CU Notes: Dorrell Says Buffs Need 'Spark' At Quarterback
AIR FORCE ACADEMY — After a new Colorado starting quarterback produced the same old results for the Buffaloes in a 41-10 loss to Air Force on Saturday, head coach Karl Dorrell said the position competition is still wide open — and he hinted that the battle is not limited to two contenders.
J.T. Shrout took the starting reins for the first time as a Buff on Saturday, but struggled in the wet weather. Shrout played the entire game and finished just 5-for-21 for 51 yards and an interception off a tipped ball. Brendon Lewis, who had started the last 13 games for CU, did not play.
"My gut told me to keep (Shrout) in there because he hasn't played and needs work," Dorrell said of the QB who transferred to Colorado last year but missed the entire season with a knee injury. "He didn't play as well as he expected himself to play and he needs a lot of work. I think that was really the right thing, to keep grinding on him just so we can get a good evaluation of what we think he is. We'll get a chance to visit and watch on the tape and talk about what we do moving forward, but that was something that I felt strongly about."
Dorrell also said the competition "absolutely" remains open and that he and offensive coordinator Mike Sanford could also look at some of the younger QBs on the roster for a "spark."
After Shrout and Lewis, the Buffs' depth chart also includes sophomore Drew Carter, who had a handful of snaps last year, true freshman Owen McCown and freshman transfer Maddox Kopp. All had their moments in fall camp, with McCown — the son of 18-year NFL pro Josh McCown — turning heads on several different occasions with his command of the offense, arm strength (he is a left-hander) and football savvy.
"(Shrout) hasn't proven anything to think that he's the guy," Dorrell said. "We have to continue to develop that position. Maybe we need to look at some of these younger guys, too — younger than our younger guys. It is what it is, but it's a challenge right now and I think we need a spark."
DEFENSIVE MOMENTS: While the Buffs did yield 435 yards rushing, the defense did play well enough to keep CU in the game until midway in the third quarter.
After not coming up with a takeaway in the season opener against TCU, Colorado forced three AFA turnovers Saturday — but the offense converted those miscues into just three points. Colorado also came empty after an AFA snap went over the head of the Falcons' punter to give CU possession at the Air Force 13-yard line.
In comparison, Air Force converted three CU turnovers into 14 points.
"I felt that at times the defense did some really positive things," Dorrell said. "They got us some turnovers. Offensively we didn't capitalize on a lot of those plays. We didn't keep ourselves in the game."
According to press box statistics, CU linebacker Quinn Perry was in on 17 tackles, including nine solo stops. Linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo had 10 tackles and safety Trevor Woods had eight — and likely would have had several more had he not been ejected for targeting early in the third quarter.
Woods, who also forced a fumble in the second quarter that led to a CU field goal, must now sit out the first half of next week's game at Minnesota unless CU appeals and has the suspension overturned.
OFFENSIVE WOES: Offensive lineman Casey Roddick said a post-game talk was to the point.
"This cannot happen again," Roddick said. "Point blank and simple, this cannot happen again. From myself, from this offensive line, from this defensive line and everybody else on that on that field. The taste in your mouth is left after that? That's unacceptable. And we know that. We see how good we can be but it's just not being taken onto the field on Saturday. … It's going to get fixed. We know that."
BUFFS BITS: True freshman WR Jordyn Tyson, junior quarterback J.T. Shrout and transfer linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo all made their Buffs starting debuts Saturday … RB Deion Smith ran 11 times for 59 yards, both career highs. His 25-yard touchdown run was also the longest rush of his career … CU is 0-2 for the first time since 2012, when the Buffs lost their first three en route to a 1-12 finish … Colorado is now 3-for-20 this season on third-down conversion tries of 6 yards or longer (0-9 Saturday) … The Buffs were 0-for-2 on fourth-down tries Saturday and are now 0-for-5 for the season.