There has been a lot of hype over Chase Hansen in the past two days or so since Whittingham announced him as breaking away from the backup quarterback pack. Some agree with Whitt and others are skeptical, citing Hansen’s inexperience or “average” arm. One thing I know for certain: If you have not seen him in live reps yet this spring, you are in for a treat when you finally do. There were three times in Friday’s practice and several more in Tuesday’s practice where I was certain that Chase Hansen was going down for the sack. In each instance, the defensive lineman had Hansen dead in his sights, his arms were outstretched sometimes with a fist full of jersey, and needed only one more step to pummel him. Yet each time Hansen alluded them – a sidestep here, a spin there, his hand to the ground to stabilize him before his knee touched the turf. Once free from the grasp of the would-be tackler Hansen steps up in the pocket, eyes down field and, still feeling the pressure, begins to flush to one side or another to feel out whether to run or pass. When he decides to run it is for at least 5 yards with a long of around 15-20 yards (which occurred in Tuesdays practice). When he has decided to pass on the run it has been a strong completion for a first down.
While Hansen is not perfect and certainly still has much more of the offense to learn, it is clear that he is an efficient quarterback. Of the drives he was given in Friday’s practice, none of them stalled except for a red zone drill that was stopped on a QB keeper on the 1 yard line. The guy simply continues to move the ball forward, either by making the right read and handing the ball off, running the ball himself, or finding the open man for the pass. This convincing style of play may not yet be enough to allow him to take over as the starter this year but as he continues to separate himself from the other quarterbacks in the pack, it is becoming more and more clear that he will be the quarterback of the future for the Utes.