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October 30, 2020


 Sam Noyer thought CU was in his rear-view mirror. Now he's Buffs' starter. (Photos: CU Athletics)  


Frankly, when I wrote about Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer nearly three weeks ago, in the early stages of pre-season camp, I didn't do so because I expected him to emerge as the starter for the Nov. 7 opener against UCLA.


I wasn't betting against him either.

Rather,  I really didn't pretend to know what was going on during the practices and meetings.


I just thought Noyer was an interesting story, considering a few months earlier, he had graduated from CU, was coming off playing safety for the Buffaloes in 2019, and was in the Portland area planning to move on to new challenges.


Also, I had been aware of him since 2016, when he was a highly touted recruit out of Beaverton High School, our old neighborhood when I was at the Oregonian. I watched as he remained below Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez on the CU depth chart before moving to the defensive side of the ball as a redshirt junior for what turned out to be Mel Tucker's only season as the Buffs' head coach.


Here's my October 12 look at Noyer, and it tells the story of how and why he changed course and returned to Boulder.


At the urging of Tucker's replacement, Karl Dorrell, and his offensive staff, Noyer decided to return to Boulder and give it one more shot -- at quarterback.   


The latest twist, and a somewhat surprising one, came Friday.


Hey guys, Dorrell told the Buffs, your starting quarterback is ...


Sam Noyer.  


Noyer got the nod ahead of redshirt junior Tyler Lytle and true freshman Brendon Lewis. The perception is that he -- or Lytle -- is destined to be the place-holder until Lewis steps in, but the fact is that the longer that's the case during this bizarre season, the better Noyer and/or Lytle are playing. And the best-case scenario is that Lewis isn't rushed and doesn't take over until 2021.   


"We did decide to announce to the team that Sam Noyer would be our quarterback starting against UCLA," Dorrell said after practice Friday. "Very, very close competition as you guys can imagine. It took a lot of thought going into his between Danny Langsdorf, myself and Darrin Chiaverini. Sam got the nod, but we were really impressed with what Tyler has done in this camp. We're going to coninue to bring Tyler along. . . He's going to get a chance to play some. We felt that the competition is that close, that those guys are going to contiue to grow as we move forward over the course of a season. We want to bring them both along." 



The Buffs were among the teams that had spring practice scheduled relatively late and had to scrub it altogether. Then they opened pre-season practices Oct. 9. So this was not a marathon competition, but with game-week preparation beginning in a few days, the decision had to be made. And give Dorrell credit for not indulging the silliness of hiding the choice until kickoff -- or as close to it as possible.   


Dorell said of the decision: "Sam, we just felt operationally, was a little bit better at this point of time, but just barely better. . . We want to get Tyler some time. We haven't determined how much that is yet."


Noyer said he "was excited and happy to hear" the news.



"Definitely high emotions," he said. "When I found out I celebrated for a couple of hours and then it was back to work. I didn't know I was going to be a Buff again. So there was a time I didn't think this was impossible. I'm just glad I made the decision to come back here. Things worked out and now I have to go prove it."


Of course, he had been hoping for this since deciding to return after the call from, among others, restored offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf.   


"Me and Chiaverini have had a great relationship throughout my four years here," Noyer said. "When I got the call that he wanted me to come back here, he told me the offense we were going to run and I feel like it did suit me really well. We have a lot of things going in that correlate to my style of play. I think that you're going to see that."  


He said he had been in communication with Liufau, in private business, and Montez, on the Washington Football Team's practice squad .   


"I've definitely talked to both those guys quite a bit," he said. "I've been talking to Sefo over quarantine. We're both Northwest kids. He reached out to me when he heard I was coming back to Colorado. He was excited. So I've been talking to him quite a bit. I haven't talked to Steven as much since we got into camp, but before camp, me and him were in contact a lot. Those are two great guys to kind of pick their brains a little more, now that I am the starter. I can go into it and try and learn, and ask them some questions about how they prepared and things like that."     


Opening night -- and Noyer's first collegiate start -- is eight days away.