Deutschman: Offense will have growing pains moving on from UNC

Chad Deutschman

After weeks of debate over who should start at quarterback, the conversation can be laid to rest. Collin Hill is the Colorado State starting quarterback from here on out.

There were 26,718 fans at Hughes Stadium to watch the young quarterback play, and none of them left thinking anyone but Hill should be the starter.

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He didn’t back into the job, it wasn’t spoon fed to him. He earned it with his play.

Coming into the game, CSU quarterbacks were completing 38.5 percent of their passes for 171 yards and one touchdown in two games. Hill completed 77 percent of his passes while throwing for 315 yards and four touchdowns. The numbers speak for themselves.

Not only did Hill pick apart the UNC defense through the air, but also showed signs of being more than capable in the run game, scampering for a 51-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

“We caught them in man-coverage and everybody was chasing the back,” head coach Mike Bobo said. “I don’t think he has great speed. He said that he was out of breath, said that was the farthest he’s ever run; and he is in this Colorado climate, his lips were completely white. I said ‘you need to go get some chap stick and some water.”
So Hill may not be the typical dual-threat quarterback in the eyes of his coach, but if he has to run he can.

Hill’s play ignited the offense. In the first two games of the season there was a lack of playmaking, a lack of energy. When the freshman came in all of that changed.

“When you’re throwing a deep ball, the big thing is give your guys a chance,” Bobo said. “Just throw it where our guy has a chance. Collin did that today. I thought he was sharp, you could see the ball coming out of his hands. He was decisive on his throws and was committed to them and the ball was getting there in a hurry…the receivers were able to use light hands and catch the ball and they made plays. Hopefully that will give them some confidence.”

Confidence moving forward will be key. As much as the team and fans want to celebrate a stellar performance from Hill, it is important to not jump the gun.

Yes, Hill played great and the offense was running on all cylinders. All of that is true, but there was a significant gap from a competition standpoint. The coming weeks may not be so kind.

Northern Colorado was the perfect time to play a true freshman at quarterback. It was a game that CSU was heavily favored to win, and did. Moving forward, CSU will not be the favorite in many of the remaining games, starting with Minnesota. Bobo knows that, he wants his team to know that.

“We’re going on the road (next week) really for the first time, and going on the road with a freshman quarterback,” Bobo said. “We challenged those guys in there to lock in… we are playing a very good defense and it is going to be a physical game. Things will not be as easy as they were today but if we understand the plan and execute the plan, we’ll put ourselves in position to have a chance in the fourth quarter.”

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Take Hill’s performance not with a grain of salt, but with an objective lens. The offense looked strong against UNC, but don’t expect it to have the same results against stiffer competition.

Collegian sports editor Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ChadDeutschman