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Fall Camp Notes

Wednesday, October 28thCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 17 (9:40-11:40a)

**Video Interviews with RB coach Darian Hagan and DE Mustafa Johnson**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com …

Running backs coach Darian Hagan … 

 

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Jon Wilner UCLA preview: Program “stagnant” under Chip Kelly

From the San Jose Mercury News … We thought Chip Kelly’s third season would begin with the Bruins on the verge of a breakthrough.

I suppose that’s still the case, except the attempted breakthrough isn’t to the very top of the South division but, merely, to the top tier of the division.

To a winning record.

To a bowl berth.

To contending for the title.

We think they’ll get there.

2019 season: 4-8/4-5

Head coach: Chip Kelly, third year (record: 7-17 overall/7-11 conference at UCLA; 46-7 at Oregon))

Kelly’s seat temperature: Sizzling, and pricey

UCLA fans wanted a change at the end of last season, so deep was their frustration with both the losing and the manner in which the Bruins lost (lifeless, punchless). But the cost of the buyout ($9 million) combined with the athletic department’s deficit ($35 million over two years, approximately) and the revenue wallop from the pandemic (tens of millions) make Kelly’s dismissal a tricky calculation. Any signs of lasting momentum will assure he returns for Year Four. But even if the Bruins flop and flail, there’s no guarantee of a change.

Contract status: Kelly is signed through the 2022 season at an average of $4.7 million per year.

QB clarity level: Improving

If social media content translated to on-field performance, Dorian Thompson-Robinson would be headed to an all-conference season. His Twitter presence during tumultuous stretches for UCLA in June (player dissatisfaction) and for the Pac-12 in August (#WeAreUnited) showed maturity and leadership. Now in his third season as the starter, Thompson-Robinson must play with the same calm, thoughtful approach he exhibited on social. If his game rises — and his interception rate drops — so will UCLA’s position within the division.

Roster grade: C-

So much about UCLA football the past two seasons, and the specific outlook for this fall, can be summed up with a C-. The Bruins haven’t done anything well and don’t ooze talent at any position. The defensive line should be a notch better, and the left side of the offensive line, with tackle Sean Rhyan, could be solid. But overall, the depth chart has too little in too many places. Put another way: The Bruins are the only team with no returning all-conference honorees.

Program trajectory: Stagnant

We didn’t see nearly enough last season — and haven’t seen enough on the recruiting trail for three years — to believe the Bruins are poised for a steep ascent, but we know enough about the roster to believe a collapse is unlikely. The intersection of talent and experience suggests another forgettable season. Only a breakthrough by Thompson-Robinson could lead the Bruins on a path to the next level.

Our projections …

Nov. 7: at Colorado
Result: Win
Record: 1-0
Comment: Given the difficult crossover game (at Oregon), all scenarios for a .500-or-better season include a victory in Boulder. Lose there, and an 0-3 start awaits.

Read full schedule predictions here

Tuesday, October 27thCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 16 (9:40-11:40a) 

**Video Interviews of HC Karl Dorrell; Star Backer Chris Miller; OLB Joshka Gustav**

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsNation

Head coach Karl Dorrell … Dorrell indicated at Tuesday’s press conference that the Buffs’ offensive line essentially has been set.

“Our front five, between (CaseyRoddick at right guard and Frank Fillip there at (right) tackle and then on the left side with Will Sherman and Kary (Kutsch) — those guys have been working really, really well together,” Dorrell said. “That’s really the group we’re looking at right now.”

Junior Colby Pursell, not in a surprise move by any stretch of the imagination, will remain tapped as the team’s starting center.

Sophomore Kanan Ray, who appears to have slid into the No. 2 roster spot at right guard for Colorado, was nonetheless evaluated positively by Dorrell after Tuesday’s sessions.

“We have some guys that we think are going to help us and play for us in some top reserve positions,” Dorrell said. “Kanan Ray is a critical guy who’s a really good players for us. He’ll be in there playing and we have a number of young guys who are really stepping up and doing some nice things, too, but I think the offensive line has done a really nice job.”

 

Star backer Chris Miller

LB Joshka Gustav

 

SportsBetting.com: Tyler Lytle the odds-on favorite to be CU’s starting quarterback

From SportsBetting.com … With sportsbook going mainstream in the US, most people turn to major sports leagues like the NFL, NHL, and MLB for their gambling fix.

However, betting on NCAA college football games is also gaining popularity among bettors and sports fans.

After all, most bettors who try their luck on NFL sports betting place their stakes on NCAA Football as well.

You can bet that the Texas A&M Aggies will win against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the SEC. But did you also know that you could make other kinds of bets too?

PAC-12 QUARTERBACK BATTLE ODDS

Utah starting quarterback vs. Arizona

Jake Bentley -1200

Cameron Rising +700

Colorado starting quarterback vs. UCLA 

Tyler Lytle -400

Sam Noyer +500

Brendon Lewis +900

Oregon starting quarterback vs. Stanford

Tyler Shough -800

Anthony Brown +600

Oregon State starting quarterback vs. Washington State

Tristan Gebbia -600

Chance Nolan +500

Washington starting quarterback at Cal

Kevin Thomson +125

Jacob Sirmon +125

Dylan Morris +500

Ethan Garbers +700

Washington State starting quarterback at Oregon State

Cammon Cooper -150

Jayden de Laura +150

Gunner Cruz +800

— The above odds are for entertainment purposes only —

Monday, October 26thCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 15 (9:40-11:40a) 

Post-Practice interviews with CB coach Demetrice Martin; LB Brady Russell; & LB Quinn Perry

From CUBuffs.com … (YouTube videos courtesy of BuffStampede.com)

From today’s (MON OCT 26) practice, the 15th of CU’s preseason football camp.

 B-Roll: https://buffs.me/3dZIIyB

Photos: https://buffs.me/2HGf0mo

Demetrice Martin

Audio: https://buffs.me/3mmm86g

Brady Russell

Audio: https://buffs.me/2TslojO

Quinn Perry

Audio: https://buffs.me/3kvUJy9

Sunday, October 25thTeam Day Off (treatment, lunch, dinner)

Defense shines in second scrimmage; starting QB announcement pending

From CUBuffs.com … For a coach whose background is rooted deeply on the offensive side of the ball, Saturday’s second Colorado Buffaloes scrimmage of camp may have left Karl Dorrell wanting a little more.

But for a head coach looking at the big picture, Dorrell saw plenty to like, beginning with a defense that is giving every appearance of being ready to pick up where it left off at the end of last season — and take another step forward.

CU’s second scrimmage at Folsom Field included 72 offensive plays, along with some live special teams work. Colorado now has two weeks and 10 practices before the Nov. 7 season opener against UCLA at Folsom.

“A lot of good work again doing some situational football,” Dorrell said. “Definitely some things we have to clean up on both sides. At this point in camp with all the information that’s in, it’s hard to have all that information up and ready for our players to do all at one time. I thought today they did a pretty good job, but in some situations where there was a lot of information we could have performed a little bit better.”

When camp opened, Dorrell said he believed the Buffs’ defensive line would be a strength of the team. That group has done nothing to change his mind since, and it had another good day Saturday against the run and getting to the quarterback.

“It was one of those days where I felt the defense stepped up and did a nice job in really containing the offense,” Dorrell said. “I feel great as a head coach knowing that we have a defense that’s gotten better and is building off the success they had late in the season last year. It’s good to know the defense had a pretty good, solid day.”

QB UPDATE: Dorrell said he will probably announce a starting quarterback sometime this week. The competition between Lytle and Noyer has been close throughout camp, but with the opener now on the immediate horizon, CU coaches will likely make their decision this week.

“We wanted to get a couple good weeks and get some evaluation on everyone that’s involved,” Dorrell said. “We’re definitely thinking some time this week we’ll come out with an announcement.”

Read full scrimmage report here

Saturday, October 24th CT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 14* (9:40-11:00a) .. 

Buffs developing some much needed depth at safety

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell and his staff knew that rebuilding a young secondary for the 2020 season would be a requirement.

What the Buffaloes coaches have discovered is that while experience is limited, there is a wealth of talent among their defensive backs, a situation that bodes well not only for this year, but for years to come.

The Buffs have only two defensive backs who started at least six games last year, senior safety Derrion Rakestraw (nine starts) and sophomore cornerback K.J. Trujillo, who stepped in after a rash of injuries at the position.

But while there’s not a wealth of experience in the secondary, CU coaches believe they have plenty of talent to fill not only the cornerback and safety spots.

Thus far in training camp, the Buffs have taken a look at a wide variety of players in a number of positions. Friday, safeties coach Brett Maxie discussed a number of those players involved. Some takeaways from the interviews:

— Mark Perry (safety) and Chris Miller (star) are settling in as potential big-time playmakers.

“(Perry) has a lot of responsibilities because the communication goes through him,” Maxie said. “It starts with him and ends with him. He’s done a tremendous job of taking on that leadership role in the secondary.”

Perry has consistently made plays throughout camp.

