With a week to go in spring practices, the Colorado Buffaloes’ quarterbacks have received some valuable reps, but there doesn’t appear to be much separation at the position.
On Friday, CU completed its 12th practice of the spring — and its third scrimmage. Head coach Karl Dorrell continued to praise the progress of the entire team, but said of the quarterbacks, “There was mixed results.”
With senior Sam Noyer, who started all six games in 2020, out this spring with a shoulder injury, freshman Brendon Lewis and transfer JT Shrout continue to split reps with the first- and second-team offense. True freshman Drew Carter and walk-on Grant Ciccarone are also competing.
Dorrell said the Buffs ran through about 55-60 plays on Friday, including some last-minute situations, with the offense at its own 35-yard-line with 40 seconds remaining and needing a touchdown to win.
“The defense held them out of that situation,” Dorrell said. “So I think the defense was a little bit better and ahead on that, but that’s the first time the offense put in that package. They did some positive moves and some positive plays, but they didn’t get it in.”
For the quarterbacks, Dorrell said the two-minute offense, “Was a little bit of a challenge. We had some dropped passes in that period. But I thought that they did some positive things throughout the day.”
There were a few interceptions thrown, but Dorrell said that wasn’t all on the quarterbacks.
“Some of them were tipped interceptions from off of receivers’ hands and the defense is right there to recover,” he said. “But I thought (the quarterbacks) played OK.”
On offense, Dorrell said there were no standouts at receiver on Friday, but added that tight end Matt Lynch, “had a couple nice catches.” He also said the running backs ran well, especially freshman Ashaad Clayton.
“The more reps he gets, he just gets faster and faster and faster and he’s so much more confident,” Dorrell said.
Defensively, freshman Tyrin Taylor had his first scrimmage interception, while linebackers Robert Barnes and Jonathan Van Diest also picked off passes.
“There were some definitely some bright moments today,” Dorrell said.
Dorrell added that much of his focus has been on the development of the young players, and in that regard, Friday was another successful day of practice.
“I really like the work that’s going on right now,” he said. “We’ve got three days left. I would say the body of work this spring (has been) pretty good for our young players to kind of get some reps and get caught up with what we’re doing offensively and defensively and special teams, so we should be in pretty good shape.”
Former CU receiver Laviska Shenault, who recently completed his rookie season with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, was in Boulder to watch practice. His younger brother, La’Vontae Shenault, is a freshman receiver with the Buffs.
“I like all of our former players that are in the league coming back so they can share some of their experiences and what’s going on up there and the challenges they face,” Dorrell said. “I think there’s definitely some educational moments that he can help this team with. It’s good to have him back being supportive and being with his former teammates. I think it’s a good thing.”
Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon got a PRP injection in his left knee on Friday, but Dorrell said there is no structural damage. “He’s not practicing right now because he’s been a little sore with that knee,” he said. “We already know what it is. We gave him an injection to kind of help ease the discomfort.” … Tight end Brady Russell has been practicing but was held out of the scrimmage as the Buffs continue to be cautious with his recovery from a leg injury. … Dorrell said defensive lineman Na’im Rodman has shown improvement and, “He’s been consistent from the start of spring practice. He’s really getting a great feel of what his role is within our defense.” … Dorrell also praised defensive linemen Janaz Jordan and Justin Jackson. … The Buffs will hold their spring showcase on April 30 at 9 a.m. CU has not yet determined how many fans will be allowed to attend.