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Most Important Players: #2 Steven Montez

Montez enters his third year as starter.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, you already know how important Steven Montez is. He’s the fifth-year senior, third-year starter who has razzled and dazzled in the past, but has yet to fulfill all his potential. Montez is Montez, and what we know is probably what we get, but if there is a chance he does tap into that potential a little more, the Colorado Buffaloes would benefit immensely.

Good Montez can make every throw you ask of him, as he has both accuracy and a cannon arm. On the game-winning score against Nebraska, Laviska makes a terrific catch in double coverage, but look at how beautiful this ball was. That’s an absurd pass that Montez routinely makes.

He’s also mobile as you could ask a 6’5, 230-lbs. quarterback to be. He’s a superb scrambler when it does right, as he can break a tackle, skirt left and throw a 20-yard dime without his feet set. But that starts to veer into Bad Montez, where Montez tries to do too much and makes mistakes.

Bad Montez has also been characterized by happy feet and tunnel vision, but both should improve in 2019. The offensive line will be much better this year, especially in the passing game with Arlington Hambright and William Sherman at tackle. As long as the line stays healthy — which is a big assumption — he will have more time to go through his progressions.

As for Montez’s tunnel vision, it’s easy to focus on Viska because he’s arguably the best receiver in the nation, but the Buffs have emphasized balance — both in passing targets and running the ball more. Running the ball more should take some pressure off of Montez, as he doesn’t have to do everything on scoring drives. Using tight ends in the passing game should help more, too, as he will have safety blankets should trouble arise.

It’s unlikely Montez will reach his ceiling while in Boulder. It hasn’t helped that he’s had three QB coaches in three years, has had to learn three different offensive schemes and his offensive lines have been injury plagued. But Montez does need to make tangible improvements for the Buffs to bowl.