Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
This fall, it may very well be seniors Sefo Liufau or Davis Webb quarterbacking the Colorado football team.
There’s growing confidence, though, that redshirt freshman Steven Montez could handle the job if needed.
“Yeah, I think he could,” co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini said. “He’s really started to get it going a little bit. I’ve seen some good things from him. We just have to keep improving.”
On Wednesday, the Buffaloes wrapped up the first half of spring football with a scrimmage at Folsom Field. As a group, there have been a lot of good things, but as the Buffs head into spring break there’s a lot of room for growth.
The Buffs had fun with their first practice at Folsom. After a walk-through in the indoor practice facility, the Buffs entered the field through the Thunder Chute.
“Trying to make them feel like a game atmosphere,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said.
The Buffs certainly aren’t game-ready at this point, but after seven practices they are pleased with the progress they’ve made.
“The first seven practices you’re trying to get everything in,” MacIntyre said. “Now when we come back (after spring break on March 28), and we’ll start back at Day One. But you’ll have everything in, ready to go and then we can review everything, look at fundamental things we need to improve, and then move some people around too, probably, after we grade the scrimmage again today.”
MacIntyre said it was a typical scrimmage, with good and bad on both sides of the ball.
“We came out here and some guys made some plays,” he said.
One of the playmakers was Montez, a 6-foot-5, 230-pounder who is presumably keeping the quarterback spot warm for Liufau and Webb, who won’t practice until the fall.
Running the two-minute drill late in the scrimmage, Montez impressed Chiaverini by tossing a touchdown pass to receiver Kabion Ento.
“That was a big-time play by him,” Chiaverini said. “He’s really starting to get it, and he’s making plays with his feet. In this offense you have to be able to do that, too. You don’t have to be a runner, but you have to be able to extend plays. He showed that in the two-minute when he hit Ento for a touchdown.”
In his first spring coaching the Buffs, Chiaverini said Montez has been impressive.
“He’s been a pleasant surprise this spring for me,” Chiaverini said. “He’s got some football savvy to him, which I like. He’s got some natural football leadership qualities. I think he’s going to be fine. He’s going to keep developing. Hopefully, he’s not asked to play too soon. You can kind of just keep developing the offense, learn the offense really well and when he gets his opportunity, be ready.”
Aside from Montez, Chiaverini said he’s been impressed by receivers Devin Ross, Jay MacIntyre, Lee Walker and Ento. Ross, who struggled with drops throughout the 2015 season, has been singled out by several coaches and teammates this spring.
The offensive line struggled Wednesday but as a whole is making progress.
Defensively, the Buffs have challenged the offense with blitzes and pressuring the quarterbacks.
“It just makes our offense have to react a little bit quicker,” Chiaverini said.
Quick is the name of the game for CU, as it aims to play faster than ever on offense. With so many changes, they aren’t going as fast as they want, but Chiaverini said, “They’ll get it.
“As we consistently work this type of practice, this type of tempo, they’ll get used to it and it’ll become second nature for them. The main thing is we have to make plays when we get chances to make plays. We’ve been a little inconsistent this spring, which is expected.”
With several veterans on the roster, practices are running smoothly, which allows the Buffs to get more done each day.
“This was probably the longest scrimmage we’ve ever had,” MacIntyre said. “We got a ton of plays in, we had every situation done.”
Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (midfoot foot sprain) wore a walking boot on his left foot Wednesday and did not participate in the scrimmage. … Receiver Bryce Bobo has been dealing with a hamstring injury all spring and has not participated. … On Monday, MacIntyre issued a statement that he has given an indefinite suspension to defensive lineman Blake Robbins following Robbins’ arrest Sunday morning. On Wednesday, MacIntyre said he would not have any further comment. Robbins was set to sit out all of spring practice with a shoulder injury.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.