“He’s one of the fastest guys and it’s hard to see,” Maxie said. “You can usually see speed, but his speed is more of a closer. Once he starts to go, he covers ground, especially on deep balls. He can handle all the communication because he did play last year.”

Miller has been hampered by injuries over the last couple of years, but he is fully healthy this season. After two starts last year at corner, he appears to be back on track getting over his injuries.

Continue reading story here

Friday, October 23rdCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 13 (9:40-11:40a) 

Video interviews, courtesy of CUSportsNation

Safeties coach Brett Maxie

Linebacker Akil Jones

DB K.J. Trujillo … 

Karl Dorrell: “I want to play clean, high level, great execution football”

From the Daily Camera … In watching NFL and college football so far this year, Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell has noticed some inefficient play at both levels.

An unusual and incomplete offseason, as well as the cancellation of preseason games in the NFL caused by the coronavirus pandemic has played a significant role in that, but as Dorrell prepares his team for the Nov. 7 opener against UCLA, he’s hoping the Buffs can avoid that as much as possible.

… Dorrell added that playing efficient, clean football is a goal of his for the identity of the CU program under his watch and not just this season.

“Those are the things that I think are important that I see day in and day out that what gets teams in trouble is if they’re not on the same page,” he said. “I want to play clean, high level, great execution football and the best way we can do it with what we have. And that’s really what has got their attention right now.”

To that end, Dorrell said the Buffs spent Thursday’s practice cleaning up some mistakes in short yardage and goal-line situations, as well as two-minute drills with each offensive unit.

“I think both sides (offense and defense) needed it, getting a chance to get those packages cleaned up and ready to go,” he said. “It was good to get that work in.”

Continue reading story here

Thursday, October 22nd … CT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 12 (9:40-11:40a)

From CUBuffs.com … NotesWe could/should have our game time for the opener against UCLA on Monday, Oct. 26 (12 days out; possible it could be delayed until 6 days out) … The team’s stay at the Millennium Harvest House has been extended to Nov. 1 … The second scrimmage in full pads is scheduled for Saturday morning … Practice is scheduled to end around 11:30 on Friday.

YouTube videos courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Photos – https://buffs.me/2Tkbfpg

Head Coach Karl Dorrell

Audio – https://buffs.me/2IWU0IB

WR Jaylon Jackson

Audio – https://buffs.me/37vwb4H

TE Matt Lynch

Audio – https://buffs.me/3kllDZK

Defensive line making progress: “I think we have some good quality depth”

From CUBuffs.com … When Dorrell arrived, he knew he had three returning starters on the defensive line in Mustafa JohnsonTerrance Lang and Jalen Sami.

But since the beginning of camp, he has been pleased with the development of the depth up front, players who could see some significant time this fall.

“There are some guys that are quietly making a name for themselves in camp with their consistency,” he said. “Lloyd Murray is doing a nice job. Na’im Rodman is really understanding his role and doing a nice job. Justin Jackson is doing his role. Janaz Jordan and Austin Williams — all those guys are all young players and they’re all doing their roles pretty well.”

One key to the development, Dorrell said, is defensive line coach Chris Wilson‘s creation of packages with different players for specific situations.

“They’ve taken ownership,” Dorrell said. “They’re saying, ‘OK, I’m in this package, this is what I do,’ and they do it with a lot of pride and effort. I think that’s what you’re seeing with our defensive line — we have some depth behind those starters and I think we have some good quality depth that will help us play well and sustain through games.”

Read full story here

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Wednesday, October 21stCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 11 (9:40-11:40a)

Video Interviews, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Offensive Coordinator Darrin Chiaverini … 

Running Back Jaren Mangham … 

Linebacker Guy Thomas … 

Offensive tackle William Sherman … 

 

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Sagarin Rankings a little kinder to Buffs than was CBS Sports

Compare the Sagarin Rankings to those from CBS Sports, posted under the Monday headlines, below, which has CU as the No. 109 team in the nation

From USA Today … COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2020 through results of 2020 OCTOBER 17 SATURDAY

This output has one part: (1) teams listed by RATING top-to-bottom

The SCHEDULE ratings represent what the rating would have to be for a hypothetical team to have a mathematical expectation of winning precisely 50% of their games against the schedule played by the team in question in the games that it has played so far. The schedule difficulty of each given game takes into account the rating of the opponent and the location of the game. This is the same concept that is used in computing the WIN50% conference ratings.

In COLLEGE FOOTBALL the W-L records include ALL games, but ONLY games between the 257 TEAMS RATED here are used for RATING and SCHEDULE STRENGTH computations.

To make predictions for upcoming games, simply compare the RATINGS of the teams in question and allow an ADDITIONAL 3 points for the home team. Thus, for example, a HOME team with a rating of 92 would be favored by 5 points over a VISITING team having a rating of 90. Or a VISITING team with a rating of 89 would be favored by 7 points over a HOME team having a rating of 79.

From the Pac-12 … 

  • No. 9 … Oregon
  • No. 17 … Washington
  • No. 21 … USC
  • No. 25 … Utah
  • No. 31 … California
  • No. 34 … Arizona State
  • No. 40 … Stanford
  • No. 50 … Washington State
  • No. 57 … UCLA
  • No. 67 … Oregon State
  • No. 68 … Arizona
  • No. 73 … Colorado

Also … 

  • No. 43 … Michigan State
  • No. 47 … Nebraska
  • No. 98 … Colorado State

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Tuesday, October 20thCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 10 (9:40-11:40a)

A Baby and Hip Surgery Gives Kicker James Stefanou Fresh Perspective 

From the Daily Camera … James Stefanou has had far more than his kicking fundamentals to worry about since he last suited up for the Colorado Buffaloes.

The most important and precious of those concerns is a daughter who was born to Stefanou and his wife, Laura, in February. Having a baby had CU’s senior kicker considering the pros and cons of playing college football amid the COVID-19 pandemic a little more intently.

Ultimately, however, Stefanou realized that he didn’t relocate from his native Australia to CU at his age (he turned 33 in April) only to cut short his collegiate kicking career. Also on the rebound from postseason hip surgery, Stefanou is as excited as any of his teammates for the Buffs’ Nov. 7 opener against UCLA after the array of highs and lows that marked his offseason.

“We had a very serious conversation about it and what we planned to do,” Stefanou said. “It stopped family from coming in to visit us. So we had a serious conversation about it. But I always wanted to play that one more year. I was just really, really hopeful and optimistic that we’d get it, and now we’ve got it. I was always going to play this year.”

Stefanou had surgery Dec. 2 to repair a hip injury that cost him the final three games of the 2019 season. He enters the season ranked ninth on CU’s all-time scoring list (fifth among kickers) and said that while his hip would have been ready if the season had unfolded as planned, the delay nonetheless provided an opportunity to get just a little stronger.

“I was ready to go in August. I would have been ready to go,” Stefanou said. “But the delay, yeah, it’s helped. It definitely has helped and has allowed me to get in better shape physically. Mentally, it’s been a little tougher. But I think we’re in a good mindset now. Practice is coming along great as a team and I think I share that with my teammates — right now, we’re just really, really looking forward to get on the field.”

Continue reading story here

Derrion Rakestraw’s path: From backup wide receiver to leader of the CU secondary

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado senior safety Derrion Rakestraw is a nice example of how to take advantage when opportunity comes knocking.

Early last season, Rakestraw — who came to CU as a wide receiver, then spent some time at corner — saw most of his action on special teams. He played just 29 snaps on defense in CU’s first three games, including one game in which he did not make an appearance on defense.

But in Week 4 of the season, injuries thrust Rakestraw into the starting lineup and he responded with a huge fourth-quarter interception in a win at Arizona State.

He didn’t relinquish that starting spot the rest of the season.

Rakestraw finished second on the team in interceptions (three) and eighth in tackles (38) while also finishing with five pass breakups and three tackles for loss. He played a critical role in Colorado’s improved defense down the stretch and had another big interception in a win over Stanford to stop a drive in CU territory.

“I can remember last year about this time when we were talking about depth,” said CU defensive coordinator Tyson Summers, one of four CU assistants retained by new head coach Karl Dorrell. “I know he had played a little bit the year prior, and there were a lot of question marks. He played as solid as you could play the last five or six games for us. He made a lot of plays and he’s a big reason for our turnaround the last three, four games of the season.”

This year, Rakestraw’s duties have increased. He’s gone from being a mostly untested newcomer to the position to being a dependable veteran who will be asked to lend that experience and knowledge to a secondary that is not exactly overflowing with experience. It will be an integral piece of the puzzle as the Buffs defense tries to pick up where it left off last year and continue that upward trajectory.

Summers, who coached safeties last season along with his DC duties, believes Rakestraw can help make that happen.

“The secondary is so young, they call him ‘old man’ in the room,” Summers said. “He’s a guy that gets ’em lined up, he’s a guy that communicates, he’s been an example for them. He’s done a great job with his leadership. Having been his position coach last year, he’s special to me, for a lot of different reasons. He’s playing at a high level, communicating well and I’m really proud of him.”

