Brendon Lewis, JT Shrout giving CU Buffs coach Karl Dorrell problems at quarterback. The good kind of problem.
BOULDER — If you harbored any doubts about the kid’s arm, Brendon Lewis stomped ‘em, on his second drive, like a kaiju on caffeine.
On third-and-short, the CU freshman took two steps back in the shotgun and fired a dart to Dimitri Stanley. A rope, threaded between two defenders, that went for a 10-yard gain.
“I thought I really progressed from last year with my accuracy,” Lewis said after the Buffs’ spring showcase Friday morning, the first CU football event open to the general public in 16 months, “and (with) getting the offense down. … Throughout the spring, you could tell we were getting better and better each day. I feel really confident coming into the summer.”
Buffs fans should feel the same. After weeks of sandbagging and shrugs from coach Karl Dorrell, an offensive sensei going into his fourth decade of teaching, those CU quarterbacks who supposedly couldn’t hold a candle to their defensive teammates this April all had moments Friday.
Lewis, the lone star of that Alamo Bowl stinker, completed eight of nine throws. Tennessee Vols transfer J.T. Shrout, the portal guy, made good on 9-of-13 attempts for a team-high 77 yards and appeared poised throughout.
Walk-on Grant Ciccarone went 3-for-3 and spearheaded the first touchdown drive of the day. Neither of the early-entry freshmen, Drew Carter (1-for-1) and former Durango standout Jordan Woolverton (1-of-2), teens who should be gearing up for their respective proms right now, looked out of their respective depths.
“It’s a great problem to have,” Dorrell said Friday. “I’d rather have three or four guys that are all close in levels of play, really battling it out, because I know that’s going to (propel) them to be as good as they can be in terms of their performance under that type of pressure.”
There were caveats, of course. Big ones. Spring game. No full contact. No Sam Noyer at quarterback, no Jarek Broussard at tailback, no Nate Landman at linebacker. CU’s offensive line, at present, is more banged up than your uncle’s ’68 Bonneville.
When it comes to football and April, college or pro, you pre-judge at your peril. Long way to go. And, in a new wrinkle, we’ve got at least another month of portal shenanigans — college football free-agency — yet to come. Everybody’s roster is in pencil until Independence Day.
So even if we don’t know how many of these guys Dorrell is going to have at his disposal come August, at least we know he’s got options. Good ones. And that Noyer, who shocked us all by leading CU to a 4-0 start late last fall with one viable shoulder, is going to have his work cut out for him.
Particularly where Lewis is concerned. No. 12 picked right back up where he left off in San Antonio, completing his first seven throws on the day. The first misfire of the showcase came on a toss up the right boundary that might have been reviewed and overturned in a regular-season game. Or not, depending on who happens to be pushing the buttons over at Pac-12 HQ at the time.
Some of the passes still wobble, granted. The touch comes and goes. One of Lewis’ screen passes required wideout La’Vontae Shenault to make a sweet, one-handed grab, the lob forcing him to extend awkwardly before zipping for a 22-yard gain.
Shrout, meanwhile, threw with authority for a newbie. The topper came late, from the 3-yard line, when No. 7 fired to the back left corner of the end zone while dropping back, under pressure, from the right hash. A throw that looked like a blind prayer upon its release landed in the arms of a wide-open Alec Pell.
“That’s a good problem to have,” Dorrell said. “I’d rather have that scenario that have to pick one or two guys and say, ‘That’s all that we have.’ (This) is a good problem to have.”
Lewis wore a gold jersey Friday, which meant he couldn’t be tackled. Not that he thinks you can stop him once contact goes live in a few months.
“Some of those sacks (Friday) were not sacks,” the CU quarterback asserted. “The defensive players admitted to me that they weren’t sacks.
“If you ask anyone on the team, I probably have the best jukes on the team besides (Jarek Broussard).”
Again, good problem to have. The best, come to think of it.