Keeler: Nate Landman ready to prove CU Buffs were no 2020 football fluke. And that Cinderella does sequels.

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BOULDER — If you tin navigate an F-150 astir BoCo with a walking boot, Nate Landman figures, wherefore can’t you tally with Texas A&M?

“I really drove with the footwear on,” the CU Buffs’ prima linebacker said Thursday with a puckish grin. “Which I was told not to do, but I did it anyway. It’s tough. Sometimes you’d deed the brake and the state astatine the aforesaid time.”

Landman’s steering the CU bandwagon these days, and contempt the Buffs coming disconnected a COVID-trimmed 4-2 play successful 2020 and the program’s 2nd vessel berth successful 13 years, there’s inactive plentifulness of country successful the cabin.

“Those preseason rankings and each that stuff, it’s conscionable connected paper,” Landman told The Post aft CU wrapped up its archetypal signifier of preseason camp. “And I deliberation adjacent the teams that are perceived to beryllium the apical teams person to beryllium it, excessively … I deliberation it’s a ‘prove-it’ twelvemonth each year.”

Yeah, but for CU, this year, that full prove-it hook sorta fits. The Buffs shocked and charmed america each past autumn with that 4-0 commencement and a apical 25 ranking, Cinderella successful cleats, a ray of anticipation that broke done the clouds of COVID-19.

The Buffs ran the shot similar it was 1993 each implicit again. Until Landman tore his close Achilles tendon successful the frigid location finale against the Utes, they’d managed to halt the run, too.

Sure, the Alamo Bowl was a five-alarm dumpster fire. But that didn’t alteration the information that the roadworthy to San Antonio was made adjacent much fun due to the fact that cipher extracurricular of Colorado Avenue saw them coming.

Everybody sees them now. The 2021 creation paper features 8 schools that went to bowls successful 2019, highlighted by a Week 2 tussle astatine Mile High with the Aggies, who instrumentality 15 starters, 9 connected defense, from a clump that should’ve been picked for the College Football Playoff and are inactive steaming astir it.

The regular play opens with Ed McCaffrey and his UNC Bears nether the lights astatine Folsom Field and ends astatine Utah connected Black Friday. In between, the Buffs get 5 dates astatine home, including a sneaky-tough sojourn from P.J. Fleck’s Minnesota Golden Gophers, who present routinely punch Nebraska successful the rima alternatively of the different mode around.

Meanwhile, Sam Noyer and his Tebowesque attack to backmost — battering ram first, passer 2nd — transferred to Oregon State. Super freshman Brendon Lewis is present a sophomore with the wrong way for Noyer’s aged spot, truthful agelong arsenic helium tin clasp disconnected erstwhile Tennessee backmost J.T. Shrout.

The oddsmakers person mostly pegged CU’s over-under for victories astatine 4.5, much oregon little daring the Buffs to bash it again. And based connected the grin Karl Dorrell was giving to the media heathens connected Thursday aft practice, they conscionable might.

“Man, I was truly pleased,” Dorrell said. “I thought (Thursday’s) signifier — it proved to maine that they were doing immoderate enactment implicit the summer, and I was really, truly pleased with our effort. I thought our execution was night-and-day antithetic than wherever it was erstwhile we archetypal started past twelvemonth successful October. It is decidedly a amended shot squad than we had a twelvemonth ago.”

If Landman can prime up wherever helium near off, it could beryllium a amended defense, too. Former Oklahoma linebacker Robert Barnes, 1 of astir a twelve transfers expected to ace the last two-deep, is slated to articulation Landman and moving mate Carson Wells successful what ought to beryllium 1 of the much underrated linebacking cadres successful the Pac-12.

“I deliberation the happening that helped maine (mentally) was that I had different chance,” said Landman, who would person tested his banal the 2021 NFL Draft were it not for his Achilles. “A batch of seniors don’t person that other year, that other chance.”

He’s got different accidental to beryllium that helium tin run. That helium tin cut. That helium tin close. That 2020 Landman, the 1 who chased down thing successful his zip codification 9 months ago, wasn’t a fluke. And that the 2020 Buffs weren’t, either.

“We emotion wherever we’re at,” Landman said. “We’re the lone ones who cognize what this programme is and what this programme is going to be. And I’m excited to amusement everybody.”

Buckle up, kids. Does Cinderella bash sequels?

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