Bu≠s’ O sharp in spring game

Mon­tez holds firm grip on start­ing QB job

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Brian How­ell

boul­der» It was hardly the start that Steven Mon­tez and the Colorado of­fense wanted for the an­nual spring game.

On the first play of the af­ter­noon at Fol­som Field, Mon­tez dropped back to pass and threw a deep ball to re­ceiver Devin Ross, only to have it picked off by safety Nick Fisher and re­turned the other way 39 yards.

“Uh,” Mon­tez sighed. “Ob­vi­ously you don’t want to come out here and throw picks. That’s what we don’t want to do as quar­ter­backs.”

For Mon­tez and the Buf­faloes, how­ever, it was how the rest of the day that went that left them feel­ing good about their quar­ter­backs as they put a cap on spring drills.

Play­ing in front of an es­ti­mated 6,250 fans, the Buffs went through an hour of drills be­fore clos­ing with an hour of sit­u­a­tional scrim­mage time.

“I saw a lot of en­ergy,” coach Mike MacIn­tyre said. “We ex­e­cuted a lot of things. There’s good and bad both sides; that’s re­ally what you want, to see if peo­ple com­pete and learn from dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. We got out of here with no in­juries, which was good, and I thought we had a com­pet­i­tive day out there.”

While the Buffs didn’t open up the play­book, and fo­cused a lot of their at­ten­tion on their younger play­ers, the af­ter­noon gave fans a chance to see the Buffs’ new crop of quar­ter­backs.

Led by Mon­tez, a sopho­more who started three games a year ago, the Buffs are as tal­ented at quar­ter­back as they’ve been in years. Red­shirt fresh­man Sam Noyer, true fresh­man Tyler Ly­tle and walk-on red­shirt fresh­man Casey Marks­berry have all im­pressed the staff this spring and had their good mo­ments Satur­day.

“There’s no ques­tion that the quar­ter­back po­si­tion has been up­graded the last two sea­sons,” co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dar­rin Chi­averini said.

Mon­tez brushed off a rough start to put to­gether a solid day that in­cluded a 22-yard touch­down strike to Shay Fields on a laser of a throw. Mon­tez also scored on a 1-yard touch­down run and, with the ex­cep­tion of miss­ing some deep throws, was sharp over­all. After miss­ing his first three throws, Mon­tez com­pleted seven of his last eight for 55 yards.

An­gling for the start­ing job that Sefo Li­u­fau held for the past four years, Mon­tez came into the spring atop the depth chart and leaves spring with a firm grip on the top spot.

“He’s do­ing some good things,” Chi­averini said. “We’ve seen his pro­gres­sion im­mensely grow from last year to this year.”

In ad­di­tion to play­ing well this spring, Mon­tez grew as a leader, as well, and shared the team’s John Wooten Award — given to the player with the most out­stand­ing work ethic — with cor­ner­back Isa­iah Oliver.

Noyer threw a 4-yard touch­down pass to Kabion Ento, led the of­fense to a field goal and com­pleted all six of his passes for 51 yards.

Ly­tle threw a touch­down pass to Johnny Huntley and also led the Buffs to a field goal. Over­all, he was 6-for-9 for 70 yards.

Even Marks­berry looked good and threw a touch­down pass to walk-on tight end Derek Cole­man; he fin­ished 5-for-9 for 65 yards.

Bryce Bobo, left, and An­thony Jul­misse bat­tle dur­ing drills Satur­day at CU’s spring foot­ball game in Boul­der. Cliff Grass­mick, Daily Cam­era

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