Continue reading story here

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Monday, October 19thCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 9 (9:40-11:40a)

Interviews from Monday’s Practice … 

Photos: https://buffs.me/37nWZUy

B-Roll/Melt – https://buffs.me/3jm3GsN

Defensive Coordinator Tyson Summers

Audio – https://buffs.me/3kcn9gI

DB Derrion Rakestraw

Audio – https://buffs.me/3j9dmGF

 

Vote of No Confidence: CU ranked No. 109 in the CBS 1-127 rankings

From CBS Sports … After seven weeks with a limited field for our comprehensive FBS rankings, the return of Big Ten action marks the expansion of the CBS Sports 76 to the CBS Sports 127. Though there are 130 FBS teams in total, three will not be taking the field at all this season: New Mexico State, Old Dominion and UConn.

Ohio State checks in at No. 3 in our reset of the national landscape, joining Clemson and Alabama as favorites to make the College Football Playoff. When the Buckeyes kick off their season on Saturday against Nebraska, they will do so with one of the most talented rosters we’ve seen since the national championship team in 2014.

But Ohio State isn’t the only Big Ten team with playoff hopes and expectations, and our discussion and ranking of the league’s contenders could take a turn if Penn State, which checks in at No. 6 in the CBS Sports 127, can knock off Ohio State when they play on Oct. 31. While not the raucous white-out scene that has defined many of Ohio State’s road trips in the series, the game still carries all the weight of setting the stage for the division title race in the Big Ten East.

In total, the Big Ten has five teams in the top 25 of the CBS Sports 127, and they are joined near the top of the rankings by Oregon (No. 9) and USC (No. 16) from the Pac-12. These additions in the rankings expansion had an impact on the week-to-week movement. The falls are more dramatic for teams like Auburn and Tennessee, and there was a ceiling on the rise for a team like BYU, which improved to 5-0 on the season and could have been higher in the top 10 if not for the arrival of Ohio State, Penn State and Oregon.

From the Pac-12 … 

  • No. 9 … Oregon
  • No. 16 … USC
  • No. 33 … Arizona State
  • No. 40 … Utah
  • No. 45 … Washington
  • No. 58 … California
  • No. 59 … Stanford … which finished 4-8 last season
  • No. 76 … Oregon State … which finished 5-7 last season
  • No. 85 … UCLA … which finished 4-8 last season
  • No. 91 … Washington State … which finished 6-7 last season
  • No. 102 … Arizona … which finished 4-8 last season
  • No. 109 … Colorado … which finished 5-7 last season

Notable … Colorado is ranked above only two Power Five schools – No. 117 Kansas (0-3) and No. 118 Rutgers (0-0) … Colorado State, which finished 4-8 last year, including a fifth-straight loss to Colorado, is ranked No. 88 … Michigan State is ranked No. 74 … CU is ranked just below No. 107 Syracuse (1-3), including a 38-21 loss last weekend to Coastal Carolina;  and No. 108 Vanderbilit (0-3) … Fresno State (4-8 last season), which was to be the Buffs’ home opener in the original 2020 schedule, is ranked 97th … Georgia Tech, which just lost to Clemson, 73-7, is ranked No. 75 … Nebraska, 5-7 last year, including a second consecutive loss to Colorado, enters the season ranked No. 56 …

 

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Sunday, October 18th …  Team Day Off (treatment, lunch, dinner)

Neill Woelk Takeaways from Saturday’s scrimmage – plenty of position battles still to be decided

From CUBuffs.com … There were some takeaways to be gleaned from Saturday’s scrimmage in general terms. Some of the key points:

— The Buffs seem to be leaning toward a running back by committee. While Alex Fontenot is the incumbent starter, he has not been in a “feature back” role by any stretch. Thus far in camp, the Buffs have been spreading the workload between Fontenot, sophomores Jaren ManghamJarek Broussard and Joe Davis, and true freshman Ashaad Clayton (who didn’t scrimmage Saturday).

“We need that depth in the backfield,” Dorrell said. “We’re going to have a good rotation there.”

All have had their moments in camp. Saturday, Dorrell mentioned Broussard, who is coming back from a knee injury, as having a solid day with a couple of scores, a good follow-up to some nice showings in previous practices.

“He ran and stuck his feet in the ground and made cuts you wouldn’t do if you were questioning whether you were back healthy,” Dorrell said. “He made a couple really nice runs. His confidence is going to be huge.”

— The quarterback battle hasn’t been settled. In fact, it might have become a little more complicated after Saturday. While junior Tyler Lytle and Sam Noyer both had good days, true freshman Brendon Lewis showed his athleticism when given the opportunity.

“I thought both Tyler and Sam did some really good things,” Dorrell said. “I thought Brendon came in and did some nice things, too. I thought both of them had some real positive signs in generating offense, moving the offense. I thought they did a nice job with the operation of the offense — all three of the quarterbacks. I was really pleased by that.”

With just three weeks to go until the opener, it’s a decision Buffs coaches would like to make sooner than later. A closer look at Saturday’s tape should help in starting to determine if there’s any true separation yet between the two leaders for the job.

— Speaking of separation, there are plenty of starting spots that are a long way from being decided. No doubt, there are a handful of spots that are relatively solid. It’s hard to imagine a starting lineup that wouldn’t include Inside linebacker Nate Landman, defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson and offensive linemen William ShermanKary Kutsch and Colby Pursell. While you’re at it, you could throw defensive lineman Terrance Lang and outside linebacker Carson Wells into that mix (depending on the defensive formation); while offensive linemen Casey Roddick and Frank Fillip appear to be establishing themselves as well.

But the competition is still fierce — Dorrell’s description — at a number of spots, including wide receiver, running back, quarterback and throughout the secondary.

“I think the tape will tell us a lot more,” Dorrell said when asked whether he saw any “separation” at some of those positions. “But I did see some really good play. Our first and second teams are really, really close. There’s really not much of a dropoff in those areas. I didn’t see anything that was night and day difference. I do feel that it’s going really well … But I would say from all the competition at the quarterback position, the receivers, the backs — everybody is kind of right there in the mix. And, I  think our secondary is getting better. I saw some really nice plays there.”

— Depth is being developed. For a young team, this will be critical. It’s been a priority since camp opened, and thus far, CU’s staff likes what they’re seeing in that area.

“That’s why I feel good that our first and second team are really close,” Dorrell said. “You don’t want your second teamer to be that big of a dropoff from your first teamer. That’s what’s nice. I think we have good solid depth in our program, particularly in our offensive line, at the receiver position, backs. All those things on that side.”

Dorrell also likes what he’s seen in terms of depth along the defensive line. While last year’s starters — Johnson, Lang and Jalen Sami — all return, the Buffs are also getting some nice production in camp thus far up front from Lloyd Murray Jr.Justin Jackson and Jeremiah Doss.

 “We’ve got some young D-linemen that are really starting to step up and have some really good production behind Mustafa and Terrance and Jalen,” Dorrell said. “Those guys are developing. It’s a good situation we’re in right now.”

The Buffs are also developing depth at linebacker, where transfer Guy Thomas is getting plenty of work on the outside, along with freshman Joshka Gustav, who is showing a knack for being where the ballcarrier is.

— The secondary is improving. As we mentioned earlier, Dorrell likes the improvement he has seen in CU’s defensive backs — an area that was no doubt a question when camp opened.

A big plus has been the play of sophomores Chris Miller and Mark Perry, who are making plays consistently from the star and safety spots. Both have had good camps thus far.

Dorrell also likes the development of his young corners, a group that includes sophomores Tarik LuckettK.J. Trujillo and Nigel Bethel (a transfer who sat out last season), as well as veteran Mekhi Blackmon, true freshmen Christian Gonzalez and Jaylen Striker, and redshirt freshman D.J. Oats.

Gonzalez has been impressive throughout camp and Oats notched an interception Saturday.

— Depth, depth and more depth at WR. This seems like a position that never seems to be lacking in talent in recent years.

Saturday, Dorrell pointed to big plays from freshmen La’Vontae Shenault and Montana Lemonious-Craig as standing out. Meanwhile, Dimitri Stanley and Daniel Arias have had productive, consistent camps thus far, while Maurice Bell and Jaylon Jackson have had their moments, as has true freshman Brenden Rice.

“Receiver is probably our deepest position in terms of our skill,” Dorrell said. “Those guys are stepping up. They’re doing some nice things. I’ve been very pleased.”

— O-line solidifying. While nothing is settled yet, the returning three starters from last year — Sherman (left tackle), Kutsch (left guard) and Pursell (center) — have been joined much of the time thus far by Roddick at right guard and Fillip at right tackle.

But, there is some competition there as the Buffs develop depth, with Kanan Ray lining up at guard and tackle, Chance Lytle getting in some reps at guard and Austin Johnson at center.

— Overall, it’s been a good camp thus far. With no spring ball and very little football work accomplished over the summer, a slow start wouldn’t have been a shock.

But the Buffs seem to have hit the field running and are making good progress.

This is where credit goes to Dorrell for keeping a steady hand and even keel from the very beginning. This is a coach who doesn’t panic, maintains a calm but focused demeanor, and makes sure that attitude is projected on his team.

