Colorado’s top playmakers at receiver were relatively quiet in Friday’s season opener.
The Buffaloes aren’t concerned, however.
In CU’s 35-7 win against Northern Colorado, La’Vontae Shenault had two catches for 23 yards, Dimitri Stanley one catch for seven yards and Brenden Rice didn’t have any catches.
The trio isn’t likely to be that quiet often this year.
“It’s still moving forward,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said of the passing game. “It really ties all in with the guy that’s really throwing the football.”
Freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis was making his first career start last week and the Buffs didn’t have him do too much as a passer. He was 10-for-15 for 102 yards and threw a touchdown to fellow freshman Montana Lemonious-Craig.
“(Lewis) is going to get better and I believe our receivers are going to be there for him when those things occur,” Dorrell said. “We threw the ball 15 times; it wasn’t a lot of throws. I think we left some plays out there in those 15 times, so we just have to get that timing continually worked on as we progress through the weeks of practice and training. I feel that those things are really going to come along pretty soon here.”
Lewis knows the value of getting the ball in the hands of his top receivers, although he’s doesn’t want to force the ball to them if the play isn’t there.
“It’s important to me to get playmakers the ball and all those dudes you named are very good playmakers,” Lewis said. “But I do try to limit turnovers because turnovers lose you games. I don’t like throwing interceptions … but I do need to take more chances and have a little bit more trust in my guys because they’re really good at what they do.”
Linebacker Nate Landman felt physically ready to play on Friday, less than nine months after suffering a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. Emotionally, he had to enjoy the moment.
“Before we ran out for the coin toss and stuff during the warm-up, I had to kind of step back and take it all in again, like I was playing for the first time,” he said. “I kind of just took a deep breath and was super thankful. It was emotional, but it was just nothing but excitement for me. … Super excited to get out there and play the game that I love that I’ve been rehabbing to get back on the field to play again.
“It was better than expected. I was able to play a lot and it felt great flying around and it was emotional seeing my family in the stands, too. It’s just a great experience overall.”
Landman finished with four tackles in 47 snaps played, a relatively low number for CU’s most prolific tackler over the past three years. Prior to Friday, he had played at least 40 snaps in 25 games and never recorded fewer than eight tackles in those games.
Landman’s impact was felt on Friday, however. He recorded two third-down stops, a tackle at the line of scrimmage and broke up a UNC pass on a third-down play to force the Bears to punt.
As of Tuesday afternoon, CU had sold about 53,000 tickets for Saturday’s game. Empower Field at Mile High has a capacity of 76,125, which means plenty of seats are available.
Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com. Search for “Colorado football” to find the event and purchase tickets.
Landman was impressed with Ralphie VI’s debut run last Friday and said, “I’ve watched that video about eight times and seeing her do her thing and it’s great. That’s the greatest tradition in college football.” … In seven games under Dorrell, CU has averaged 222.1 rushing yards per game. Texas A&M gave up 226 yards to Kent State on Saturday, but finished second nationally against the run in 2020, allowing just 92.0 yards per game.