Buf­faloes red­shirt sopho­more QB Steven Mon­tez em­brac­ing lead role

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Brian Howell

BOUL­DER» As a sub­sti­tute starter last sea­son, Steven Mon­tez was good enough to make Colorado foot­ball fans ex­cited for the fu­ture.

That fu­ture is now here, and Mon­tez is no longer a sub­sti­tute.

The red­shirt sopho­more quar­ter­back has en­tered CU’s pre­sea­son camp — which be­gan Sat­ur­day — with the task of fig­ur­ing out how to han­dle the start­ing job on a full-time ba­sis.

“I’ve al­ways kind of worked hard in the off­sea­son,” Mon­tez said Sun­day. “I worked es­pe­cially hard this off­sea­son just be­cause I have all that ex­tra (pres­sure to be the starter) on me. So that was the rea­son I had to work ex­tremely hard with di­et­ing and ex­tra run­ning and do­ing all the ex­tra stuff to slim down.

“Now that I’m there, I’m kind of ap­proach­ing fall camp how I ap­proach every fall camp.”

The ap­proach — “Just come in and com­pete and try to play the best foot­ball I pos­si­bly can for my team and hope­fully we can get bet­ter as a unit,” he said — may not be any dif­fer­ent for Mon­tez, but this is cer­tainly a dif­fer­ent sea­son for the 6-foot-5, 225-pound quar­ter­back.

For the first time since 2014, when he was a se­nior at Del Valle High School in El Paso, Mon­tez is ex­pected to be in a start­ing role.

Hav­ing spent the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons as an un­der­study to Sefo Li­u­fau — now with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers — Mon­tez’s time has ar­rived.

“He’s al­ways been a quar­ter­back grow­ing up. His dad (Al­fred) was a quar­ter­back,” CU coach Mike MacIn­tyre said. “He’s re­ally been groomed.

“He has good phys­i­cal at­tributes, he’s very smart, has a good per­son­al­ity. He’s just got to be able to han­dle the grind every day of be­ing pre­pared, be­ing ready to play; have a bad se­ries and go back out there and don’t flinch; hav­ing a bad game and be­ing able to bounce back.”

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