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CU Buffs’ Karl Dorrell has eye on conferences trying to play

Colorado head coach hopes successful efforts to play could impact quicker return for Pac-12

Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell told CBS-4 on Monday night that he is keeping a watchful eye on how schools with programs still planning for fall football handle any potential COVID-19 outbreaks.
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell told CBS-4 on Monday night that he is keeping a watchful eye on how schools with programs still planning for fall football handle any potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

Karl Dorrell is hoping a successful return of college football in the South can get his Colorado Buffaloes back on the field sooner.

Appearing as a guest on CBS-4’s Monday Live, the Colorado head football coach said he will be watching closely as the ACC, Big 12 and SEC continue to push forward with a season, despite the Pac-12 and Big Ten electing to postpone until at least the spring because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re kind of watching with careful eyes right now, just to see how they’re getting ready to start camps and get into practices,” Dorrell said. “We’re curious as to how they’re going to handle the pandemic, in terms of some issues that come up and is this something that can be isolated and be controlled?”

There has been mixed reaction around the country after the Big Ten and Pac-12 decided on Aug. 11 not to play this fall. Both conferences, citing advice from their medical experts, decided it was not safe to play football and other fall sports at this time.

Among the Power 5 conferences, the ACC, Big 12 and SEC have elected to try to play,  and there have been mixed reactions to that choice, as well.

The American Athletic, Conference USA and Sun Belt have also elected to try to play, while the MAC and Mountain West – featuring Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming – have postponed their seasons.

Oklahoma, from the Big 12, had nine players test positive Friday after taking the week off while students moved back to campus.

The University of North Carolina, from the ACC, announced Monday that 130 students have recently tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the school to move all undergraduate classes online. The athletic department, however, made a statement that “we still are expecting to play this fall.”

Tulsa, from the AAC, announced Monday that it will pause football practice because eight players tested positive and 16 are in quarantine.

Many experts have expected positive test results as campuses open and practices begin. Dorrell said he’s curious to see how schools handle it.

“I’m actually looking forward to seeing how they respond with some of these things that could occur because maybe it’s an avenue for us to possibly rethink our situation,” he said. “Who knows? I’m curious to see how their camps go and how they’re able to manage their numbers, in terms of their healthy numbers versus some of them that get infected.

“We’re all on high alert. We’re just going to watch and see what develops, but I’m hoping for the best, to be honest with you. I think that might help us and maybe moving up our situation a little bit sooner.”

Dorrell also addressed the potential issue of seniors opting out, as CSU receiver Warren Jackson did last weekend.

CU has just eight seniors, but three in particular that could be NFL draft picks next spring: defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson, linebacker Nate Landman and receiver KD Nixon.

Dorrell spoke with the seniors on Friday, he said, and told them one positive is the possibility of a 2021 spring season.

Dorrell said he approached the NCAA last week about seniors opting out of a spring season and being able to play in the fall of 2021.

“They didn’t have an answer for me on that yet,” Dorrell said. “When I get back an answer from the NCAA sometime this week in terms of that option, if there is an option, of bypassing the spring session for the fall, that might create a little easier avenue for those guys.”

Landman, who has earned preseason All-Pac-12 by several publications, is likely CU’s top NFL prospect, but Dorrell hopes none of the seniors rush into a decision.

“(Landman) is a guy that I’m sure is contemplating the thought of maybe foregoing (the season),” Dorrell said. “I just told he and Mustafa and KD, I said, ‘We have plenty of time here to kind of sort through the tea leaves, so to speak, and just read the horizon a little bit better. We have probably until November to figure out what’s the best plan for you guys.’”

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