Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
For much of the 2017 season, Drew Lewis was arguably the best player on the Colorado defense.
In his first season as a starter, Lewis dominated at times and was one of the nation’s leaders in applying pressure on the quarterback from the linebacker position.
Over the past three months, however, Lewis has focused on what he didn’t do last season, and the struggles he had late in the season.
“I wasn’t doing a great job of fulfilling expectations with (stopping the run) and I’m trying not to let that happen again,” said Lewis, now a senior. “I want to be able to crisp up my run fits, for sure, and then my coverage abilities and being able to play the ball.”
Lewis led the team with 119 tackles, while also recording two sacks, eight QB pressures and four pass breakups, but has spent his offseason trying to get better.
“The No. 1 thing, other staying in shape and doing workouts is film work and all the mental stuff,” he said. “I’ll be on Hudl on my phone all the time or I’ll be up here in the facilities watching film. It’s something you have to do every single day.”
Lewis in intent on getting better not only for himself, but for the team, as well. Like the rest of the senior class, Lewis wants to help the Buffs get back to a bowl game after missing out last season.
“The one thing that I want our team to know is that we need to have a chip on our shoulder because of that performance we had last year,” he said. “Coming off the season two years ago (10-4 in 2016), we had a little cockiness in us. That showed last year when we were getting our butts kicked that we were a little bit over our heads.
“We need to have that chip back on our shoulder and know that we need to be humble.”
That includes paying attention to every little detail, Lewis said. The Buffs are four practices into spring drills and after just a couple of those practices, Lewis said he already saw a difference in the team. The key is keeping it going.
“I’m trying to keep the energy up throughout the whole spring ball and keep that going to the very last day,” he said. “I think it’s all on the seniors.”
At inside linebacker, Lewis said he’s excited about the experience and talent the Buffs have. He and Rick Gamboa are both senior returning starters, while sophomores Nate Landman and Akil Jones lead a group of talented young players.
“I think we’ll have a good rotation,” Lewis said.
Noyer working on timing
Backup quarterback Sam Noyer, now a redshirt sophomore, has spent his offseason getting as familiar as possible with CU’s receivers.
“Probably just getting the timing down with the receivers, especially those No. 1 guys,” Noyer said of his top priority this offseason. “I think timing with receivers is a big, big thing in this game. If you can throw guys open, I think that’s going to be a big deal.”
Noyer played in four games last season, completing 13 of 27 passes for 119 yards.
“You have to be prepared for when your name is called and you just have to be ready,” he said. “I feel like I did a good job for the most part last year of doing that and I prepared every week like I was the starter.”
Noyer and redshirt freshman Tyler Lytle are working this spring to push incumbent starter Steven Montez.
“I just have to keep working,” Noyer said. “There’s a lot of things I can work on. I’m going to keep studying the playbook, studying film.”
CU wrapped up its week of practice on Wednesday and will return to the field on Monday.