CU Season Preview – Quarterbacks

Quarterbacks

Roster:

— Senior: T.J. Patterson

— Junior:

— Sophomores: Steven Montez; Tyler McGarry

— Red-shirt freshman: Sam Noyer; Casey Marksberry

— True freshman: Tyler Lytle

bold (returning starter) … italicized (walk-on)

By the Numbers:

— Steven Montez … 83-140 for 1,078 yards … nine touchdowns; five interceptions … 2-1 as a starter … Most total yards offense, starting debut: 468 v. Oregon (333 yards passing; 135 rushing) … First 300/100 yard game by a quarterback in CU history …

— CU quarterback unit (Athlon) … 7th in the Pac-12

Reasons to be excited:

— Last September, Steven Montez entered the Michigan game in the third quarter when Sefo Liufau was lost to injury. The red-shirt freshman was, by all accounts, a deer caught in the headlights. His 0-7 performance in the Big House helped a 28-24 third quarter lead against the Wolverines disintegrate into a 45-28 loss.

One week later, Montez was the Pac-12 Offensive Player-of-the-Week after becoming the first player in CU history to post over 300 yards passing and over 100 yards rushing in the same game. The 41-38 triumph over the Ducks, coupled with how well Montez played in subsequent games before Liufau returned, give CU fans plenty of reason for optimism for 2017 and beyond. Montez finished the 2016 season with 1,017 yards passing, with nine touchdowns and four interceptions (plus another 231 yards and another touchdown rushing).

This spring, with Sefo Liufau off to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Montez has shown himself ready to be the starting quarterback. Along with teammate Isaiah Oliver, he was presented with the John Wooten Award for outstanding work ethic during spring practices.  Montez may not set as many records as Liufau, but there is reason to believe he is a better overall quarterback.

— Waiting in the wings are two excellent options for the CU coaching staff. Red-shirt freshman Sam Noyer (6’4″, 215-pounds) and true freshman Tyler Lytle (6’5″, 205-pounds) are not exactly clones of Steven Montez (6’5″, 225-pounds) … but they are close.

Sam Noyer, a three-star quarterback from Beaverton, Oregon, is not phased by the competition. Even last spring, when CU was trying to bring in Davis Webb and Sheririon Jones to supplement the quarterback roster, Noyer was undaunted. “I just want to go in there and compete and see what happens,” said Noyer before arriving on campus last June. “Hopefully I will put up a good fight. I just want to go in there and show everybody what I got.”

Tyler Lytle, a three-star quarterback from Anaheim, California, is a true freshman, but he has already gone through his first set of spring practices, having graduated early and enrolling at Colorado in January.  As a senior this past fall, Lytle threw for 2,759-yards with 19 touchdowns and in 331 passing attempts, with only 6 interceptions.

Throw in the potential of Blake Stenstrom, a commitment from the Class of 2018, and Colorado might just be set at quarterback for the remainder of the decade.

Reasons for concern:

— Lack of experience is the only real knock on this group. Montez did see action in ten games last fall, but with only three starts (2-1, beating Oregon and Oregon State, losing to USC).  Opposing teams now have game film on him, and have had an off-season to attempt to exploit his weaknesses.

— It’s tough to be an up-and-coming quarterback in the Pac-12 right now. Washington State senior Luke Falk, who has set as many records as Sefo Liufau, is considered to be only the third-best quarterback in the conference by Lindy’s, coming in behind USC’s Sam Darnold and Washington’s Jake Browing. Throw in (past) All-everything Josh Rosen at UCLA, and you can see why pundits are still in “wait-and-see” mode when it comes to Montez.

— If Montez gets hurt, Colorado will be going against Pac-12 defenses with a freshman quarterback. No matter how well Noyer and Lytle may be in the near future, the Buffs are hoping that the only time they see either one of these quarterbacks is in mop up duty of blowout wins.

Bottom Line: 

— I will always be a big fan of Sefo Liufau. He left Boulder as CU’s all-time all-everything when it comes to the passing game – Liufau is CU’s all-time leader in pass attempts (1,383); completions (870); passing yards (9,568); touchdowns (60 – tied for first); completion percentage (62.9%) and total offense (10,509 … almost 3,000 yards ahead of No. 2 on the list, Kordell Stewart)

Liufau will be missed.

For those uninitiated with the Colorado football program, it is easy to see the Buff offense needing to fill a significant void in both talent and leadership. (An example, from Athlon: “Montez has a gunslinger mentality, and needs to improve his decision-making”).

Buff fans, though, know that the Buffs may actually be seeing an upgrade in quarterback production. While Liufau was as tough as nails, Montez looks more like a quarterback should look.

And, in the games in which Montez has played, he has had his moments. With another spring under his belt, and his position as the starter understood, the 2017 team is his team to lead.

Montez, for his part, feels he is ready.

“I feel like quarterback is one of those rare positions in football where you have to think you are the best, baddest dude on the field at all times. That’s how I look at the game and that’s how I play the game,” Montez said this spring. “You almost have to venture into cocky to go out there and perform extremely well as a quarterback.”

With Phillip Lindsay behind him, a strong offensive line to protect him, and one of the nation’s best wide receiving corps to throw to … Montez could have a season (or three) to remember …

Up nextCU Season Preview: Running Backs

—–

One Reply to “Season Preview – Quarterbacks”

  1. Stuart:

    I have to agree with your assessment of Montez: he could be an even better QB than Sefo! My son has played basketball with Montez in pickup games on campus and describes him as a phenomenal athlete…with our WR group, Montez could really excel this year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.