Players recognize and appreciate that. These Buffs are on their third head coach in three years — and a steady hand that they trust is critical.

Read full story here

—–

Saturday, October 17th … CT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 8* (9:40-11:00a) 

… First scrimmage took place today (Closed to the public) … CU had a 103-play scrimmage Saturday morning (90 minutes; 72 scrimmage plays, 25 special teams; 6 scrimmage plays canceled due to penalties …

Overall, it was a full day of work for Colorado and Karl Dorrell at face value liked what he saw.

“I am very pleased with where we’re at after eight practices in what we were able to get done today,” Dorrell said. “It was a really good snapshot in terms of how much (the players) know. Now, it’s time to tighten things up, getting it honed in and getting our systems in high detail for us to be proficient in what we’re doing. It was a very good day.”

No separation at quarterback … “Tyler Lytle and Sam Noyer did some really good things. I thought Brendon Lewis came in and did some nice things, too,” Dorrell said. “Both of them had some real positive signs in generating offense, moving the offense. I thought they did a nice job with the operation of the offense, all three of the quarterbacks. So, I was really, really pleased with that. We’ll detail in terms of how well they did with the plays they called and adjustments they made.

“I felt our first and second team are really, really close. There’s really not much of a drop off in those areas. I didn’t see anything that was just night and day differences than the other. So I feel like that’s gone really, really well. The competition is fierce. There is no clear separation other than certain positions like Nate Landman (at middle linebacker) or something like that. I would say with all the competition at the quarterback position, the receivers, the backs, everybody is kind of right there in the mix.”

Satisfied overall … “We did a lot of work today,” Dorrell said. “We did a pretty good job of getting the whole game process going today. I felt the guys were locked in and did a nice job with it. Now, we had a couple miss fortunes a little bit here and there with substitutions. But that’s going to get better.

“It was a really good snapshot of where we are in terms of how much they know. Now, it’s tightening things up and getting honed in and getting our systems in high detail for us to be very proficient in what we’re doing.”

Videos from YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Karl Dorrell

Audio – https://buffs.me/2HimyLW

Mark Perry

Audio – https://buffs.me/3dzb6aN

Terrance Lang

Audio – https://buffs.me/3lXGyCk

—–

Friday, October 16thCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 7 (9:40-11:40a)

Fall Practice No. 6 Interviews (OL Coach Mitch Rodrigue; OL Kary Kutsch; OL Frank Fillip

From CUBuffs.com …

B-Roll – https://buffs.me/342gYGj

Photos – https://buffs.me/37ch6F0

Mitch Rodrigue

Audio – https://buffs.me/37e0o8s

Kary Kutsch

Audio – https://buffs.me/3439PW8

Frank Fillip

Audio – https://buffs.me/2IDroUB

 

For Karl Dorrell, No News is Good News (no injuries; no positive tests)

From the Daily Camera … Dorrell said the Buffs, who have had six rounds of COVID-19 tests since last Friday, have not had any positive results from those tests.

“We’re in really great shape from a health perspective,” Dorrell said. “I think we’ve got a few nicks and bumps and bruises from practice, but nothing of real significance as of yet. I’m knocking on wood on that. Our team’s in really good health, both from a COVID sense, and from a just bumps and bruises.

“They’ve done a great job of buying into the post and pre-practice stuff that we’re doing in the mornings, and hydrating. I think all of those things are really helping with the injuries. We’ve had a few guys with some soft tissue injuries like mild hamstring pulls and groins, but that’s going to be a given when you’re in camp.”

Staying calm

Throughout a challenging year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Dorrell has maintained a level of calm and positivity. Several players and their parents have praised how the new head coach has handled the situation.

Dorrell said his approach stems from his upbringing.

“I’ve learned it from my mom and dad,” Dorrell said. “My dad was a Naval chief and I spent quite a few days with him when he was in the Navy about how he handled his people that worked underneath him. He was kind of a calm operator that I felt that, even when things got stressful or even when things were great, he was always the same level, in terms of his emotions as he approached his job.

“I just learned that early on in this profession, particularly with this pandemic, you really have to have a mindset of controlling the things that you can control. You can’t worry about things that are out of your control. The next thing is, do the best you can with what you have. And I’ve instilled that with our team. … I think that experience of being around me has helped them deal with those circumstances better, too, so I appreciate that.”

Continue reading story here

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Thursday, October 15th … CT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 6 (9:40-11:40a) 

Interviews from Practice No. 6 (HC Karl Dorrell; LB Brady Russell; TE Coach Taylor Embree)

From CUBuffs.com … YouTube videos courtesy of BuffStampede.com

B-Roll/Melt – https://buffs.me/350Uogt

Photos: https://buffs.me/3nXWbeP

Karl Dorrell

Audio – https://buffs.me/3dz05pY

Brady Russell

Audio – https://buffs.me/2SXV4xv

Taylor Embree

Audio – https://buffs.me/3440xtb

Sam Noyer: “If you would’ve told me I would come back here for this last season, I would’ve said you’re crazy”

From The Republic … Sam Noyer packed up his stuff in December and departed Colorado for what he thought was the last time.

His driving ambition: To be a starting quarterback somewhere after the Buffaloes converted him to safety last season.

Noyer’s winding road led him right back to where he began.

Re-recruited by a new coaching staff, the senior returned to Boulder and is in the mix to be under center. He’s locked in a tight competition with junior Tyler Lytle for the starting job against UCLA on Nov. 7, when the Pac-12 finally opens a season delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you would’ve told me I would come back here for this last season, I would’ve said you’re crazy,” said Noyer, who entered the graduate transfer portal after earning his degree in strategic communication in December. “But now it’s the perfect opportunity.”

This time, the situation feels even more like a bona fide quarterback competition.

… “My heart has always been at quarterback,” said Noyer, who was a top prospect out of Beaverton High in Oregon as he threw for 2,801 yards and 28 touchdowns his senior year. “That’s where I’ve felt most comfortable, is throwing the rock. I’m very comfortable at this position.”

After the season/graduation, Noyer returned home to Oregon so he could explore his options. He worked out and visited some possible landing spots.

In February, Tucker bolted for Michigan State after one season in Boulder.

Once Karl Dorrell took over the program, passing game coordinator/QB coach Danny Langsdorf reached out to Noyer along with offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini.

“It was the perfect opportunity for me to come back here and compete for the job,” Noyer said. “I’ve had a chip on my shoulder ever since I moved to safety and decided to come back. I’m going to earn everything. I don’t want anything given to me.”

Continue reading story here

Wednesday, October 14thTEAM DAY OFF (treatment, lunch, dinner) 

Colby Pursell named to Rimington Trophy Watch List 

Related … “CU Buffs OL Colby Pursell striving for improvement” … from the Daily Camera 

From CUBuffs.com … Colby Pursell is one of 90 players on the Watch List for the Rimington Trophy, its committee announced Wednesday.

The award is presented annually to the most outstanding center in NCAA Division I College Football.  The 17-year-old award has raised over $4.45 million for the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.

In 2005, Mark Fenton was one of six semifinalists for the award.  Ove the years, the Buffs have had several centers on the watch list with Pursell joining Fenton (2005, ’06), Daniel Sanders (2007, ’08), Keenan Stevens (2010), Gus Handler (2012, ’13), Alex Kelley (2015) and Tim Lynott Jr. (2019).

Pursell has 19 career games played with 17 career starts, which is third-most on the offensive side of the ball for the Buffs entering 2020.  He played in seven games last season, starting five a guard, missing the other games in the middle of the season due to illness.   He’s no stranger to the center position, however, as he started all 12 games at the position as a redshirt freshman in 2018 and practiced the position as a true freshman in 2017.

He was named to the NFF/Colorado Chapter All-Colorado second team at center in 2018.  He was a finalist for CU Freshman of the Year for all sports and given the Byron R. White Leadership Award.  He has been named to NFF/Colorado Chapter All-Academic team for each of the past two seasons.

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Tuesday, October 13thCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 5* (9:40-11:40a) 

Photos and Zoom Recordings from CU’s fifth camp football practice

Photos: https://buffs.me/2GW9eMV

 Karl Dorrell

Audio: https://buffs.me/2GXKioH

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

 Colby Pursell

Audio: https://buffs.me/313bjOu

Jalen Sami

Audio: https://buffs.me/2GVyRh5

CU coaches looking for (hoping for) quick separation in QB race

From Neill Woelk at CUBuffs.com … When it comes to selecting a starting quarterback, the Colorado Buffaloes’ coaching staff appears to be following the wisdom of UCLA basketball coaching legend John Wooden:

“Be quick but don’t hurry.”

The Buffs must indeed be quick in the process. They have only a few weeks to make a choice that usually involves spring practice, summer drills and study sessions, and a fall camp.

But neither can they hurry the process. Despite not having been afforded the luxury of roughly six months of evaluation, CU head coach Karl Dorrell and quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf must do their best to make sure they have the right guy, which means jamming months of careful and close evaluation into a couple of weeks.

