Countdown to Spring Practices – Quarterbacks

Program Note … CU spring practices open on March 31st. Over the next few weeks, there will be a unit-by-unit preview posted every other day leading up to the start of spring ball. Up next: Running backs …

— Quarterbacks (6) … Returning starter (bold); walk-on (italics):

  • Seniors … none
  • Juniors … J.T. Shrout
  • Sophomores … Brendon Lewis; Drew Carter
  • Red-shirt freshmen … Maddox Kopp (TR)
  • 2022 Signees … Oakie Salave’a (EE); Owen McCown

The Stats … 

It was pretty much a one-man show in 2021 for CU, as the quarterback room was limited to second-year freshman Brendon Lewis and true freshman Drew Carter. With Tyler Lytle at UMass, Sam Noyer at Oregon State, and J.T. Shrout on the shelf after an injury in August, the quarterback room was a lonely place last fall. With Drew Carter not ready for Power Five football, it was left to Brendon Lewis not only to head the offense … but keep from getting injured.

  • Brendon Lewis … 149-for-257, 1,540 yards … 10 touchdowns and three interceptions … 98 carries for 188 yards (201 yards lost to sacks) … two touchdowns
  • J.T. Shrout (at Tennessee in 2020) … 24-for-42, 315 yards … four touchdowns and three interceptions … 8 carries for 4 yards

Nationally … 

  • Passing offense … 131.2 yds/game … 126th nationally
  • Total offense … 257.4 yds/game … 129th nationally
  • Scoring offense … 18.8 pts/game … 121st nationally

What to watch for … As memories of the 2021 season fade, it’s easy for football fans to get optimistic about their team and the upcoming season. At Colorado, there is reason for optimism when it comes to quarterbacks for the 2022 season, if only because the Buffs actually have quarterbacks on the roster. Last season, Brendon Lewis was the last man standing, with true freshman Drew Carter the only other scholarship quarterback. After Carter … CU would have been down to either a walk-on or another position player who had played quarterback in high school.

Incoming offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford will at least have a full complement of quarterbacks to work with this spring. J.T. Shrout may not be a full go for contact, but should be healthy enough to participate in drills (after suffering what was described as a “significant knee injury” at a scrimmage last August). Of the quarterbacks listed above, only incoming freshman Owen McCown will not be available this spring.

“That’s a great thing about having a new start is there’s gonna be a great opportunity for a lot of these players on this roster to make a great first impression” Sanford said about his quarterback roster. “Some of it’s out there on the film, but also these players weren’t running the system that we’re going to run. They’re not taught the way that we’re going to necessarily teach them because there are going to be new nuances to this system. … It’s an exciting time for guys on this roster to go compete for opportunities to play.”

Burning questions for spring … 

  • Is the starting position up for grabs, or is Brendon Lewis the starter until final notice? While certainly not entirely the fault of Lewis, the above statistics are damning. CU was 126th nationally last season in passing, ahead of only New Mexico and the three service academies. It may be Brendon’s job to lose, but there is no reason to believe that this will not be an open competition … a competition which will likely stretch into the fall;
  • How is J.T. Shrout doing? There hasn’t been much information on Shrout’s status, so his level of participation will be interesting to learn. If he is a full go, is he ready to renew his battle with Lewis for the starting job?;
  • Is Maddox Kopp a future answer … or a warm body for depth? A former three-star recruit, Kopp didn’t play last year for Houston, so he is now two years removed from competition. We’ll see how much attention he receives this spring;
  • Will Oakie Salave’a get a real shot to play quarterback? The multi-talented Salave’a was a dominant force for his team in American Samoa, and was recruited as an “athlete”. Will he be the next Sal Aunese? Or will more pressing needs in the CU defensive backfield cut short Salave’a’s quarterback audition?


11 Replies to “Countdown to Spring Practices – Quarterbacks”

  1. I hope Oakie Salave’a gets a shot at QB….God…………….. he reminds me of Sal.

    He can pass and he can scoot…………Give him a shot.

    Ralphie won’t be a runt this fall. She should be up to about 700-800 lbs. (?) I can’t wait to see her pulling about 6 (?) handlers around the field.

  2. … 24-for-42, 315 yards … four touchdowns and three interceptions … 8 carries for 4 yards tells me what I need to know at this stage
    Some say this guy was ahead………………………Based on who was his coach and who was they OC, there opinions are not relevant…………. they were terrible and they are gone……..incompetent ih all areas…………………including judging talent…..

    Brendon had not shot at being successful last year. No shot.
    No Oline………. No line coach
    No offense…………. No OC
    No personal improvement……….no qb coach.

    no wins, but pretty good stats.

    I am hoping the new lease on playing qb for the MIghty Buffs propels him into greatness.


    Note: Brendon is the highest rated ……..though it doesn’t matter…………………and I believe was at one point a 4 start………………….I expect him to excel

  3. 10-3 is the most interesting number for Brandon, even with a crappy oline and with the offense having low production, his interceptions thrown was relatively low. His interceptions to TDs would be a great number if it was 30-9. So no I don’t see him rolling over and giving up the job.

