week.
“I feel comfortable with him (Collin) going forward, I expect him to play well and I expect us to improve in our passing game (and) improve offensively,” Bobo said.
Heading into the season, the perception was that the quarterback battle was a two man race between the incumbent starter junior Nick Stevens and senior graduate transfer Faton Bauta.
But Bobo made it clear early on in fall camp that Hill, a true freshman from Moore, South Carolina, was in the mix as well.
Stevens started the first game of the year against Colorado, but after struggling mightily, going 6-20 for the game, he was replaced in the third quarter by Bauta.
Bauta started last week against the University of Texas-San Antonio, but he too struggled throwing the football, finishing the game 6-17 passing.
In the fourth quarter of the UTSA game, Bobo turned to Hill, and he said after the game that he was not reluctant to insert the freshman due to the team’s inability to complete a pass.
Hill finished the game 2-6 for 26 yards. Bobo is not looking for perfection from his quarterbacks right now, he just needs to see some production.
“He didn’t play well either, but he had two big completions,” Bobo said about Hill’s performance against UTSA. “You can see the ball comes off with velocity, you can see that he is confident in his throws and he gets on top of the ball.”
For some, the decision from Bobo to insert Hill when he did may have been questionable. After all, for the first game and a half, Hill looked like he was on his way to a redshirt season.
But Bobo made it clear that redshirting was never the decided path that Hill was going to take this season.
“Maybe it was in the young man’s mind that he was going to redshirt, but we have been talking to him all along and our plan was to get him ready to play,” Bobo said.
Hill took all of the first-team reps during Tuesday’s practice, but Bobo was not yet ready to make that announcement after that practice, stating that he would have to come back and look at the film before he was ready to make a final decision.
It looks like he has seen all he needed to see.
“We had our pecking order going into Monday and Collin was the number one and he performed really well. Practice has really been up-tempo, guys have been flying around. They know he is a freshman, they know he is going to make some mistakes but they feel comfortable with what he has done out there in practice,” Bobo said.