It’s a delicate balance they must manage in order to still have some time to prepare their starter for the Nov. 7 season opener against UCLA at Folsom Field.

Monday morning, Langsdorf told the media he would like to have a starter “as soon as possible.”

But that almost certainly won’t come until he and Dorrell have a chance to see the candidates in a scrimmage situation. The first scrimmage of camp is scheduled Saturday.

“We’d like to have somebody separate quickly by outperforming the other guy,” Langsdorf said. “As soon as that shows up, we’ll make a decision. But right now, being in four days without a scrimmage, it’s a little tough to tell. I think as we get into more and more situational football, that stuff is a little easier to evaluate and make a decision, But it’s a close competition so we don’t want to rush it. At the same time we want to get going and get the guy that’s going to be the starter most of the reps ready to play a game.”

One thing Langsdorf did make clear Monday is that the competition has already been boiled down to a battle between veterans Tyler Lytle and Sam Noyer, with true freshman Brendon Lewis biding his time.

Continue reading story here

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Monday, October 12thCT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 4 (9:40-11:40a)

Practice No. 4 – Interviews with QB Coach Danny Langsdorf; QB Sam Noyer; and QB Tyler Lytle 

Related … “Veteran duo battling for CU Buffs starting QB job” … from the Daily Camera 

Practice B-Roll

https://buffs.me/3nFW8nU

Photos

https://buffs.me/2GQA8pQ

Danny Langsdorf, Quarterbacks Coach

Video – From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com 

“We’ve really put Lytle and Noyer in a really good competition mode,” Langsdorf said. “They’ve been splitting reps and alternating, 1s and 2, every day and in every period. It’s a real even battle that way — until we get into some real scrimmage kinds of deals, we’re going to continue to evaluate everything but the game stuff will weigh a little heavier. Brendon Lewis has been playing kind of the third guy getting some reps here and there.”

… “First of all, evaluation-wise, it’s a little but subjective and objective,” he said. “It’s a lot of statistics, it’s a lot of completion percentages, decision-making, taking care of the ball. And then, how is their command in the huddle? How are they directing traffic lined up?”

… Langsdorf said while there are certainly positives in how Brendon Lewis is developing, he still has some work to do.

“I’ve been really pleased with his command and his knowledge,” Langsdorf said. “He asks good questions, he is young, but when he goes in there, he doesn’t act like a freshman. He hasn’t gotten a ton of reps yet — not having spring ball didn’t help him. There was a lot of work (missed out on) in those 15 practices, so he’s really raw, but I’ve been pleased with how confident he is.”

“He speaks confidently, he moves guys around, he barks out calls — he’s good that way. I’ve been excited for him. He hasn’t gotten as much work as he’d like to get as the third string guys because of how we’re dealing with (Noyer and Lytle) right now but I like where he’s at and I think he’s going to be a good player.”

QB Tyler Lytle

 QB Sam Noyer

Strength and conditioning coach Drew Wilson an “unsung hero”

From the Daily Camera … Strength and conditioning coaches spend more time with players anyway, but as the Buffs and everyone else has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic over the past seven months, Wilson’s familiarity with the players and his knowledge of the program has been invaluable.

“It’s extremely valuable,” Dorrell said. “I’m glad you brought him up because I’ve been giving him kudos in front of the team and our staff for his dedication from his area and his staff of doing everything within the protocols that have been put on us.”

It hasn’t been easy for the players or for Wilson.

After players were sent home in March, Wilson and his staff developed tailored workouts for the players to do at home. Some didn’t have weights, but Wilson and the staff got creative in helping the players find other ways to stay in shape – pull-ups on trees, bench pressing siblings, pushing cars, etc.

In June, players returned for voluntary workouts, but only in cohort groups. That was another adjustment for Wilson and his staff.

Then, after Boulder County issued an order on Sept. 24 to limit gatherings of 18-to-22-year-olds, they had to adjust again. Individual workouts were allowed, so Wilson and the strength staff designed a schedule that allowed the players to get some work done.

“When we had that time period where we only can work out one player at a time, he handled that and they had to work early mornings and late to the evenings,” Dorrell said. “They did that for 10 days.

“He’s kind of an unsung hero right now because he did the job and he didn’t bat an eye about it. He knew we had to get ourselves ready – as ready as we can be for camp and there’s no question that those guys have done a great job with getting us to this point.”

Making the adjustments easier has been the fact that Wilson is so familiar with most of the players. Although he’s still learning the newcomers, Wilson, who was hired Jan. 4, 2016, by former head coach Mike MacIntyre, is entering his fifth season with the program, so he’s learned the physical and nutritional needs of all of CU’s veteran players.

Continue reading story here

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Sunday, October 11th … CT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 3 (9:40-11:40a)

Soft tissue injuries a concern in an unusual season

From the Daily Camera … Delaying the start of the season to November has put the Pac-12 Conference behind its peers in the Football Bowl Subdivision, but a possible silver lining is the conference has had time to learn from those who are playing.

The Pac-12 is still four weeks away from starting, while the NFL and many college teams are already three or four games into their seasons. Those teams, particularly in the NFL, have dealt with a rash of soft tissue injuries, such as knees, ligaments and muscles, and the lack of a typical offseason program could be the  main reason.

As CU got preseason practices underway on Friday, head coach Karl Dorrell said trying to prevent those injuries is a high priority.

“That’s the biggest concern that I have on my mind is the time that we have to train and get ready for play, and knowing that there were incomplete segments of our summer and leading into this camp where the team wasn’t able to train,” Dorrell said. “We are being very cautious with how we’re starting this camp. It is going to be twofold in a way: trying to maximize our systems both offensively and defensively to do things as well as we can do it, and the second part of it is actually getting your team in shape to be ready to play on (Nov. 7).

“It’s very important that I keep that in the front of my mind because of the health and safety issues of where we are from a conditioning standpoint.”

Continue reading story here

 

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Saturday, October 10th … CT (6-8 a.m.); Meetings (8:30a/2:30p), ^Walk-through (9:10-9:40p), Practice # 2 (9:40-11:40a) 

Defensive Line coach Chris Wilson: “I like to be like the Chinese army — I want to be a billion strong” 

From CUBuffs.com … As most folks who follow the game are well-aware, football starts in the trenches.

Colorado Buffaloes defensive line coach Chris Wilson has a pretty good start in that regard.

Wilson, who joined new head coach Karl Dorrell last spring for his second tour of duty with the Buffaloes, inherited a group that returns all three starters from last season. That’s enough to put a smile on any position coach’s face.

But Wilson also inherited a healthy list of returnees who received some significant snaps last year in backup roles. That will be a key in building depth up front, something Wilson sees as critical if the Buffs’ defense is going to take a step forward this season.

“I like to be like the Chinese army — I want to be a billion strong,” Wilson said after Saturday morning’s practice, the Buffs’ second of training camp. “I want as many good players as I can get to come in and play. You do that by creating depth and developing the bottom part of your roster. The more guys we can play at a high level, the more competitive we become and the faster we play.”

Wilson made it clear he doesn’t have any starters yet — “I have a depth chart.” But it won’t be a surprise to Buffs fans to see senior Mustafa Johnson, junior Terrance Lang and sophomore Jalen Sami — each of whom started at least nine games last year — be cornerstones again this season.

This will no doubt be a big year for Johnson in many ways. An All-Pac-12 performer two years ago, the 6-2, 290-pounder was hampered by injuries last year and played in just nine games. But he still finished with 34 tackles and 4.5 sacks, and even with a seven-game schedule this season, he has much larger goals, including double-digit sacks and a shot at the single-season CU record for tackles for loss (24).

But perhaps even more importantly, Johnson must fill a role as a team leader. As one of just nine scholarship seniors on the roster, his duties in that regard will be critical in helping a young team through rough spots.

Continue reading story here

Practice No. 2 – Post-practice interviews (DL coach Chris Wilson; DL Mustafa Johnson; DB Chris Miller)

Practice Melt/B-Roll

https://buffs.me/2GCbZmY

Practice Photos

https://buffs.me/3iSkXsZ

 Coach Chris Wilson Media Zoom

Audio – https://buffs.me/34HRFbz

Video – https://buffs.me/2Ihi2xE

 Mustafa Johnson Media Zoom

Audio – https://buffs.me/3lyQT7H

Video – https://buffs.me/2FlUR48

Chris Miller Media Zoom

Audio – https://buffs.me/2SLqx68

Video – https://buffs.me/34JvrWL

 

—–

October 9thCT (Covid Testing) – 7-9 a.m. … Walk-through (9:10-9:40 a.m.) … Practice No. 1 (9:40-11:40 a.m.) … 

Practice No. 1 – Post-practice interviews (Karl Dorrell; Nate Landman; K.D. Nixon) 

Photos (Practice #1)

https://buffs.me/3iMY9uI

Director of Health & Performance Miguel Rueda

Audio – https://buffs.me/2SJ3ecV

Video – https://buffs.me/2SFfWJE

Karl Dorrell – (Transcript of interview below) 

Audio – https://buffs.me/2GW8K9p

Video – https://buffs.me/3jXWOTa

ILB Nate Landman

Audio – https://buffs.me/2GN6WzE

Video – https://buffs.me/3iKxL4I

WR K.D. Nixon

Audio – https://buffs.me/2Fkanxs

Video – https://buffs.me/33HVy14

 

 

Karl Dorrell on first practice: “A good first day – obviously we have a lot of work to do”

Transcript of press conference courtesy of CUSportsNation

Dorrell’s opening statement after his first practice with the Buffs:

“The first practice was a good first day. I wasn’t a perfect first day but I liked the energy and I liked how guys were communicating. I liked the competitiveness of this group. I think it was a good start to our 25 days. I think that obviously we have a lot of work to do. I know that and the team knows that but it was a good, solid start. These guys did a good job of performing the information — it wasn’t perfect but they had an idea of what it was. At least from a meeting standpoint we were able to communicate and do things well and get things started and executed.”

