Following spring practice, with his sights set on cementing the backup quarterback role for the Colorado Buffaloes, Steven Montez realized where he needed to make the biggest strides over the summer.
It wasn't in the weight room. It wasn't in the film room or in his studies of the CU playbook. It was at the dinner table.
Taking a personally unprecedented approach to his health and nutrition, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound redshirt freshman reported to preseason camp as a leaner, fitter version of the quarterback who arrived in Boulder a year ago.
"I was a little heavy and my body (fat) percentage wasn't where I wanted it to be," Montez said. "I feel like I'm eating better now and I'm in shape. In the spring I was a little bit heavy. Especially recently I've been eating a lot more vegetables, drinking a lot more water.
" I'm working on staying in shape, keeping my breathing up, standing up tall and not putting my hands on my head. Stuff like that."
Montez is battling senior Jordan Gehrke for the backup role behind incumbent starter Sefo Liufau. While Gehrke is listed at No. 2 on the Buffs' preseason depth chart,
it was Montez who took the bulk of the reps with the No. 2 offense during Saturday morning's workout.
With a year in the CU system under his belt, including a significant amount of reps with the No. 1 offense during the spring as Liufau recovered from foot surgery,
Montez reports he is far more prepared for the coming months than he was a year ago.
"Compared to last year, it's night and day," Montez said. "Seeing the defenses and learning the playbook and learning the reads, it's amazing."
Saturday's workout marked the first for the Buffs in shoulder pads, and head coach Mike MacIntyre said he was pleased with the requisite increase in intensity he saw out of his squad. That intensity included a brief skirmish short on actual punches but heavy with testosterone.
"I thought the guys had a good practice in pads," MacIntyre said. "I saw energy throughout the whole thing, and I saw guys getting after it and competing, and taking care of each other, too. They were competing fiercely but they knew to take care of each other. Which is a sign of an older team. So that was good."
MacIntyre said the experiment of having receiver Bryce Bobo alternate days at safety will continue for "a few more days" before reassessing the situation...The Buffs will be off Sunday before holding their first workout in full pads on Monday morning.