Redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Montez knows the opportunity in front of him this spring is a big one as he competes for playing time at the position.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Montez knows the opportunity in front of him this spring is a big one as he competes for playing time at the position. Go to for more photos. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Colorado's quarterback situation has been in a state of flux all offseason.

Players have come and gone, others have yet to arrive and another is still uncertain about whether he'll play this fall.

Steven Montez has remained focused on his goal the entire time, though, and on Wednesday the redshirt freshman and the rest of the Buffaloes kicked off spring practice.

"It's still really the same goal," he said. "There's one quarterback that plays and the best quarterback is going to play at Colorado, whoever that might be. That's what we're working for."

At this point, nobody really knows for sure who will start this fall.

Three-year starter Sefo Liufau has a foot injury that is keeping him out of spring practice and could sideline him for the entire 2016 season. Liufau's top backup from last season, Cade Apsay, was dismissed from the team. The Buffs added Tennessee transfer Sheriron Jones in early January, only to have him return to Tennessee two weeks later.

Meanwhile, the quarterback many think will be the starter, Davis Webb, is not actually a Buff just yet. He's still in Lubbock, Texas, finishing up his degree at Texas Tech.

For the spring, that leaves Montez and senior Jordan Gehrke, who is viewed as a backup.

"All I know is Jordan is working extremely hard, just like the rest of us," Montez said. "I don't know if you can just write him off as it's not his time. He's working just as hard as all of us."


Liufau, Webb, Montez and even Gehrke are all in the running to start the Sept. 2 opener against Colorado State. Montez also points out that incoming freshman Sam Noyer could work his way into the competition this fall.

"Whoever works the hardest, whoever knows their stuff, whoever the coaches trust the most and whoever is going to get us wins is the person who is going to start," Montez said.

All Montez can control is making sure he's in consideration for the job. He knows the opportunity in front of him this spring is a big one. With Apsay no longer in the mix, the first-team reps fall to Montez and Gehrke, with the versatile Jaleel Awini getting some snaps as well.

"It is different," said Montez, who ran the scout team offense last season. "Coming in and being thrown in with the ones and twos, it's really a new experience. It's a different, good experience at a lot faster pace. I'm getting used to it."

After Wednesday's practice, head coach Mike MacIntyre said it was a good day for the quarterbacks.

"They got a ton of reps," he said. "It was good to see them do all of that. I thought it went well. I thought it went smooth. They didn't look like they were lost."

At 6-feet, 4¾-inches and 230 pounds, Montez has great size to play quarterback. He also has an exceptional arm and is mobile enough to make plays with his feet.

While his talent gives him a good foundation, Montez said he comes into spring knowing he has to work on reading the defense, making good throws and developing a better presence in the pocket.

Getting a chance at more reps in practice this spring should accelerate Montez's development, and he hopes to come out of the spring proving he's worthy of leading the Buffaloes in the fall.

"That's a big thing is letting (the coaches) know that I've got the system down and that I can take the keys to the whip, if you will, and run the offense," he said. "That's huge for me.

"I'm just trying to put in the work and show that I am ready to play and that I can go get wins for Colorado in 2016."

Brian Howell:, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.