Last year, the Colorado Buffaloes football team had one of its best seasons in recent memory. The Buffs had the outstanding leadership and poise of senior quarterback Sefo Liufau, workhorse junior running back Phillip Lindsay and an outstanding defense that had three secondary players drafted in this year’s NFL draft.
Lindsay is back as the primary running back and the Buffaloes still have a collection of studs on the defensive side of the ball. Now Colorado has to build off of its stellar season last year and continue to shape an identity for themselves this upcoming season.
Sophomore quarterback Steven Montez believes he is the man to help accomplish that. The mentality that Montez brings to the field is different compared to the play of Liufau, and Montez is highly aware of that.
“I think Sefo was more of a humble guy,” Montez said. “I like to stay humble, but when I’m on the field, I think I’m the best player out there, so I think you have to play like that, especially as quarterback. And you have to believe you’re the best player on the field.”
Montez was also very vocal about how he enjoys talking a bit of trash to opposing players. He feels that his teammates feed off the energy that he brings to the practice field, and the cockiness that makes him the quarterback that he is.
“I think people dig that I’m cocky, especially people on the team . . . I think they like that,” Montez said.
The Buffaloes seem to be heading in the right direction. A quarterback who is confident in himself, his teammates and his preparation should mean good things for the upcoming season.
It is no secret that Liufau was a physical quarterback that enjoyed contact and taking on opposing linebackers and safeties. One thing that he did struggle with however, was his ability to stand in the pocket and consistently make accurate throws downfield. Too often, Liufau would become anxious in the pocket, panic and then roll out unnecessarily. This sometimes led to negative plays.
Montez, however, is more of the traditional pocket passer. He showed his potential last year in three impressive starts against USC, Oregon and Oregon State. In those three starts, Montez consistently stood in the pocket, waited for the play to develop, went through his progressions and threw an accurate and catchable ball — something that Liufau struggled with at times.
Montez also commented on the progress that he felt he made throughout spring practice.
“When spring practice started, I went in everyday with an open mind,” Montez said. “I went in well-rested, got good sleep every night and took notes in every meeting. I kinda treated it like it was my freshmen year again, just so I could relearn everything and make sure everything was cemented down in my mind. Hopefully [I can] get those reads down, be a lot more quick with them and see the field a lot more clearly when it comes game time.”
The quarterback isn’t the only Buff making improvements. There is one teammate that he says emerged from spring practice and made significant progress.
“The receiver that has made the most progress in the spring and has opened a lot of the coaches’ eyes, and a lot of players’ eyes, is Kabion Ento,” Montez said. “He’s done a lot of good things in the spring. He’s made a bunch of plays for us this spring and I think he’ll make a bunch plays for us in the fall as well.”
Ento is a senior wide receiver who played two years at East Central (Mississippi) Community College and then transferred to Colorado his junior year. Last year as a junior, he played in all 13 games with one start. In that time, he accumulated 174 yards receiving with two touchdowns.
Ento does not have much of a track sheet, but then again Montez has limited playing time as well. Montez to Ento might be a passing duo that Buff fans could get used to hearing.
The stage is set and it’s on Montez and the Buffaloes to blaze their own path for the upcoming 2017 football season.
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Yama Radtke at email@example.com.