Steven Montez will be the first to admit he’s got a lot of work to do between now and the start of the football season in August.
The Colorado senior has already made a good impression on new head coach Mel Tucker, however.
Following a scrimmage on Friday, Tucker raved about Montez, who has started every game of the past two seasons.
“I like him,” Tucker said. “He’s got good poise. He’s got good command and he’s very confident. I love the way that ball spins coming out of his hand. He can throw it.”
During Friday’s scrimmage, Montez completed 11-of-19 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yard Hail Mary to Jaylon Jackson.
Still learning the offense being installed by new offensive coordinator Jay Johnson, Montez said he’s getting better throughout the spring.
“I thought I looked OK today,” Montez said. “I made a few mistakes, forgetting to bring motions. That’s got to get cleaned up; that’s freshman year stuff and I’m already a fourth-year guy, so I have to clean that up and be sharper. In the run game, I’ve gotten a lot better having an understanding of what we want to do and where we want to run the ball, but I’m not there yet.
“I have to watch a lot more film and go over those installs a lot more and hopefully I just keep getting better each practice.”
In all, the Buffs ran 94 plays during the scrimmage. Montez was on the field for 43 plays, leading the offense to 190 yards and 33 points (five touchdowns and three extra points).
Sophomore Tyler Lytle ran 20 plays, leading the Buffs to 139 yards and three points. He completed 8-of-13 throws for 116 yards.
Junior Sam Noyer led the Buffs to 71 yards and 10 points in his 21 plays and completed 5-of-8 passes for 33 yards. All the quarterbacks avoided interceptions.
“I think Tyler is getting better, Sam made some plays,” Tucker said. “They have a good grasp of the offense and I feel like they’re playing with confidence. I feel really good about that group. Jay Johnson has done a phenomenal job with that. There’s really good energy and good poise and composure. They’re better now than they were when we started.”
The Buffs don’t have a lot of experience at safety, but the competition has been good this spring.
“I think you’ve got a lot of guys that are hungry right now,” defensive coordinator/safeties coach Tyson Summers said. “We’ve got a lot of competition across the board on our entire football team — certainly on our defense and certainly in our (safeties) room.”
Junior Derrion Rakestraw and sophomore Isaiah Lewis have spent the most time with the first-team defense this spring, but Summers said sophomore Hasaan Hypolite is pushing for playing time. Converted cornerback Trey Udoffia is progressing, as well.
“Trey has gotten a lot better the last two weeks, and in particular this week making strides, but there’s a number of guys that are in there that are really working,” Summers said. “That’s when you start to get better inside your positions is when they know there is competition and at any point in time the next guy is trying to push them to be better. Overall that’s how you rise to the cream of the crop in all of your rooms.”
That competition should get even more intense in the fall when junior Aaron Maddox is expected to return from injury and when freshmen arrive. The coaching staff has high hopes for incoming freshman Mark Perry, from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
CU is trying to replace last year’s starters, Nick Fisher and Evan Worthington, who have graduated.
Kicker James Stefanou went 3-for-3 on Friday. Two of his kicks were extra points and his one field goal was from 25 yards out. Kickoff specialist Davis Price struggled on field goals, going 0-for-2 and missing wide right from 42 and 28 yards. … The Buffs will take the weekend off and return to the field on Monday.