“Now it’s time to, as we go through each day, try to time it up to where it’s high level execution.”

2. Dorrell on how it felt being out there for the first time:

“It felt really good. I felt that (the players) had a pretty good idea in terms of the things we were trying to achieve in practice. The emphasis and the things that we put them through today, from a game situation standpoint, we did a lot of things just kind of breaking the seal on a number of different processes for a game. Their attitude has been strong all along. Just as excited as I was to watch my first practice, they had the same excitement wanting to show me how good they were. It was a good thing and it’s a good feeling. We’re trying to create more depth.”

“As you can imagine, the veteran players that are our starters, they looked good today. The ones that are backing up or freshmen trying to get a chance to help us this year, those guys are still swimming a little bit in terms of knowledge. All in all, it was a really good day.”

3. Dorrell on the daily morning COVID testing protocol and how it was today:

“The testing makes it different in terms of you can’t get started on anything until you get everybody cleared to start meetings. We had everybody cleared with all the testing we had today. It took us exactly two hours to do it. We allotted for the right amount of time, everybody was in the first meeting at 8 o’clock and everybody was cleared and ready to go.

That’s going to be the process every day — everyone’s going to have to go through a clearance mechanism to make sure that they’re able to go to meetings and practice. It was off to a really good start on the first day.”

Note: Zero Buffs tested positive today.

4. What are your thoughts on the players being able to maintain discipline in this quasi bubble living environment?

(For context, beginning tonight and for the next two weeks, the entire team will be living in a hotel in Boulder and following strict guidelines of staying to themselves and essentially staying either on campus, at the Champions Center or the hotel. In two weeks time, CU will meet with Boulder County Health to decide on how to proceed.)

“I think it our players have seen, with the NBA and NHL bubbling and that’s why they’re able to complete a season, I think they get that and get why we’re doing it. We try to keep everybody as healthy as we can and still are operating under the Boulder ordinance in terms of things that are really specific for us to do. They understand and they get it. They understand why it’s important to do things within the protocol that we’re doing it so that it can give us a chance to be healthy at the start of the season.”

Continue reading story here

Newcomers get their first chance to impress 

From CUBuffs.com … No doubt, the circumstances presented by the Covid-19 pandemic have made this a season like no other in modern history. Throw in the fact that the Buffs will be playing under their third head coach in as many seasons — along with six new faces as assistant coaches — and this will no doubt be a unique year in many regards.

But there are also plenty of themes that are common to seasons past, storylines that are part of every training camp. Here’s a first glimpse of what we’ll be watching as Dorrell and the Buffs use the upcoming month to prepare for their seven-game Pac-12 schedule:

Newcomers and youngsters will be crucial. It is worth remembering here that what Dorrell accomplished in the immediate weeks after his arrival last February was ultra-critical, not only to this season, but for the foreseeable future.

What Dorrell did was keep a top-30 recruiting class intact. Instead of a mass exodus — something many observers expected — every member of the 2020 recruiting class elected to remain a Buff. Those new recruits, plus a number of younger players who have spent just a year in the program, could turn out to be significant contributors from the get-go.

“That class … they’re fabulous,” Dorrell told the Pac-12 Network earlier this week. “There’s a lot of guys that are going to have a chance to play for us and help us this fall.”

Indeed, the list of newcomers who could figure in the Buffs’ plans — as well as young players who have spent a year or two in the program but have played sparingly — is lengthy. A number of them are included in the first depth chart of camp (attached to story) and others will no doubt work their way into contention as camp progresses.

A list of newcomers we’ll be watching? Try OLB Guy Thomas; DBs Will AnglenChristian GonzalezToren Pittman and Jaylen Striker; RB Ashaad Clayton; QB Brendon Lewis; and DL Justin Jackson. Meanwhile, returnees who have had just a taste of action but could make a name for themselves in camp include OL Frank FillipKanan RayCasey Roddick and Austin Johnson; DB Mark Perry; ILB Marvin Ham; and OLB Jamar Montgomery.

This is by no means a complete list. There will no doubt be others who will have a training camp “breakthrough.” But the fact that Dorrell managed to keep his roster intact upon arrival will prove to be a critical piece of the puzzle as the Buffs move toward opening kickoff.

Continue reading story here

Having both coordinators back will help with continuity

From CUBuffs.comContinuity will be a key factor. Another critical area Dorrell addressed as soon as he arrived was maintaining some consistency and familiarity on both sides of the ball with his assistant coaching staff.

Dorrell did bring in six new assistants. But he also retained defensive coordinator Tyson Summers, whose group finished strong in 2019; and he elevated WR coach Darrin Chiaverini back to offensive coordinator, a role he filled in 2018.

“It was important that I keep that kind of continuity given how late I was hired,” Dorrell said. “Darrin’s going to do an excellent job being our leader of the offense and Tyson, who has had experience as a head coach and coordinator, will just continue to grow and be better as a defensive coordinator.”

When Dorrell made the decision to keep Summers and Chiaverini — as well as outside linebackers coach Brian Michalowski and running backs coach Darian Hagan — he couldn’t have known that the Buffs would soon find themselves shut out of spring ball because of the pandemic.

But that made keeping some continuity in those positions even more critical. Because the Buffs have had virtually no on-field practice time, they have spent the last few months studying schemes. But since those schemes are familiar, it will mean they have a much better chance of hitting the ground running when they actually do get on the field.

And, those holdovers from the last staff also have a very good understanding of what each player is capable of accomplishing in those schemes.

“Those two guys (coordinators), they understand the scope of their players on both sides of the ball,” Dorrell said. “We’ve changed a few things in terms of scheme on both sides of the ball, but we did it with minimal terminology change. The buzzwords they heard last year are going to be the same this year.”

Continue reading story here

—–

October 8th CT (Covid Testing) – 7-9 a.m. … Administrative/Position meetings (via Zoom) … 

Pencil Depth Chart released 

Note … This is at best a “pencil” (fluid) depth chart; with no spring practice, there is no concrete pre-fall depth chart at this time for the 2020 season …

Note II … This list does not include a number of freshmen from the Recruiting Class of 2020 who may (check that – will) be playing this fall …

(Heights and weights as of July 1, 2020)

OFFENSE

(Multiple)

WIDE RECEIVER
6 Daniel Arias, 6-4, 205, Jr.**
5 La’Vontae Shenault, 6-2, 190, Fr.-2*
87 Alex Smith, 5-9, 185, Soph.

WIDE RECEIVER
3 K.D. Nixon, 5-8, 190, Sr.***
13 Maurice Bell, 6-0, 180, Jr.**
5 La’Vontae Shenault, 6-2, 190, Fr.-2*
82 Jake Groth, 6-4, 195, Soph.

WIDE RECEIVER
14 Dimitri Stanley, 5-11, 185, Soph.**
3 K.D. Nixon, 5-8, 190, Sr.***
10 Jaylon Jackson, 5-10, 180, Jr.**

LEFT TACKLE
78 William Sherman, 6-4, 310, Jr.**
60 Jake Wiley, 6-6, 290, Fr.-RS
77 Jake Wray, 6-5, 310, Fr.

LEFT GUARD
58 Kary Kutsch, 6-5, 310, Sr.**
74 Chance Lytle, 6-7, 320, Jr.**
52 Joshua Jynes, 6-3, 310, Soph.*

CENTER
65 Colby Pursell, 6-4, 305, Jr.**
64 Austin Johnson, 6-4, 300, Fr.-2*

RIGHT GUARD
54 Kanan Ray, 6-4, 295, Soph.*
70 Casey Roddick, 6-4, 335, Soph.*
75 Carson Lee, 6-3, 315, Fr.

RIGHT TACKLE
76 Frank Fillip, 6-7, 295, Soph.-2**
71 Valentin Senn, 6-7, 310, Fr.-RS
72 Nikko Pohahau, 6-5, 285, Fr.-RS

TIGHT END
38 Brady Russell, 6-3, 255, Jr.**
25 Luke Stillwell, 6-4, 220, Soph.-2*
84 Matt Lynch, 6-5, 245, Sr./Gr.-5
80 Nick Fisher, 6-5, 265, Sr./Gr.-5
49 Jake Peters, 6-5, 255, Soph.

