Following the 2018 season, Colorado quarterback Steven Montez wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do for 2019.
Return to CU for his senior year, or make a run at the NFL?
Ultimately, Montez decided he had more to accomplish with the Buffaloes, and on Monday he kicked off his final spring in Boulder.
“I just thought about it and talked to my family and talked to the people that are closest to me and the people that care most about me and just asked their opinion on it,” Montez said. “Then I just thought about what we’ve accomplished here, and how these last couple of seasons we got left with a bad taste in our mouth and just not being OK with that.
“I knew I had to come back for my last year and see it through and finish it out with the guys that I came in here with.”
Montez has started all 24 games over the past two seasons — the third-longest starting streak of any QB in CU history — and he ranks among the program’s all-time leaders in passing yards (fourth with 6,841), touchdown passes (third with 46) and other categories.
He’s also just 12-15 in his career as a starter and has yet to lead the Buffs to a bowl game.
To turn that around, Montez has to adjust to a new offense and coach. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jay Johnson is Montez’s third position coach, following Brian Lindgren (who was at CU from 2013-17) and Kurt Roper (2018).
“I think we’ve definitely had three different personalities with Lindgren, Rope and coach Johnson,” Montez said. “They’ve all been different personality-wise, all phenomenal coaches. I think I’ve been extremely blessed, even though we’ve had three different quarterback coaches in four or five years. We just have to keep listening to what they’re telling us and keep learning from them, because they know their stuff.”
Montez said the new offense is more pro-style and will include him being under center “maybe 35 percent” of the time. Montez has mainly operated out of the shotgun formation during his collegiate career.
The new offense will also require more of Montez before the snap, he said.
“It’s a little more stuff at the line of scrimmage, but I definitely think I can handle it and I think this will definitely set me up and help me out and prepare me for the next level,” he said. “At the NFL, they do a lot of stuff at the line of scrimmage.”
While there is a lot to learn, Montez said after the first practice, he feels the team is embracing the changes.
“I definitely think people are a lot more locked in and just eager to learn a new offense,” he said. “I know I was for sure. I think we looked good. There’s still a lot of things that we can clean up and a lot of things we need to get better at.”
CU head coach Mel Tucker has yet to work with Montez, but was impressed with the senior on Monday.
“He’s very talented and he had good poise today,” Tucker said. “I thought he ran a good show today, and I was happy with his business-like approach.”
CU is off on Tuesday and will return to the field on Wednesday. … There was no snow on Monday, but the cold start to the morning practice suited Tucker. “The kids embraced it and we have to be a weather-proof football team,” he said.