Sam Noyer wants to play another year in Boulder, and head coach Karl Dorrell is happy to have him back.
On Friday, Dorrell said Noyer, the Buffaloes’ starting quarterback this season, will return for a sixth season at Colorado.
Noyer likely will not take part in spring drills, however, after recently having surgery on his throwing (right) shoulder.
“We’re excited about where Sam came from and what he did this year,” Dorrell said. “But in his mind, I can tell you … even though he won’t be able to do much throwing this spring or any at all, he’ll be really into locking down his knowledge about our offense and our passing game and in trying to take a bunch of mental reps since he won’t be able to take physical reps.
“He knows he has a huge challenge of really trying to take the next steps as a quarterback, but not being able to physically do that this spring. But he’s up for it. He’ll be ready.”
After three years as a backup quarterback and moving to safety in 2019, Noyer returned last year to compete for the starting job. He started all six games for the Buffs (4-2) and completed 55% of his passes (88-of-160) for 1,101 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions. He was also CU’s second-leading rusher, with 208 yards and five touchdowns and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA has given all players an extra year of eligibility, providing Noyer a chance to return.
Dorrell, meanwhile, has made it clear that all starting positions will be up for grabs, so Noyer will have some tough competition to keep his job.
Brenden Lewis, a true freshman who made his collegiate debut against Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 and led the Buffs to three touchdowns, figures to present the biggest challenge. However, the Buffs have also added Tennessee transfer JT Shrout and incoming freshman Drew Carter to the mix.
“I was really encouraged by Brenden Lewis,” Dorrell said. “I thought he played really well (against Texas) and it was fun to see him get in there and play. I’m really encouraged by that and hoping he uses that experience of the game and he kind of rides that momentum of his play going into this spring. But this spring is going to be all about competition. … The bottom line, it’s all about every position coming out playing well and being challenged and being competitive to play our best 11 on both sides of the ball.”
Landman on the mend
Dorrell said he is hopeful that linebacker Nate Landman will be ready to play next fall.
Landman ruptured his right Achilles’ tendon on Dec. 12 against Utah and recently announced he will return for a fifth season. Dorrell said the recovery could take from seven to nine months.
“It’s doable, yes, to play,” Dorrell said. “Now, that’s going to all depend on how well his rehab goes from when he starts running, lifting, all that stuff. We do think that he should be ready to go by the start of fall. He won’t be available this spring, obviously, but he does have time to get it ready to go.”
A two-time first-team All-Pac-12 player, Landman has led the Buffs in tackles the past three years and ranks 10th all-time at CU with 338 career stops. With a full season, he could make a run at the top two or three spots.
“I think it’s a great decision on his part (to come back),” Dorrell said. “It gives him a chance to get back healthy and to hopefully play a full season with great football instead of the number of games he played this year. It was an extremely pleasant boost to hear that. He knows there’s unfinished business.”
For now, the Buffs are hoping to start spring practices in late March and go through April. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic could impact that.
“Nothing’s etched in stone,” Dorrell said. “Since I’ve been here, nothing’s been etched in stone.”