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  • Colorado quarterback Steven Montez threw for 2,975 yards and 18...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado quarterback Steven Montez threw for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.

  • Colorado quarterback Tyler Lytle redshirted last season but looks to...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado quarterback Tyler Lytle redshirted last season but looks to compete for the backup job in 2018.

  • Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer was the primary backup as the...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer was the primary backup as the Buffs preserved Lytle's redshirt last season.



During a cold, windy and rainy night in Pullman, Wash., last October, Colorado quarterback Steven Montez was about as miserable as could be, and the weather had little to do with it.

Benched at halftime of that 28-0 loss, Montez came back the next week with one of the best games of his career, leading CU to a 44-28 win against California.

Leading up to fall camp, which begins Aug. 1, is previewing each position group for the Buffs. In this installment, we take a look at the quarterbacks, who are led by Montez. Now a junior, Montez and the Buffs are hoping the lessons he’s learned from those ups and downs translate into more consistent play.

“I’m excited for Steven, just because he’s played a lot of football now in our offense and he knows what’s expected of him, from (head coach Mike MacIntyre), from myself, from his teammates,” CU co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini said. “I’ve been watching that guy put on muscle, put on size and he’s got himself in really good shape.

“I’m excited to see him compete this fall. Going through the kind of season he went through last year, the ups and downs that he went through, it helps you mature as a quarterback, too. I’m excited to see his maturation process, as well.”

Before coming to CU in 2016, Chiaverini was the receivers coach at Texas Tech and he worked with a with a pair of quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes and Davis Webb — that went through their own growing pains. Both wound up putting it all together to become NFL draft choices, with Mahomes going 10th overall in the 2017 draft.

“Steven’s ability, he’s in that category with those guys,” Chiaverini said. “Now his mental has to catch up with his physical.

“It can’t just be all arm and creating. You have to know what we’re doing, you have to study film and having (quarterbacks coach Kurt) Roper here, I think, is really helping Steven, as well. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do this year.”

This offseason, Montez has expressed his appreciation for what Roper – hired in January — has done in teaching him more about the game. Last month, Montez said that through film study and on-field repetitions, he’s better at pre-snap preparation.

Montez also had a chance this summer to attend the Manning Passing Academy and learn a bit from NFL legends Peyton and Eli Manning.

Of course, the quarterback position is not all about Montez. While he’s projected to start again, the Buffs go into the fall with sophomore Sam Noyer, redshirt freshman Tyler Lytle and true freshman Blake Stenstrom eager to get on the field, as well.

Montez played a lot in 2016 when senior Sefo Liufau battled injuries and knows the importance of getting his fellow quarterbacks ready for game days.

“I could go down at any point in time and you always want the next guy that’s going to be ready to go in there and succeed because you still want the team to win,” Montez said.

“I think they’re coming along pretty nicely. Everybody still has a lot of work they can do and put in to get better, but at this point in time they look pretty good.”

Last year, Noyer was the primary backup as the Buffs preserved Lytle’s redshirt. Going into camp, however, one the priorities will be solidifying that No. 2 spot.

“I think it’s going to be a great competition with Sam and Tyler, and you’ve got Blake Stenstrom in the mix,” Chiaverini said. “Those are really good players.

“What’s great about the way we practice is our quarterbacks get a lot of reps. They’re going to get a lot of throws, a lot of visuals.”

Chiaverini said there’s no rush to name a No. 2, but added, “I think we’re going to have a good feel about where we are with those guys after three weeks of camp. Sam had a good spring and then Tyler had a really good spring game. There’s some really good competition and we’re excited about Blake in our program and in our offense. It’s going to be a fun competition to watch.”

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or

Position: Quarterbacks

Returners (2017 statistics)

Tyler Lytle, Fr., 6-5, 225 (redshirted in 2017)

Steven Montez, Jr., 6-5, 235 (228-of-377, 2,975 yards, 18 TD, 9 INT; rushing: 132 att., 338 yards, 3 TD)

Sam Noyer, So., 6-4, 220 (13-of-27, 119 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; rushing: 4 att., minus-11 yards)


Blake Stenstrom, Fr., 6-4, 220 (true freshman)

Josh Goldin, So., 6-2, 185 (walk-on)


Casey Marksberry (walk-on; 2-of-3, 20 yards)

Tyler McGarry (walk-on)

T.J. Patterson (walk-on; 0-for-1)

2017 recap: The final numbers for Steven Montez were pretty good: 2,975 passing yards (third-best for a single season in CU history), 18 touchdowns (seventh) and a 60.5 completion percentage (10th). He also set a school record with 172 consecutive passes without an interception, became the first in CU history to post three consecutive 300-yard games and finished second on the team in rushing. The first CU quarterback since Cody Hawkins in 2007 to start every game, Montez had his struggles, too, including costly interceptions against Washington and Southern Cal and a rough outing at Washington State (4-for-13 for 21 yards). Sam Noyer made his debut last season, playing in four games and getting some experience to build upon for the future.

2018 outlook: For the Buffs to get back to the postseason, they’ll lean on Montez to use last year as a launching point and show improvement. While he figures to continue being a threat as a runner, the real growth from Montez has to come in the passing game. He is striving to be better at reading defenses and exploiting the opposition with his preparation and ability to find open receivers. CU was 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring last season (26.4 points per game) and needs Montez – and the other quarterbacks – to lead a more explosive attack. While Montez is the unquestioned starter going into the season, the Buffs love the talent of their young quarterbacks: Sam Noyer, Tyler Lytle and Blake Stenstrom. Noyer is the only one of the group with college experience, and he’s entering his third season with the program. Lytle has yet to play in a game, but has already been at CU for a year and a half and is getting more comfortable in the offsense. Stenstrom arrived in the summer and is likely to redshirt, unless he picks up the offense quickly and has an exceptional fall. Getting at least one of the three young QBs game ready will be important in fall camp.

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