Skip to content

CU Buffs’ Karl Dorrell off to fast-paced start

Colorado’s new head football coach has been busy in first nine days on the job

BOULDER, CO - FEBRUARY 24, 2020:  New CU football coach, Karl Dorrell, is introduce at a press conference in Boulder on February 24, 2020.
(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
BOULDER, CO – FEBRUARY 24, 2020: New CU football coach, Karl Dorrell, is introduce at a press conference in Boulder on February 24, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Every day that Karl Dorrell shows up to his new office, he marvels at the view outside his window of the Flatirons rising above Folsom Field.

Only for a quick moment, however.

Dorrell hasn’t had much time to do anything outside of work since he was introduced as Colorado’s new head football coach on Feb. 24.

“It was warp speed early, but now it’s just fast,” Dorrell told Buffzone on Tuesday. “It happened really fast. I’m just really excited. We’re building our staff, we’re hiring people, we’re interviewing our players. There’s a lot of stuff going on, so I’ve been very busy.”

After previous head coach Mel Tucker left the Buffs on Feb. 12 to take the job at Michigan State, CU’s football world was shaken. A 12-day search led to hiring Dorrell and he’s spent the first nine days on the job restoring some stability and getting the Buffs ready for the start of spring practices on March 16.

Dorrell said he’s already individually met with all the players and he’s impressed with their commitment.

“They want to win,” Dorrell said. “Their attitude is great. They’ve had a really good offseason. So, when Mel left to take the new job, they stayed together and had a really good offseason of working and staying together and I told them I was very appreciative of that. We’re going to build up this team with the attitude of trying to be very successful this first season. The staff is going to represent that and dedicate themselves to being great teachers and getting our systems in.

“There’s a lot of good momentum that’s really being felt right now within the program, so we just need to get to work.”

Part of that work has included building the coaching staff. Dorrell retained four assistants from Tucker’s staff – Darrin Chiaverini (offensive coordinator/receivers), Darian Hagan (running backs), Brian Michalowski (outside linebackers) and Tyson Summers (defensive coordinator) – leaving him with six spots to fill.

Dorrell declined to talk about new hires until they become official, but Buffzone has reported this week that four of the openings will be filled by Taylor Embree (tight ends), Demetrice Martin (secondary), Mitch Rodrigue (offensive line) and Chris Wilson (defensive line).

CU will also hire a quarterbacks coach and one other assistant. With the final assistant, the Buffs could go with a secondary coach or a special teams coordinator.

“I’m considering both options, either having a coordinator or having (special teams) split up within the staff,” Dorrell said. “I’m more leaning towards splitting it up within the staff. That’s what I’ve done before and it’s been pretty effective. I do want coaches involved in special teams, so that’s why it makes sense to do it that way. So it hasn’t been completely decided, but that’s that I’m leaning to do.”

Throughout the first nine days, Dorrell has also talked with CU’s 2020 recruiting class.

Between high school and junior college players, Tucker added 23 players for the 2020 class, with seven of them already on campus.

Chiaverini, who served as interim coach during the transition, played a key role in keeping the class together and Dorrell said he’s had a good response since taking the job.

“I think the parents and the kids have been very, very positive and responsive to me being here and it was good getting a chance to visit with all of them,” Dorrell said. “They’re all on board, ready to go. So we’re very appreciative and happy that it’s a stable group coming in here.”

Meanwhile, Dorrell and his staff are preparing for spring practices. Dorrell said the team wanted to keep the original spring schedule of starting March 16 and “we’re going to work overtime as a staff to get ourselves ready to go on the 16th.”

Dorrell said he’s looking forward to seeing the Buffs on the field later this month.

“I think the first week will be big, fundamentally-based, just because you don’t want too much information going in before spring break,” he said. “So, it’s going to be a good week for me to get a great evaluation of the players in terms of all the positions and seeing the talent and different things we do. It’s going to be a great week for me to get my eyes on them.”


Although the 15-practice spring schedule is still being finalized, Dorrell said there will be some practices open to media and/or fans. “Obviously it’s not going to be open all the time, but we want you guys to come out and see what we do,” he said. … CU will hold its annual pro timing day on March 11 for the 2019 seniors who are looking to play professionally.