Spring football practices concluded for the Colorado football program on Saturday with the playing of the annual spring game. Starting quarterback Steven Montez had his ups and downs with three total touchdowns and a pair of interceptions thrown in the scrimmage.
Montez led six and a half drives during the game, ending his day going 8-of-15 for 90 yards and two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He was also the leading rusher in the scrimmage with three carries for 43 yards. Co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini shrugged off the two picks by Montez after the game in a postgame interview.
“That’s going to happen, especially if we’re calling stuff that’s aggressive, it’s going to happen,” Chiaverini said. “What I like about him is he comes right back. It doesn’t bother him. Some guys get shy and won’t let it go. He comes right back in that two-minute drill and pulls the ball and runs for 60 yards. I like the fact that the kid loves to play football. That’s something you can’t teach kids. He loves to play, he loves to compete.”
Montez completed 609.5 percent of his passes in 2017 for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
Colorado is coming off a 5-7 season, a year removed from playing for the Pac-12 championship in 2016. Colorado ended the 2017 season on a three-game losing streak to prevent the Buffs from being able to play in a bowl game at the end of the year.
Colorado estimates a total of about 4,500 fans attended the live scrimmage.
The Mountain West has released the conference’s full 2018 football schedule and confirmed a few additional kickoff times as well on Thursday.
Per a release, the slate for the league includes a full 97 football games during the upcoming season — 48 of which are conference matchups. The Mountain West title game will take place once again on Saturday, December 1st.
The league once again has a solid non-conference football slate and includes matchups against Arizona State, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Washington State and Wisconsin among others. In terms of conference play, some of the big dates to circle include Oct. 6th when San Diego State travels to reigning champion Boise State, a rematch of the 2017 MWC title game between the Broncos and Fresno State on Nov. 10th and a key game between the Aztecs and division champ Fresno State on Nov. 17th.
Also announced were two previously unconfirmed kickoff times, mostly centered on Colorado State. The Rams annual ‘Rocky Mountain Showdown against Colorado was shifted to Friday, Aug. 31 to open the season. The game will still take place at Sports Authority Field in Denver and will kick off at 7:30 p.m. MT on CBS Sports Network. Additionally, CSU’s game divisional game at Boise State will kick off at 7 p.m. MT on Friday, Oct. 19 and be televised on ESPN2.
You can find a listing of every game under the Mountain West banner here. Kickoff times for many of the other games will be announced at a later date and it’s possible that TV partners ESPN and CBS Sports Network will shift other games to Thursday or Friday as well.
As it turns out, Nu’umoto Falo‘s forced departure from the Colorado football program wasn’t a permanent one.
In July of last year, Falo was dismissed from the Buffaloes for what the school described as an unspecified violation of team rules. Nearly six months later, Mike MacIntyre, the Boulder Daily Camera reported, confirmed that the linebacker has been reinstated to the team and is enrolled back in classes at the university.
According to the Daily Camera, Falo’s dismissal stemmed from a failed drug test. That was at least his second off-field situation in a little over a year for the player.
In late April of 2016, Falo (pictured, No. 42) and then-Buffs running back Dino Gordon were arrested in connection to an alleged dorm-room theft. The duo had been accused of stealing prescription drugs, laptops, video games and other electronics from a dorm room earlier that month.
Falo, who played in seven games as a true freshman in 2015, was suspended for the first three games of the 2016 season because of the incident. After returning, the then-true sophomore played in the final 11 games of the year. As a backup, he was credited with 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
A rising junior, Falo will be expected to compete for a starting job beginning with spring practice the month after next.
A new record has been set, although it’s not one anyone is celebrating.
The Heisman Trophy of the late Colorado running back Rashaan Salaam has been sold at an auction for a record price of $399,608. That number beats out the previous record held by Bruce Smith, a 1941 winner out of Minnesota, whose stiffarm trophy sold for $395,240 in 2005. The winner of Saturday’s auction is not immediately known.
Salaam passed away in 2016 in a death that was ruled as a suicide. He was 42. His Heisman was put up for auction last month, with a target price of $300,000. CTE is believed to be a motivator in his suicide, and the record funds will be used to contribute to CTE research.
How Salaam’s trophy went up for auction in the first place is a point of considerable controversy. The official story is that Salaam sold his trophy in 2014 to a memorabilia collector — winners are officially prohibited from selling their trophies, though who’s going to stop them? — who sold it to Denver real estate investor Tyler Tysdal, who put it up for Saturday’s auction and says he has a signed letter of authenticity from the winner himself and an invoice. However, Salaam’s mother believes it was stolen.
“When we went to Boulder to bury Rashaan … I didn’t see it in his apartment,” Khalada said. “I thought it was in a restaurant or something. I thought it would pop up,” Khalada Salaam told CBS Sports. “It didn’t pop up.”
Salaam won the 1994 Heisman as a junior running back for Colorado. He rushed for 2,055 yards and 24 touchdowns while helping the Buffaloes finish 10-1 with a No. 4 final ranking. He beat out Penn State running back Ki-Jana Carter, Alcorn State quarterback Steve McNair and Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins for the honor.
Salaam entered the NFL draft in 1995, where he was selected in the first round by the Chicago Bears.
A familiar face has returned to the Colorado coaching staff.
Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this week, CU confirmed that Mike MacIntyre has hired Ashley Ambrose as the Buffaloes’ new cornerbacks coach. Ambrose spent the 2008-10 seasons with the Buffaloes, first as a defensive assistant and then, after a very brief stint as wide receivers coach, he took over CU’s defensive backs.
“We’re really excited about Ashley Ambrose coming to the University of Colorado, he brings great expertise for our corners that he’ll be coaching,” MacIntyre said in a statement. “He was here before, loved it then and I am glad to have him back now. Not only does he bring great coaching experience over the last few years, but he also brings phenomenal playing experience from being in the NFL, so he’ll add a lot to our secondary.”
Then past two seasons, Ambrose was the defensive backs coach at Boise State. He’s also had collegiate stops at Cal (2011-12), Idaho (2014), Texas State (2015).
Ambrose, a second-round pick in the 1992 NFL draft, spent 13 seasons at that level of football.