The progress might be slower than hoped, but Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell is focusing on the signs of growth with freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis.
Lewis has struggled as a passer, completing 52.1% of his passes (38-of-73) for 313 yards and one touchdown for the Buffs this season. Although Lewis threw for just 67 yards in Saturday’s 35-13 loss at Arizona State, Dorrell saw some growth.
“Brendon a couple times in the pocket stayed in there against some heavy pressure on third down, and hit a couple of third down conversions, which is something that he’s improved on,” Dorrell said Monday during his weekly press conference. “We’re scrutinizing every single detail as you can imagine of developing his progression week after week, so we’re not letting any bad habits enter into the equation. We’re trying to eliminate the bad and to build on the things that require for him to be successful.”
In the first quarter, Lewis delivered a 10-yard pass to Dimitri Stanley on a third-and-8 play. On another play, Lewis stayed in the pocket and threw the ball while drawing a roughing the passer penalty that moved the sticks. He had another third down throw in the third quarter that was on target but dropped.
“He took it on the chin and sometimes learning as a quarterback to deliver an accurate pass knowing that you’re going to get hit on the chin, that’s part of the job so to speak,” Dorrell said. “He’s learning a little bit about that process about being in the pocket and he’s learning outside of the pocket that he has to protect himself when he’s out running, too. We don’t expect him to run through people and he’s got to be more protective of himself and sliding and getting to the next play, too.
“He’s learning a lot of really good things right now. We are eliminating the bad issues and really trying to build on the good. … I think the bad habits are easy to fix because those are the things we’re scrutinizing on a daily basis. It’s really being productive with the good training and development that he’s getting and seeing the progress, that he sees the progress in that too.”
On Monday, defensive lineman Lloyd Murray Jr. announced on social media that he has put his name into the NCAA transfer portal.
“I came into college at the age of 17 and now being 20 I learned so much about myself as a football player and most importantly as a person,” Murray posted on social media.
Murray played 43 snaps on defense for the Buffs this season, recording one tackle and tying for the team lead with four quarterback pressures. During his three seasons with the Buffs, Murray played in five games, recording three tackles in 83 snaps.
“That’s kind of a case-by-case scenario,” Dorrell said of players leaving. “Lloyd’s case may not affect anybody else’s case and his is unique with his reasons for leaving but usually that’s their own personal case by case scenarios dealing with their own situations.
“It’s going to happen. That’s going to be a part of college football. Until we say there’s no portal anymore, it’s going to be around. That’s just the nature of the business now.”
Robinson in rotation
True freshman receiver Ty Robinson is working his way into the regular rotation, not only on passing plays but as a run blocker. Robinson played a season-high 31 snaps against Arizona State, including a 26-yard gain on a jet sweep that was CU’s longest “pass” play of the year.
“He’s been a pleasant, youthful surprise; he and (true freshman) Chase Penry,” Dorrell said. “Both those guys are factors in what we’re doing offensively. They’re in the rotation and we have a lot of confidence in both of them. Ty, he’s made a few plays.
“He had a nice play in the (ASU) game, but he also dropped the third down pass that it wasn’t perfect, but he’s got to make. That’s part of the growing process with a young player. We’re excited about what his future looks like and he’s already helping us. He’s getting better week after week, so we hope to continue that progress.”
Defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson, who is returning to the team this week, will wear the No. 34 jersey he’s worn throughout his CU career. Linebacker Zephaniah Maea, who has worn No. 34 this year, will switch to No. 40. … Robinson has caught two passes for 35 yards, while Penry has three for 30 yards.