QUARTERBACK
7 Tyler Lytle, 6-5, 220, Jr.** OR
4 Sam Noyer, 6-4, 220, Sr.-5*** OR
12 Brendon Lewis, 6-3, 215, Fr.
9 Matt Ryan, 5-11, 190, Jr.
17 Grant Ciccarone, 6-2, 205, Fr.-RS

TAILBACK
8 Alex Fontenot, 6-0, 205, Jr.**
1 Jaren Mangham, 6-2, 215, Soph.* OR
28 Joe Davis, 5-11, 205, Soph.*
23 Jarek Broussard, 5-9, 185, Soph.

=

DEFENSE

(3-4 Base; 12 positions listed)

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
1 Guy Thomas, 6-4, 240, Jr.
4 Jamar Montgomery, 6-2, 240, Jr.-2*

DEFENSIVE END
54 Terrance Lang, 6-7, 285, Jr.**
13 Justin Jackson, 6-2, 280, Jr.
90 Jayden Simon, 6-3, 290, Fr.-RS

NOSE TACKLE
99 Jalen Sami, 6-6, 325, Soph.*
94 Janaz Jordan, 6-4, 305, Jr.* OR
55 Austin Williams, 6-5, 315, Soph.*
92 Lloyd Murray, 6-2, 300, Fr.-2*

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
34 Mustafa Johnson, 6-2, 290, Sr.**
18 Jeremiah Doss, 6-4, 265, Sr.*
91 Na’im Rodman, 6-2, 300, Soph.*

INSIDE LINEBACKER
53 Nate Landman, 6-3, 235, Sr.***
31 Jonathan Van Diest, 6-1, 230, Jr.**
6 Alec Pell, 6-4, 230, Fr.-2*

INSIDE LINEBACKER
36 Akil Jones, 6-0, 235, Sr.-5***
7 Marvin Ham II, 6-1, 225, Fr.-2*
12 Quinn Perry, 6-2, 240, Jr.-2*

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
26 Carson Wells, 6-4, 250, Jr.**
33 Joshka Gustav, 6-3, 235, Fr.-2*

STAR BACK (OLB/S HYBRID)
14 Chris Miller, 6-0, 190, Soph.-2**
20 Will Anglen, 6-3, 195, Fr.

LEFT CORNERBACK
17 K.J. Trujillo, 6-0, 165, Soph.*
27 Nigel Bethel, 6-0, 170, Soph.
21 Christian Gonzalez, 6-2, 200, Fr.

FREE SAFETY
3 Derrion Rakestraw, 6-2, 200, Sr.-5***
22 Toren Pittman, 6-4, 190, Fr.

STRONG SAFETY
5 Mark Perry, 6-2, 200, Soph.*
23 Isaiah Lewis, 6-0, 205, Jr.**

RIGHT CORNERBACK
25 Mekhi Blackmon, 6-0, 170, Jr.-2**
16 Tarik Luckett, 6-3, 180, Soph.*
2 Jaylen Striker, 6-3, 205, Soph.

=

SPECIALISTS

PUNTER
89 Josh Watts, 6-4, 200, Jr.
79 Paulison Fosu, 6-0, 185, Jr.

PLACEKICKER / KICKOFF
48 James Stefanou, 6-1, 195, Sr.***
43 Evan Price, 6-1, 180, Soph.**
93 Tyler Francis, 5-11, 170, Soph.-2*

PUNT RETURN
14 Dimitri Stanley, 5-11, 190, Soph.**
3 K.D. Nixon, 5-8, 190, Sr.***

KICKOFF RETURN
3 K.D. Nixon, 5-8, 190, Sr.***
14 Dimitri Stanley, 5-11, 190, Soph.**

HOLDER
89 Josh Watts, 6-4, 200, Jr.

SNAPPER (Short & Long)
50 Travis Drosos, 6-1, 205, Fr.
38 Brady Russell, 6-3, 255, Jr.**
87 Derek Bedell, 6-3, 215, Fr.-RS

COVERAGE/RETURN UNIT REGULARS
6 Daniel Arias, 6-4, 205, Jr.**
23 Isaiah Lewis, 6-0, 205, Jr.**
28 Joe Davis, 5-11, 210, Soph.*
98 Nico Magri, 6-3, 280, Jr.**
99 Jalen Sami, 6-6, 320, Soph.*

=

INJURED

20 Deion Smith, TB, 6-0, 190, Soph.* (knee)
85 Jared Poplawski, TE, 6-4, 240, Jr.* (knee)

— Seniors (11): Listing with a (-5) indicates fifth-year senior (5, including two grad transfers); the others (6) are fourth-year seniors.
— (-2) indicates a player who played four games or less in 2019 and did not lose a year of eligibility.
— Newcomers: some are listed only at this time to fill in two- or three-deep.
— OR—indicates those listed are considered even (co-first/second/third team status).

—–

41 Replies to “Fall Camp Notes”

  1. On cue from my last post Howell has a feel good article about the O line thats a little sketchy from where I sit. It was a few words from KD and other than that basically an interview with Sherman. Little about the rest of the line and no words at all from Rodrigue.
    Still a little queasy about this especially when we have QBs that are going to need all the help they can get. If Lewis the most mobile of the 3….why not?

    And how about Joshka Gustav? Sounds like and even looks like a young Ah-nuld. Here is hoping he earns the nickname “the Terminator.”

    1. Everyone gets an extra year of eligibility. No four game rule this year.
      So no reason not to play the freshmen – at least on special teams.
      A pure meritocracy this fall …

  2. When you cant say something nice dont say anything at all.

    Not a word about the O line in the scrimmage yesterday….sigh…maybe KD was speaking of them about “cleaning some things up”

    1. For you and Les … I’ve posted the reaction from the local Michigan State paper: “a 38-27 loss to Rutgers that’ll go down as one of the low points in program history”.
      Enjoy!!

    1. I actually do get the emails for the Zoom interviews, but I don’t feel comfortable asking questions. I am not technically a journalist, and Dave Plati might get some grief from the other writers for letting me participate.
      Dave was nice enough to put me on his media update list, so I do get breaking news as soon as it becomes official. I don’t want to jeopardize that connection …

      1. Holy cow, you are really short changing yourself! I consider your site one of the best for not only the aggregation work you do but for the opinion pieces you do! You definitely deserve to ask questions if you have a good one. I hit Howell up with one of mine during his weekly chat and he asked it so I am sure you could crowd source a couple questions from us as well.

  3. I like the fact that the o line did not change Technique between the last o line coach and the new one. I think this will allow the o line to continue to develop with a significant change. We may be better off in this coaching change than we feared. If the o line can give better protection and open bigger holes a new QB will be ok.

  4. Yo Stuart,

    I agree with ep. The clown at CBS knows nothing, as do most of the so-called pundits. If you gets lots of hits from certain fan bases… their “ranking” of teams changes drastically.

    They certainly aren’t looking at last year. Let’s see, what did the Buffs do last year?

    #33 Arizona State (AP ranked #24 at the time), lost at home to Colorado.
    #45 Washington, lost to Colorado.
    #56 Nebraska (AP Top 25 at the time), lost to Colorado for the 2nd straight year.
    #59 Stanford, lost to Colorado.
    #88 Colorado State, lost to Colorado.

    And if you look at the AP Top 25 each week this year, it’s week after week of highly rated teams getting destroyed by unranked teams… which then find themselves in the Top 25 until the following week when they get ripped by yet another unranked team.

    Good golly, two of the top 7 teams have already lost a game, and four of the top 11. The whole thing is a political joke. Nationwide, fans are the victims of click-bait. Rabid fan bases have teams that are ranked way ahead of where they really belong because those fans pay the bills for the web pundits.

    PULLEEZE! Some of the teams in the TOP 25 would be lucky to win a single game if they played in a Power Five conference

    Mark / Boulderdevil

  5. Hey, am I really missing that much? How are we ranked so low? Do they really hate Dorrell that much? Discount we beat Stanford and Washington last year? What is driving this negativity? Loss of Montez? Dorrell?

    1. Does anyone really care what these guys who are lucky to have a job…especially someone from CBS has to say? All commercial media outlets are always playing to ratings and in football that means the biggest and/or most rabid fan base. Having said that I would still like to hear this CBS geek explain the CSU ranking. I’m sure the author doesnt have any more expertise than any other fan after you get to number 40 and 50.
      I’m sure Mr. CBS looked at our dismal QB situation and looked no further. I sure hope that isnt what defines the coming season. If we go 0 and 2 to start, which odds on are winnable games you may see some QB changes.

      1. I have recently become more enthused about Lytle. He was highly ranked. Has the physical make up, and I remember liking him when I saw him in the spring games more than I liked Montez……

    1. The only word is that there is a medical clearance issue.
      He did get his academic act together this summer, so that doesn’t seem to be the issue. There was optimism about him rejoining the team, but that was back in the days when it appeared that the Pac-12 would be playing a spring schedule.
      I wouldn’t anticipate seeing him on the field this fall, but – fingers crossed – he could be in a CU uniform for the 2021 season.

