Buffs QB Lewis Calm, Cool Ahead Of First Collegiate Start
BOULDER — Nervous?
If Colorado quarterback Brendon Lewis is having an inordinate case of the butterflies ahead of his first collegiate start, the Buffaloes' freshman isn't showing it.
Not even head coach Karl Dorrell has seen anything resembling an excess of nerves from his QB1 ahead of Friday's 7 p.m. season opener against Northern Colorado at Folsom Field (Pac-12 Networks).
"When he played in the Texas game (Alamo Bowl), he really didn't change his demeanor," Dorrell said of Lewis' collegiate debut last December. "He's one of those guys who really relishes playing in the moment … That's kind of his personality. He has a tremendous amount of confidence in himself. He knows he has some unique qualities that make him a special player. I don't think he's going to look at this as anything significant other than it's his first game starting."
Lewis' Alamo Bowl appearance was indeed one of the few bright spots for the Buffs in what was otherwise a long evening in a 55-23 loss to the Longhorns. In his first game as a Buff, he came on in a relief role to complete 6-of-10 pass attempts for 95 yards while also rushing nine times for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Now, he will take the starting reins for the first time in his college career against the Buffs. He was engaged in a tight battle with sophomore J.T Shrout for the first couple weeks of training camp before winning the job by default when Shrout suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Lewis is no doubt excited about the opportunity. He will be playing in front of an actual crowd at Folsom and will have the chance to run onto the field behind Buffs mascot Ralphie VI, who will also be making her starting debut.
"I've been looking forward to it all summer," Lewis said. "I've been getting prepared. I'm just super excited."
But excitement and nerves are not the same thing.
"I just try to stay as calm as possible when I go in the game," Lewis said. "It's just another day. Just go out there and do me."
Before Shrout's injury, the two were sharing practice reps with the No. 1 offense. But for the last couple of weeks, Lewis has been taking virtually all the snaps with the top group, something he believes has helped speed up his development.
"It was very beneficial," Lewis said. "I feel like I've learned more from getting all the reps and not just half. I've done a pretty good job in terms of learning the playbook. I know what to do when I get certain looks and all that."
Dorrell has stressed time and again that Lewis is a freshman and there will be some freshman moments. But he and his staff have also done their best to help speed up the decision-making process, which includes being prudent when it comes to Lewis protecting his body and avoiding unnecessary risks.
"They're all trying to relate to me, don't try to hurdle guys or jump over dudes," Lewis said. "Slide, get down, get out of bounds. Try not to take too many hits like Sam (Noyer) did last year."
While there may be some freshman moments ahead for Lewis, Dorrell is also confident there will be his share of big plays.
"He's one of those guys that feels very confident that if the play is a bad play, he has the ability to make it a good play," Dorrell said. "That's one of those intangibles that not most people have, but he's able to do it. He knows that is kind of the ace in his pocket. I know he's going to play hard, he's going to try to make great decisions, engineer our offense and manage it. I'm excited to watch him play."