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October 12, 2020


 Sam Noyer at the Buffs' Monday practice, the fourth of the pre-season. (CU Athletics.)  


In February 2016, at the Portand area's Beaverton High (go to the Nike World Headquarters and turn right), it took Beavers football coach Bob Boyer three tries to get quarterback Sam Noyer's national letter of intent FAXed to the University of Colorado football office.

Then Buffs coaches connected on a speakerphone call with Noyer.

They sang the CU fight song for him.

His signing was much-touted. He also had made visits, official and unofficial, to Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, and Boise State.


But as it turned out, at CU he was destined to be behind Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez on the Buffs' depth chart through 2018. In nine games as Montez's backup in 2017 and 2018, he was a combined 21-for-41 for 199 yards. Then with Montez headed into his senior season as the unchallenged starter, the Mel Tucker staff -- with Noyer's approval -- switched Noyer to safety for 2019, when he played four games listed as a redshirt junior. 

Then he was gone.

Last December, Noyer explored the possibility of entering the transfer portal to perhaps end up in another program and immediately be eligible as a graduate student. (It's unclear whether he ever actually entered the portal or just said he intended to.)


As a CU grad, he thought Boulder was in the rear view mirror, even if it was in a scenic look back as he neared the US 36 Overlook.


"I was out of here," Noyer said after the Buffaloes' Monday practice, in the early stages of their preparations for the Nov. 7 opener against UCLA. "I'd moved out and I was back home in Oregon. I had some situations lined up for me. And when I got the call from Coach (Darrin) Chiaverini and coach (Danny) Langsdorf, it was a perfect opportunity for me to come back here ... I was gone, though. I'd moved out of Boulder and graduated and everything, so I didn't expect to come back. If you would have told me I would come back here for this last season, I would have said that's just crazy."


In the wake of Tucker's back-door exit and Karl Dorrell's hiring 12 days later, Chiaverini was promoted back to offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach and the well-traveled Langsdorf was hired as passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Among Langsdorf's recent stops were Oregon, Oregon State and Nebraska, and he had seen Noyer play for the Beaverton Beavers during his coaching stay in Lincoln.


So Chiaverini and Langsdorf put their heads together, looked over the roster and depth chart -- redshirt sophomore Blake Stenstrom had announced his intention to transfer, too -- and said: What the hell, let's give Noyer a call. And ask him if he's interested in being a quarterback again.   


This is no guaranteed Disney plot. That's not why I'm writing this. It's just interesting that Noyer is back, battling with redshirt junior Tyler Lytle for the No. 1 job. True freshman Brendon Lewis is in the wings, getting limited work but also obviously destined to be the starter at some point -- whether this season or next. My guess? In this seven-game, delayed Pac-12 seasons, Noyer and / or Lytle likely will be placeholders. 


If the starter is Noyer, and he helps get the Buffs through the bizarre transitional season after Dorrell's late hiring and no spring ball, he would be a nice story. 


Even if there won't be any fans in the stands to cheer him -- and the other seniors -- on Senior Day. 


This is a just-get-through it season for the Buffs.


And it might be with a starting quarterback getting used to being back on the offensive side of the ball.


"I feel like I've always been a quarterback," Noyer said. "Last year obviously happened. It was Coach Tucker's and my decision, but at the same time my heart has always been at quarterback. That's where I feel the most comfortable.  I don't really see it as a transition. ... It's been a good first couple of days."


Langsdorf emphasized the sooner one quarterback steps up, the better, with the opener less than four  weeks away.


"We've really put Tyler and Sam in kind of a really good competition mode," he said. "They've been splitting reps and alterating with 1s and 2s, every day and every period. It's a real even battle that way. Until we get into some real scrapping type of deals, we're going to continue to evaluate everything."


Noyer said this pre-season camp -- at least so far -- has had a completely different feeling than his previous ones as a quarterback.


"You guys know in previous years with both Sefo and Steven, it hasn't really been a true competition," Noyer said. "Now that I get the true opportunity to compete and really compete for the starting job, I'm getting the 1 reps, I think that's huge. That's all I wanted from the start. I wanted an opportunity. Now I just have to take advantage of it. There's going to be competition for however long. . . I couldn't ask for anything more, so it's good."      


He struggled in his limited duty at quarterback as Montez's backup.  


"Those situations weren't the best," he said. "For me, if I get this job, it'll be nice to have the ability to work with the 1s throughout the entire week of practice preparing for UCLA and the teams we're playing. I think having that preparation with the 1s and getting my timing down, that will help a lot going into the game. I've learned from those situations and I'm going to continue to learn from this situation."


Monday's practice was the fourth of the Buffs' 24 in advance of the UCLA game. Tuesday's will be the first in full pads and the Buffs will have a closed scrimmage on Saturday. By then, the QB race might start coming into focus.   



TYLER LYTLE, 6-5, 220, Junior, Redondo Beach, Calif. (Servite High)

SAM NOYER, 6-4, 220, Senior, Beaverton, Ore. (Beaverton High)

BRENDON LEWIS, 6-2, 225, Freshman, Melissa, Texas (Melissa High)