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Dorrell To Take More Hands-On Approach With Buffs Offense

Sep 20, 2021

BOULDER — Colorado coach Karl Dorrell didn't bring a magic wand to his weekly press conference Monday and erase last weekend's 30-0 loss to Minnesota.

Neither did Dorrell announce any major shakeups in his staff, depth chart or coaching responsibilities.

Rather, Dorrell and his Buffaloes simply returned to work Monday morning to begin their preparations for Saturday's 8:30 p.m. (MT) matchup in Tempe, Ariz., with Arizona State (ESPNU).

Still, Dorrell did note there would be some changes in the Buffaloes' operations this week, as well as what might be termed a "refocus" on some offensive priorities.

Some noteworthy developments:

— Dorrell said he will begin taking a more hands-on approach with the offense, which produced some historically poor numbers in the loss to the Gophers.

"I'm going to show my face in the offensive room a little bit more now," he said. "I'n going to try to help the process and be a helping hand to how that whole situation works. We think we're off to a good start.

Virtually all of Dorrell's career has been spent on the offensive side of the ball, serving as either wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator at his coaching stops. 

But Dorrell stressed that doesn't mean he will shake up gameday duties for his staff.

"It will not affect the gameday operation," Dorrell said. "But I've been in a number of systems in my career and I've seen a lot of football. I have a feel of what I think our team can be better at … I'm just overseeing it, making sure we're doing a systematic approach."

— The Buffs will make sure backup quarterback Drew Carter gets more repetitions in practice. 

Carter came on in relief of starter Brendon Lewis last week, playing 12 offensive snaps. He actually ended up as CU's leading rusher (two carries for 9 yards) and he completed four of eight pass attempts for 27 yards, including CU's longest play of the day — a 12-yard completion to Chase Penry.

"He did show a glimpse of some positive things so we're going to continue to bring his reps along," Dorrell said. "We're going to get him ready to possibly be in there and get a chance to play. We need to bring both these guys along."

Still, it's doubtful that the Buffs will make a starting quarterback change. Dorrell stressed that Lewis' performance against the Gophers — 8-for-16 for 55 yard — could be attributed to a number of factors.

"Sometimes we're not open, sometimes there's a breakdown in protection, sometimes he did miss the read," Dorrell said. "It's kind of all-encompassing right now. But  unfortunately he's the one that has the microscope on him and and that's what people are seeing. It's unfair to him, but he understands it. That's part of the big-boy business of being a quarterback."

— Dorrell hinted the Buffs will try to return to the run game philosophy that was successful in the opener against Northern Colorado and also produced 140 yards on the ground in the first half of a 10-7 loss to Texas A&M. 

"We need to get Jarek (Broussard) and Alex (Fontenot) going a little bit," Dorrell said. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to do that effectively last week and we're going to go back to our formula that's been successful for us and build from there."

Broussard leads the Buffs with 153 yards on 32 carries. But after a slight injury against A&M, he did not start against Minnesota and finished with just 8 yards on five carries. Fontenot has run for 83 yards, but had only three carries for four yards against the Gophers.

— Dorrell stressed that it is up to him and his staff to make sure CU players are being coached correctly. 

"The first thing I think about is that we're not doing something effectively enough for these guys to perform," he said. "It really comes down to we have to get our players ready to perform."

Dorrell said he was pleased with Monday's practice. Players hit the field with enthusiasm and appeared ready to learn from Saturday and translate those lessons into a much more solid performance against ASU.

"Its not a question of whether the guys are playing hard," he said. "It's more the efficiency and the execution of what needs to be done. The effort is there. Now we have to clean it up and really be more demanding of what we do. I thought today they showed a lot of excitement about doing things right."