Steven Montez excited for CU Buffs’ football future

Former Colorado quarterback gives thoughts on potential replacements, play-caller Darrin Chiaverini

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez, right, and co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini participate in a practice in August of 2018. Montez has since graduated, while Chiaverini takes over the duties of sole coordinator.

When the Colorado football team returns to the field – and at this point, there’s no telling when that will happen – Steven Montez won’t be a part of the program anymore.

The Buffaloes’ former quarterback is interested to see his former play-caller take the reins of the offense, however.

CU’s all-time leading passer, Montez exhausted his eligibility last fall and is now preparing for this month’s NFL Draft.

BuffZone caught up with Montez at CU’s pro day last month to talk about the 2020 Buffs, but within 24 hours of that conversation, sports around the world were being shut down because of concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Stay-at-home orders around the country have much of life on hold, including the potential start of the football season. CU is currently slated to kick off its season on Sept. 5 at Colorado State. Whether it’s in September or a later date, the next football season will include many changes for CU, including a new head coach (Karl Dorrell), new quarterback and a new play-caller.

Darrin Chiaverini, who was co-offensive coordinator and called plays for the Buffs’ offense in 2018 – Montez’s junior year – was demoted to receivers coach last year under first-year head coach Mel Tucker. After Tucker bolted for Michigan State in February, CU hired Dorrell and Chiaverini was promoted to offensive coordinator. Once again, he will call plays.

“I think it’s going to be a little bit different (than last season under Jay Johnson),” Montez said. “And I think Chev might operate a little bit different now at this point. I think that they’re going to be really good under Chev.”

CU’s offense started hot in 2018, but struggled late in the season. Chiaverini has said he learned a lot from that season and Montez believes that growth will be evident.

“I think that they’re going to change up the pace a little bit,” he said. “I think it’s going to be up-tempo, and I think it’s going to be spread RPO. I think in college football that works really well, especially if you have a mobile quarterback, which more than likely they’re going to have because those guys can run.”

Those guys are Montez’s potential replacements – junior Tyler Lytle or true freshman Brendon Lewis.

Lytle has spent the past three seasons as a backup to Montez.

“He’s been waiting and the opportunity’s here now and I think he would obviously be the favorite coming into it,” Montez said. “It’s up in the air, but I mean, Tyler’s a competitor. Tyler can spin the hell out of (the ball), too. And, he’s also athletic. I think he’s a lot more athletic than people give him credit for. He’s really athletic for his size and his stature.”

Montez has never played with Lewis, who enrolled at CU in January, but was Lewis’ host on recruiting trips and got to know him fairly well.

“Great kid; he’s super humble,” Montez said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s already breaking squat records for the weight room and just doing great things and he can throw the hell out the ball. He’s accurate. He’s got a strong arm. He’s mobile. Everything you look for in a quarterback; he’s got it. Leadership skills, he’s got it.”

Montez left CU with 51 records, including career passing yards (9,649), career passing touchdowns (63) and most consecutive starts (36). While it might be odd to see someone new playing quarterback for the Buffs, Montez said he’s excited to watch CU’s future.

“Whether it’s a year from now, whether it’s 50 years from now, I’ll turn the Buffs on and I’ll support hard because I bleed black and gold, man,” he said. “I love the Buffs.”

Football hours increased

The NCAA on Thursday approved a change that allows up to four hours of required virtual meetings/film review per week in football.

Prior to the change, other sports were allowed four hours, but football just two hours per week. The Pac-12 appealed the NCAA for the change, and CU athletic director Rick George said this week he had hoped it would go through.

“We think it makes a lot of sense to be able to engage them more, particularly at a time when we’re not able to meet with them face to face or have any activities in person,” George said.

The virtual meetings can be as a whole team, by position groups or individually, according to CU. The meetings are to be used for activities that include film review and playbook installs, but cannot be used for physical activities, such as supervised virtual workouts.