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CU Buffs’ Sam Noyer ready to compete once again

Sixth-year senior quarterback eager for final season with Colorado

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - December 29, 2020: Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer warms up before facing Texas during the Valero Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome on December 29, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.
Courtesy Valero Alamo Bowl
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – December 29, 2020: Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer warms up before facing Texas during the Valero Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome on December 29, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.

About a year ago, Sam Noyer never expected to play another game at Colorado.

He certainly didn’t expect to be in Boulder this spring preparing for yet another season with the Buffaloes.

“But, I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it,” he said last week as the Buffs closed out spring practices.

BOULDER, CO – April 2021: Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Sam Noyer during spring football practices. (University of Colorado Athletics)

Entering his sixth season with the Buffs, Noyer has had a career filled with challenges and he’s bracing for another one. After winning the starting quarterback job last fall, Noyer missed this spring while recovering from shoulder surgery and will go into the fall fighting for the job again.

“I’m just itching to get back out there,” he said.

The only player remaining from CU’s surprising Pac-12 South title team in 2016, Noyer led the Buffs to another minor resurgence last year. In the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, Noyer helped CU go 4-2 and reach the Alamo Bowl for the second time in his career.

The Alamo Bowl would have been his final game at CU, but the NCAA granted all players an extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, a year after entering the transfer portal and being lured back with the promise of an opportunity to compete for a starting role, he’s doing his part to strengthen the quarterback room as he tries to win the job again.

In the fall, Noyer is expected to compete with freshman Brendon Lewis and sophomore JT Shrout, a transfer from Tennessee, for the starting job. Lewis and Shrout split first-team reps this spring with Noyer on the sidelines.

“I think that I’ve tried to kind of take on a coaching role, if you will, in a way,” Noyer said. “I’m a vet now and I’ve been a vet for a couple years now, which is crazy. I’m going on my sixth year, so I have a lot of experience on both sides of the ball.

BOULDER, CO – April 2021: Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Sam Noyer works out during spring football practices. (University of Colorado Athletics)

“I’m trying to help them as much as I can and get them up to speed with the offense. It’s just important for me to do whatever I can to help those guys in any way, whether that be on the field or off the field. I’m going to try and take those guys under my wing and help them as much as I can.”

When Noyer was a true freshman in 2016, senior starter Sefo Liufau and redshirt freshman Steven Montez did the same for him. Opportunities to play were rare, however.

After Liufau graduated as the Buffs’ all-time leading passer after the 2016 season, Montez took over and started every game from 2017-19. Noyer got into a few games in a backup role in 2017 and 2018 while Montez wound up breaking many of Liufau’s passing records.

Noyer moved to safety in August of 2019 under previous head coach Mel Tucker. Then, after going through his transfer options, came back last spring.

Exceptional out of the gates last fall, Noyer earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors but played nearly the entire season with a shoulder injury. He injured his shoulder in the second quarter of the season opener against UCLA.

“It just progressively got worse and worse as the year went on,” he said. “You saw me later in the year; I always had to cover it up.”

Noyer wasn’t as sharp in the second half of the season as he was in the first and he said, “I think (the injury) played a little bit of a role. I’m not one to make excuses or anything, but I do think that some throws that I can normally make when healthy, I think that they’re a lot tougher. In my mind, I’m thinking I can make those throws and my arm wouldn’t allow that. That was a difficult part but, like I said, no excuses.”

It just another challenge for Noyer, who has battled through many to put together a good college experience.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs throughout my career,” he said. “I’ve learned so much. I love to compete. I wouldn’t want it to go any other way. It’s been a crazy career.

“It’s been like I said, a lot of ups and downs, different experiences, but I’ve made lifelong friends. I’ve just had an opportunity to be in this beautiful state and with some pretty amazing guys and with different coaches and different coaching staffs. I’ve had an opportunity to learn a lot.”