HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Colorado still doesn’t know who will play quarterback when the offense hits the field on Sept. 3 against Northern Colorado.
Sophomore receiver Dimitri Stanley is confident in either option, though.
Returning freshman Brendon Lewis and sophomore JT Shrout, a transfer from Tennessee, shared reps with the first-team offense in the spring and have been preparing throughout summer workouts. Their competition will continue when the Buffs open preseason practice on Aug. 6.
“I think every practice they get better and better,” Stanley said during Pac-12 media day Tuesday at the W Hollywood Hotel. “They each have their own kind of abilities that helps out the team in different ways. Both are fantastic players that can do well for us on the field. From a leadership standpoint, I feel like they both step up in that category, as well.
“It’ll be interesting to see (who wins the job). I’m excited to see myself. But at the end of the day, whoever’s out there is going to be able to get the job done.”
CU head coach Karl Dorrell said the staff will look to settle the competition “somewhere in the middle of training camp.”
“It’s going to be a day-by-day test,” Dorrell said. “They’re going to be assessed on everything about how they run the offense, the mistakes they make, the plays that they do make, everything like that. We’re going to account for everything as we go through that process. But they know when it’s all said and done, they’re both all in about helping us be a factor in winning this season.”
Lewis and Shrout are battling to replace last year’s starter, Sam Noyer, who has transferred to Oregon State.
“We think they’re both very qualified, capable players,” Dorrell said.
“Both of those guys have great leadership qualities, as well, along with their physical talent. They have really good leadership qualities. All of our players offensively respond to both of them in a positive way. It’s not like they dislike one and like the other. Everybody on offense really thoroughly enjoys both of those guys under center.”
CU among vaccine leaders
Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said four teams in the conference have had at least 90% of football players vaccinated. CU, apparently, is one of them, as athletic director Rick George told BuffZone that the Buffs are “in the mid-90s.”
“I feel really good about it,” George said. “The school made it mandatory and our student-athletes have been very good about wanting to get the vaccine, and being vaccinated. All of our sports are trending at a really high level, so I know they want to compete and they want to play. If this enables them to be able to play without interruption, I think most of our student-athletes will get the vaccine.”
As for those who haven’t or won’t get vaccinated, George said, “It’s a personal decision. Some of them have real strong convictions about vaccinations and we’ll respect that. We’re encouraging everybody to get the vaccination but if they make the decision not to that’s their decision and I know that campus has some exemptions that student-athletes will fall under, just like a normal student.”
Buffs earn preseason honors
In a vote by media, CU running back Jarek Broussard and linebacker Nate Landman were named to the preseason All-Pac-12 first team.
Broussard is the reigning Pac-12 offensive player of the year, while Landman has earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors twice in his career.
Defensive lineman Terrance Lang and cornerback Mekhi Blackmon were voted to the second team, while three Buffs — safety Isaiah Lewis, linebacker Carson Wells and receiver Dimitri Stanley — earned honorable mention by receiving at least four votes.
Landman on another watch list
Landman was named Tuesday to the preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is presented annually to the top defensive player in the country by the Football Writers Association of America.
Landman was previously named to the watch lists for the Bednarik Award and Butkus Award.
“It’s cool, but it’s a watch list,” Landman said. “You can put anybody on the watch list. It’s all cool, but I’m not focused on it at all.”
In 2020, Landman was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award but suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon during the regular-season finale against Utah on Dec. 11.
On hand for media day, Landman was asked how close he is to 100% healthy.
“I’m close,” he said. “You’ll have to see once game one rolls around.”
Dorrell said the staff expects Landman to be 100% healthy by the middle of August.
“He is way ahead of schedule,” Dorrell said. “If you know Nate in terms of how he plays, he presses the envelope on everything he does.
“He’s going to be ready to play, there’s no question in my mind.”