    Who ever wins it should be that much better too.

  4. NIL is a bunch of nonsense. There needs to be a Pro College league and another amateur league. I say leave the PAC 12 and go to the MWC or something. I don’t believe in college football anymore.

    1. I agree with your first statement, but not the second. Why should the Buffs leave the PAC12 for a lessor conference and less money?

      If a “pro” college conference were to happen there are only two teams in the conference that should/could leave or be invited to join that conference, Oregon and USC. And, Oregon could end up being one of the lower schools in the conference because of overall market and location. The Ducks weren’t relevant before Knight’s money and yet over a billion dollars later they still don’t have a NC.

      USC has a new coach that could bring them back to the top, and has the donors and location with many blue chip players in their back yard; Riley will recruit and coach them back to the top 10 soon.

      That leaves the rest of the PAC12 err PAC10 to stay together, I think the Buffs would be just fine in a true college league with the top 26-30ish teams going “pro”; there would be a new level (or more level) playing field for the rest that are left.

      AND, The bottom 1/2 (or more) of that “pro” conference will end up with poor win/loss records when they no longer can play the rest of the colleges! No cup cakes for the “pro” league.

  5. A four win season would be incredible for this team. It will be interesting to watch, just to see if the decline can be stopped. Thin talent on both fronts, new coaches, and a difficult schedule overcomes any wishful thinking about the Buffs. You have to hope that the bleeding stops enough to try and convince players it’s worth coming to Boulder. So far, the kind of recruiting needed to win isn’t materializing.

    1. When you say the talent is thin I disagree. The talent was thin during the Embree years and early Macintyre years. We are not Alabama, or LSU. But we can compete in the PAC 12. Not winning championships year in and out yet but we can beat teams with the guys we have. One thing we do not have is depth. If we get injuries we are going to have a hard time replacing them with guys of the same caliber. Not from a talent perspective, I think we have talent, but it is very young, not a whole lot of experience. I remember watching during the embree and early Mac years and just thinking we were outclassed and pushed around. That did not happen last year. We were out coached on the offensive side, but physically our guys were not pushed around or just beaten (the one exception was the reciever out of USC, that guy was a freak). Dorrell has addressed the out coached issue. We will see to what degree but after meeting with the coaches last night I am a lot more optimistic.

  6. The QB competition will be fun to read about, even if all we’ll hear is “oh, they’re all competing, and it’s really, really close out there” well into fall camp.

    No way does Brendon roll over and give the job up. He may lose it, but he’s going to fight like hell to keep it. Based on my assessment, that means working on his mechanics a little, and more importantly, his reading, and reacting quickly and making accurate throws to the right spots. Hopefully Sanford can help in that progress, but a lot of that work will be self-driven in the offseason, watching film, getting dudes together for 7vs7, routes against air, etc.

    I want to see what Drew can do. As I’ve said before, he’s a point guard, so is used to anticipating where the ball should be, and when, to connect w/ the player at the right time to make a play. That cannot hurt.

    Kopp? I know even less about that guy. Can’t wait to see what he can bring to the field, whether as a depth piece, or the guy to win the job.

    If Owen’s not too twiggy when he gets there, he has as good a shot as any of them to win the job, even as a true freshman. And even if he is still too slight, he may well be the future. I put a lot of stock in growing up in a football family for his ability to read and react quickly and accurately. And, it looks like he’s got a good arm and isn’t a statue, either. I’m just wondering if his slight frame can take the pounding of a D1 QB – especially if it’s as much as CU’s QB’s seem to get pounded.

    Looking forward to seeing things unfold.

    Go Buffs.

  7. Yo,

    This is gonna be fun and interesting. My optimism boils hot

    As an aside, since you are going to use this over and over and add links. would it be possible at the top could you plug in the CU spring schedule.

    Go Buffs

  8. I want to be excited but my enthusiasm for this program is probably as low as it’s ever been. With the NIL money the gap between the haves and the have nots is only going to continue to grow. Karl Dorrell gives me zero optimism that he’s the man to turn this program around. Last year was another poor recruiting class, tons of transfers etc etc. The reason it hurt so bad losing Midnight Mel was because you could see the energy he brought to the program in only one year and proved he can recruit better talent. I don’t see this team winning more than 3-4 games.

  9. After last night I really feel the o line is going to make a significant leap forward from last year. This will give the qb. Ore time to throw and a better pocket. That said, you have to get the ball out much faster than Lewis was able to last year. He had flashes where he would but it was nowhere consistent. The route tree is changing significantly I hear, which may produce more opportunities to throw quicker and may suit Lewis better. I think though it is going to be a completion going in to fall camp. I heard from players though that Lewis is not just giving his position up. He is taking a leadership role and treating it like his job to lose. I also heard that Shrout may be no contact in spring so in scrimmages we will likely only see Lewis, Kopp, after and Salave’a.

    If we get good qb play next year I think we will be good. I was really impressed talking to Sanford last night.

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