QB: Sam Noyer, Tyler Lytle, Brendon Lewis, Mike Chandler
That’s right, baby, we’re ending with quarterbacks. The most important people on the football field, no matter who starts, are always going to be the signal callers. For the first time in what feels like decades, the Colorado Buffaloes do not have a sure starter at the spot. Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez held those spots from 2013 - 2019. That is a lot of consistency at an inconsistent time for the Buffs. Now, head coach Karl Dorrell has the unenviable task of rebuilding the QB room, albeit with some familiar faces. After no spring camp and a truncated fall camp, that has led to some tough calls. Dorrell, offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini and new QB coach Danny Langsdorf huddled together and decided to roll with the guy that no one expected a few months ago - Sam Noyer.
You know why no one expected him? He wasn’t on the team! Sam Noyer, after being transitioned to safety in 2019, was going to use his remaining eligibility on being a QB somewhere else. When Mel Tucker left, Karl Dorrell was hired, and Blake Stenstrom left the QB room, the lay of the land shifted. Dorrell and Langsdorf got Noyer back to Boulder and they gave him a legit shot at the QB job. They were looking with fresh eyes and they wanted to know what they had in the QB room. As it turns out, they liked what they saw.
Sam Noyer brings a little bit more juice to the QB position. At 6’4 and over 210 pounds, he’s a big guy, but he moves pretty quickly. Noyer is comfortable throwing on the run, from what we’ve seen, so expect him to get out in the open field quite a bit. The problem with projecting what Noyer will look is that we have almost no idea what he will look like. He has thrown less than 50 college passes and he has thrown almost none as a starter. He came in during blowouts and did not perform well, but that’s also a tough spot. It’s also hard to know what Noyer will look like in this offense. If this is a more dink and dunk offense, his relatively weaker arm won’t be a problem. If this offense requires some downfield looking, that might be a shortcoming. All in all, Noyer is a pretty new product, despite being in Boulder for 4 years. I would expect someone who keeps the game as simple as possible. Short throws, using the tight and running backs, and hopefully he plays safely (NOT safety).
Behind Noyer on the depth chart is Tyler Lytle. Lytle was the presumed favorite for many. He’s 6’5, looks like a natural quarterback, and has a little bit of athleticism. He also hasn’t looked great in the limited action that we have seen him, but similar to Noyer, those are tough spots. Tyler Lytle is a little less mobile, but he is more polished from a passing standpoint. Many assumed because of the change in offense, he also might be better suited for the offense. However, I don’t think that’s the case necessarily. We will still see plenty of Lytle, and the competition was close throughout all of fall camp. I’m not excited at all about the prospect of splitting quarterbacks, but this season is weird enough as it is. The coaches probably need as much evidence as possible before they commit hard to one quarterback.
The last name on this list is probably the most exciting. Brendon Lewis comes in with the most hype for a true freshman QB since... Craig Ochs? Mayyyyybe Sefo? Either way, Lewis was expected to commit very early for the starting job. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans. After arriving early in Boulder, Brendon Lewis was denied a spring practice session, and this abbreviated Fall practice really hamstrung his chances to start. For now, it looks like this is a learning year for Brendon Lewis, which SUCKS. Ralphie Report is solidly team Brendon, and I’d rather fail young and than fail old (if those are the two options). However, I’d still expect to see Brendon at some point this year, and an extra year of eligibility is always appreciated, no matter how it comes.
Overall, Sam Noyer winning was a surprise, but it doesn’t have to be a disappointment. Noyer succeeding at the job would be a great story, and by all accounts, everyone loves the guy. Sam Noyer really hasn’t shown much, which means he is a mystery to opposing defenses. He has a great cast of talent around him, and the run game will be a nice crutch to lean on, but this position is definitely the biggest question mark of 2020.