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Injury to QB JT Shrout mars CU Buffs’ scrimmage

Sophomore injures knee, but severity unknown

Colorado quarterback J.T. Shrout runs the ball during a scrimmage at Folsom Field in Boulder on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Colorado quarterback J.T. Shrout runs the ball during a scrimmage at Folsom Field in Boulder on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

Colorado’s competition for the starting quarterback job may not be over, but it took an unfortunate turn Saturday.

During the Buffaloes’ first scrimmage of preseason camp, held at Folsom Field, sophomore quarterback JT Shrout went down with a knee injury. The transfer from Tennessee screamed in pain and was on the ground for a few minutes before he was carted off the field. Head coach Karl Dorrell said the Buffs aren’t sure of the severity of the injury.

“We’re hopeful that it’s not too serious,” Dorrell said.

Shrout, who has battled with Brendon Lewis for the starting job all offseason, was injured without any contact from another player. He was running with the ball and made a cut to his right when he went down.

“He was out on air and he kind of tried to make a move and his knee buckled a little bit,” Dorrell said. “I’m sure it scared him a little bit.

“It’s one of those things with football, sometimes that happens. But we’re hoping for the best and sending our prayers. He’s the type of kid anyway, whatever the situation is, he’ll bounce back from it, and try to get back as quickly as he can.”

When Shrout was on the cart, his teammates gathered around him to pat him on the back before he was taken off the field.

“It’s heartbreaking,” receiver Dimitri Stanley said. “We don’t know the extent of his injury, so I can’t really dive too deep into that, but all we can do is really just rally around him and kind of pick him up, bring him along with us.”

If Shrout is forced to miss an extended period of time, the Buffs’ depth at quarterback will become a bigger concern than it already was coming into camp.

At the start of the summer, CU had six quarterbacks on the roster and expected a three-man battle for the job between Shrout, Lewis and incumbent starter Sam Noyer.

Then, Noyer decided to transfer to Oregon State. That was followed by walk-on Grant Ciccarone, who had a good spring, transferring to Eastern Illinois. (Another former CU quarterback, Tyler Lytle, transferred to Massachusetts last winter.)

That left CU with only four quarterbacks, three on scholarship. Behind Shrout and Lewis is a pair of true freshmen: Drew Carter and Jordan Woolverton, a walk-on from Durango High School.

“We have what we have,” Dorrell said. “If (Shrout) is going to be out an extended period of time, we have three to work with and Drew has to get more reps and we’ll get him ready to play. That’s our job as coaches to do that. Jordan Woolverton, he’d be the third right now. We don’t have anyone else.

“We kind of went into last year with a very thin group, and it looks like it might be a similar circumstance again, but we have guys that are capable of being successful and playing the position well and we’ll do what we need to do to try to keep that position healthy moving forward and hopefully sustaining that health as we go.”

On the bright side for CU, Lewis had a good performance in Saturday’s scrimmage and was clearly the Buffs’ top quarterback for the day. He moved the offense consistently down the field and threw three touchdown passes, to Stanley and tight ends Jared Poplawski and Alec Pell.

“I thought B-Lew did some really good things,” Dorrell said.

Lewis, a second-year freshman, didn’t take any deep shots through the air, but was sharp with this throws and ran for a couple of first downs.

“He’s a baller, period. Point blank,” Stanley said. “You guys saw what he did when he got into the (Alamo Bowl against Texas on Dec. 29), first game of the year for him last year. He got out, did his thing, treats it like a practice. He balls in practice and I already know what he can do on the field.”

Carter, a three-star recruit who enrolled at CU in January, has been the clear No. 3 this fall. On Saturday, he got a chance to work with the second-team offense and led the Buffs to a pair of field goals in red zone situations.

“Drew Carter did OK, for his first scrimmage,” Dorrell said. “I thought the operation side was a little slow, as you can imagine with freshmen. But I think it was good to get him some time and experience out there playing and he had a few nice plays, too.”

Woolverton also led a couple of drives with the second-team offense.

While Carter and Woolverton have a lot of work to do to be ready to play, Stanley said the players will rally around them if their name is called.

“They’ve been right there with B-Lew and JT, so at any given moment they can hop in and be ready, and I’ve got full trust in them,” he said.

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