  6. “Our first and second teams are really, really close in terms of there’s really not much of a drop-off in those areas”

    I guess one could take that as a positive or a negateve.

    I take the Positive.

    Go Buffs 7 and 0

    1. I agree! And I am also taking the positive. I can’t tell you how often over the last decade I thought our 1st team could play with most teams in the conference but the drop off to the second team was just so steep that when they came in we invariably got beat bad. Even last year I remember watching the defensive line rotations and the fall off was pretty deep. We all obviously saw the fall off early in the year for the db’s. That was just last year. I feel that has been so many years in the past. Now let’s hope this isn’t just positive thinking and actually shows reality……

  7. I like the idea of going with a QB that has some back ground in our offense for the early stages or the whole year. Now since I don’t think that we will have a winning record coach should get the winner of the competition spotted by the end of next week. Then Lewis should be inserted as the #2 QB and start taking as many reps as possible with the #1 offense and being sent into games for a few select plays to get him acclimated (of course add more plays to his repertoire as the learning curve is broadened). First I think this will keep him interested and hopefully make it so he does not want to transfer out. Secondly Noyer or Lytle will get his feelings hurt no matter what happens. It’s the nature of the beast. We have to prepare for next year.

  8. Sparaco, spoiled child from Cherry Creek that moved on to IMG and then quit on CU for the second time. Can we quit talking about this entitled human?

    1. I had heard Sparraco had serious issues with Macintyre’s coaching. He moved on and then returned when Mac was gone. He sat out a year to prove his dedication, he showed real promise as a freshman but so many do. I am excited to see how he does this year.

  9. As a Buff fan I am certainly hoping Noyer doesnt become annoying and Lytle doesnt become light on his performance. If one steps up and becomes simply a good enough QB to put 20 to 30 points on the board I feel the D, which is much more solidified, will do the rest.
    I am already annoyed with Langsdorf for immediately relegating Lewis to the bench when otherwise all he has to work with is 2 guys that couldnt break into the starting lineup and previous coaches hesitated to put in at garbage time.
    Lewis is a player who I would assume his stats, in the most competitive level of Texas high school football, are probably better than the other QBs. Sounds like he is already putting in the work in the pre practice workouts and is confident and motivated. Give him a chance while game time experience is still fresh in his mind. Langsdorf himself said Game time experience is the most important type.
    Free Lewis and give him a chance and Buff fans an extra chance.

    1. I was also disappointed that Lewis did not get a chance. It seemed like Langsdorf had a relationship with Noyer and convinced him to come back to the team with a promise to compete for the starting job. With only 3 weeks to decide on a starting qb though I think I can see why they chose to narrow it down to just 2 guys so those guys were getting serious reps. I think I would rather have seen Lewis/ Lytle instead but I can see a head coach and qb coach going with someone older since their livelihoods are on the line. Still would have wanted at least a week with all 3. The only thing I can think of is basically they will have 6 years to play 5 with Lewis.

  10. Yo Stuart,
    Methinks that everyone is just going to have to let the QB battle work itself out. The good thing for the quarterbacks is that the head coach KD is an offensive coach. Both the Carpetbagger and Liar were defensive coaches who only wanted the QB to control the game and not make mistakes. Neither wanted the offense to light it up. I think their guidance to the offensive coordinators was was not to screw things up and play it safe at all times.

    I think Dorrell will be more offensive minded. I think he realizes that having an offense that can score a lot of points helps the defense by taking other teams out of their their comfort zone. Every play is a scoring opportunity… unless your goal is to “keep it close and hope for the best” like CU has been playing for years. Another thing that drove me nuts about the the Carpetbagger is that when he finally let a backup play they would do nothing but hand the ball off. How do expect to get your backups ready to play when you don’t let them run the offense?

    None of the CU quarterbacks has any experience in games. We don’t know how they will play until the time comes. It’s a much different thing to start the game and build a rhythm than to come in after the team is way behind after the starting QB has been getting hammered.

    Trust in Dorrell to lead these young men and to give them what they need to succeed.

    Mark / Boulderdevil

  11. Give HCKD A grade up until this point…but now the rubber meets the road.
    Has he said what this team will do? In other words, what our identity will be?

    Dirty Mel did have it right, from Day 1 he said what he/the team would be about and was very, very consistent/focused in his messaging/approach. That tends to work in all organizations/’teams’ to have foundational values that you work to instill daily…and thereby change/develop culture.

    1. The one that stood out…is that we’d be mentally tough(er), b/c of course of the losing mentality. Didn’t conquer it as evidence in the final record…regardless, many saw it starting to change.

  12. So I watched the 2018 Utah game again to watch Chev’s play calling again. I really hated the wide receiver tunnel screen calls. It doesn’t matter that it should work on paper they were a disaster and he shouldn’t have called them. It became really evident that our offensive line was getting pushed over by Utah’s D, so it was hard to judge other than to say, the ball needed to come out of Montez’s hand in 2 seconds, and it did not seem like they had plays set up for that. But Lytle came in that game and played. He had some good things happen and some bad. Frankly when he had a good pocket he was doing pretty well except that time he got baited into the interception. I liked that he threw to more people than just Viska. He threw a real good ball. But it was clear that the game especially when they were blitzing was moving too fast for him. Last comment, I really hate the last thing Noyer said about the QB get down, get out of bounds as the mantra. I get it that you do t want your starting QB hurt but let them use their tools to make some yards. Oh one more thing about the Utah game related. It was clear, Montez was never going to keep the ball and run so the defense never honored it. And why would you when even if you do the above will run for a couple yards and then slide 5 yards in front of someone who will hit him. If you are going to run the type of offense where the QB may keep the ball you have to let the QBs run and potentially get hit. Just my opinion, but if I was coaching a defense against that I wouldn’t account for the QB becuase most of the time if he does keep it he is only going to gain a few yards before he has to slide, or at best pay it some sort of lip service.

    1. I’d agree very big year for Chev…hopefully he is better as a play caller this time around. He installed some nice plays…but they didn’t seem to have ‘extensions’ from the same look. For example the WR Screen and calling it over/over again…that’s fine but in there you fake the WR screen and hit em’ deep, and other variations from the same look. Viska in the Cat was another one…it was the same every time (except once he tried to throw it)…instead of throwing it there should be a reverse or option pitch look off it.

  13. Interesting that Noyer is getting a lot of reps. The poll on this site has very few votes for Noyer. From the limited action I’ve seen, he seems like a good practice (read: great Spring Game stats) QB but that doesn’t necessarily translate to games. Seems better to give the reps, particularly in a short season, to guys who will be here next year as well.

  14. So I actually liked that he was not satisfied with the first practice. He wants better execution. Mel Tucker wanted physicality, but then air force came in and out executed us. 5 straight losses and simplifying the schemes before they we actually began to execute…. you have to have both but if all you want is your guys running as hard as they can into each other you will end up with injuries (which we did) and you will end up being out-executed (which we were). Not saying the emphases on physicality was bad, but I think he lost how important execution was and the team paid the price.

    1. I agree with your premise that you need both, but disagree with the Air Force game. Air Force was the more physical team as evidenced by CU’s pathetic 3.3 yds/rush (take away Laviska’s 3 runs out of the wildcat and the average drops to 2.6 yds/rush) and having Montez chuck it in the air 43 times because we couldn’t sustain a run game. CU stopped the losing slide against Stanford and Washington by being more physical than those teams, plus Summers and Tucker brought on a bunch of exotic blitz packages (because the defensive front wasn’t physical enough to get pressure on their own) which does lend credence to better execution. In reality, all the young guys like Perry and Trujillo were just more comfortable since they had some reps and were able to execute the plan better. Any new staff takes a few games to really know the personnel and young guys thrown in the fire early always get more comfortable after reps. That’s why execution was better later in the year–not necessarily that Tucker didn’t place an emphasis on it.

      In nearly all cases service academy teams win by out executing their opponent, but from my vantage point in the stands Air Force was the more physical team that day.

  15. I am excited for the next couple of weeks to here what the coaches say after some live practices. The coaches have been able to see the guys in drills so I suspect they have a some sort of idea what they have and the 2 coordinators return so I think we might be better off than we fear. I think it all boils down to QB. If Lytle doesn’t just jump out and grab it I wonder how Lewis will look. The idea that as a freshman he is breaking lifting records for QBs reminds me of a certain wide receiver who did the same and proved to be pretty good.

  16. I’m excited for these guys, some good talent & I think that these guys have stayed tight these last 6 months compared to some of the other teams. What I mean is some teams have had guys opt out, others had others dissent in some ways or transfer, but CU’s players seemed like they were just concentrating on doing a little more behind the scenes than some of those other teams were; they were still building on last year when they got a new HC & staff, but they still seamed to be more united than some of other teams.

    Think of being able to play (if they finish season) w/o using any eligibility, plus 4 games next year w/ the ability to RS & a gray shirt like Lewis did & a player could get 6 1/2 years of school, including summers & a good SA can get a PHD; at least a dual major & a Masters.

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