Dorrell Names Noyer As Buffs' Starting QB
BOULDER — Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell announced Friday that senior Sam Noyer will be the Buffaloes' starting quarterback Nov. 7 when CU opens the season against UCLA at Folsom Field.
Noyer won what Dorrell called a "very, very close" competition with junior Tyler Lytle in training camp.
"It wasn't like Sam was light years ahead of Tyler," Dorrell said. "It was really close. We went with Sam mainly because he's able to function a little more seamlessly with the offense. Tyler was closely second on that, but that was the determining factor."
Neither Noyer nor Lytle have a wealth of game experience at the position. Both actually have the same amount of time at the spot at Colorado, as Noyer spent last season playing safety when then-head coach Mel Tucker asked him to make the move to give CU more depth on the back end of the defense.
Noyer has appeared in eight games at quarterback for Colorado, with 21 completions in 41 attempts for 179 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. His last appearance at quarterback came in 2018 in the 11th game of the season against Utah, when he relieved starter Steven Montez and completed four of six attempts.
He then made the move to safety last season, appearing in four games on defense and 11 on special teams.
Lytle has appeared in seven games at quarterback at Colorado, with four completions in six pass attempts for 55 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. His last appearance came last year at Washington State.
Dorrell said evaluation of the competition was made even more difficult by the circumstances presented by the coronavirus pandemic. CU did not have a spring ball session and the Buffs' summer workouts were greatly limited.
Thus, Dorrell and his staff had barely three weeks of training camp to complete their evaluation.
"We had only a short period of time," Dorrell said. "Not having spring ball and not having the chance to see growth from spring through training camp was a challenging aspect. We couldn't see the areas you normally see. We had to make a decision off of a few weeks of practice."
While neither has much playing experience, Noyer did get a little more time on the field last year, and has also had more snaps as a quarterback in college. That, Dorrell said, could have been a factor in Noyer seeming to be slightly more comfortable operating the offense in camp.
"It's hard to say," Dorrell said. "But Sam has been here a while, he is a little older, which is helpful, and just that college game experience — even though it might not be a lot — might have been a factor in terms of why he was a little above where Tyler was."
But Dorrell also stressed that they have plenty of confidence in Lytle, and it's very possible he could see some playing time this season.
"Tyler's going to be ready to play," Dorrell said. "We told him that … We feel Tyler has tremendous, tremendous upside. We're going to continue to bring him along as we go forward this season."
Noyer will be the 51st starting quarterback for the Buffs since 1959, but just the third senior known to make his debut in his final season. The last senior to make his starting debut was Robert Hodge, against USC in 2002.
It will also be another turn in what has proven to be an unlikely road for the Beaverton (Ore.) prep product.
A year ago, he was playing safety and special teams for the Buffs after making the position switch. After earning his degree in the fall, he put his name in the transfer portal and moved back home to Oregon.
But when Dorrell was named CU's head coach in late February, his new quarterbacks coach, Danny Langsdorf, called Noyer. Langsdorf had recruited Noyer when the CU assistant was at Nebraska and he asked Noyer if he might be interested in returning.
Noyer agreed, and after spring ball was canceled, he returned to campus with the rest of CU's student-athletes in mid-June to begin summer workouts.