• Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    Colorado quarterback Steven Montez finished with 2,975 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while also rushing for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Go to BuffZone.com for more photos

  • Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    Colorado quarterback Tyler Lytle, right, hands the ball off to receiver Jay MacIntyre on Friday.

  • Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer looks downfield on Friday during the first practice of the spring.



Having started every game of the 2017 season and being the only quarterback on the Colorado roster with much experience, Steven Montez seems to be firmly entrenched as the starter going into next season.

Montez isn’t taking anything for granted, however.

“I come in when football starts and I’m out there working like it’s not my job, and it’s really not,” Montez said Friday after the first practice of the spring for the Buffaloes. “The position is up for grabs every year and that’s how I treat it. I go in every year and I compete.”

Competition is the key word for Montez and the rest of the quarterbacks this spring, as they look to do their part to make the Buffs more efficient offensively. CU ranked 11th in the Pac-12 with 26.4 points per game last season, and the quest to improve that number begins at quarterback.

Montez, now a junior, is the leader of that group, but sophomore Sam Noyer and redshirt freshman Tyler Lytle are pushing him, as well.

“All three of us are always competing; that’s football,” Lytle said. “We’re going out there and competing every day, pushing ourselves, pushing each other and that just makes us a better team overall.”

Last year, Montez became the first quarterback at CU to start every game of the season since 2007, and he finished with 2,975 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while also rushing for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Those were solid numbers, but Montez is hardly satisfied.

In the three months since the end of the season, Montez has watched several of CU’s games, and pointed out that he watched the first half of a 28-0 loss to Washington State twice. That half was, by far, Montez’s worst half of the season, as he went 4-for-13 for 21 yards before being benched at halftime for Noyer.

“You have to look at the mistakes,” Montez said. “You have go look at your mistakes and learn from them.”

Without hesitation, Montez said his biggest area of improvement can come from “decision making, without a doubt.” That includes throwing the ball away instead of taking sacks, he said.

“I think that will come with maturity,” he said.

Montez is entering his fourth season at CU, and this is already his third spring as the lead quarterback.

“I kind of feel like a veteran,” he said.

So does Noyer, in some respects. He’s entering his third season at CU, and got his feet wet last year, playing in four games and throwing for 119 yards.

“I feel a lot better,” he said. “It’s a lot more smooth out there. It’s definitely a big change now that I’ve had a few plays in a live game and two years under my belt.”

Like Montez and Lytle, Noyer views this spring as an opportunity for all the quarterbacks to get better and push each other.

“I see everything as a competition,” Noyer said. “I just want to get better every play and I think that’s going to help the team in the long run.”

While all three expressed their appreciation and admiration for former quarterbacks coach/co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, who is now at Oregon State, they also expressed excitement to work with new quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper.

“Coach Roper is a little more fired up in practice, which I like,” Lytle said. “It gets me going. I’m going to learn a lot from coach Roper and I learned a lot from coach Lindgren.”

Montez said he’s already seeing all three quarterbacks get better, and can’t wait to see how much more improvement will take place this offseason.

“I think (Roper) is going to help all the quarterbacks out in all aspects of our game, whether it’s seeing coverage, reading progressions or our footwork and mechanics,” he said. “I think he can work on all of that. We’re excited that he’s here.

“I think everybody is progressing a lot. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more of that going forward.”

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33