Three weeks into spring football, and with one week to go, Karl Dorrell is pleased with the work being done by the Colorado Buffaloes.
It hasn’t been perfect, of course, but CU’s third-year head coach walked away from Saturday’s scrimmage at Folsom Field – the 11th of 15 spring practices – satisfied with the body of work.
“We’ve accomplished quite a bit,” he said.
Injuries continue to plague the Buffs, as key players missed Saturday’s session, which was closed to the public and media. Yet, on both sides of the ball, Dorrell was encouraged.
“I think offensively, for a new offense, there’s a lot of confidence in it with the players, which is always encouraging when they feel good about it,” Dorrell said. “It means that they’re going to really work hard at being a really dynamic offense.”
CU’s offense sputtered at times in an open scrimmage on April 9 but had a better day on Saturday as the Buffs continue to learn the scheme installed by new coordinator Mike Sanford.
“I think offensively it looks a little bit better, their operation,” Dorrell said. “We ran the ball, I think, much better. I thought we threw the ball and made some good plays in the passing game.”
Defensively, the Buffs had their moments, too. In particular, sophomore cornerback Kaylin Moore had a big interception in a key moment.
CU has a redzone competition between offense and defense in which both teams can earn points for success. The first side to 18 wins. In the final moments of the scrimmage, the offense was looking for the game-sealing score when quarterback Brendon Lewis slid to his left, looking for a receiver downfield. He then fired the ball in the direction of Daniel Arias.
Moore tracked the whole play, however, and stepped in front of the pass for an interception to seal a victory for the defense.
“He was in the right position,” Dorrell said. “They had a little pass rush on B-Lew and he was trying to move into a pocket I think he just moved inside. When he’s climbing in the pocket, he kind of lost vision of the receiver, so he’s kind of guessing where he was and threw it right to Kaylin. I was standing right behind (Lewis), so I know what his lack of vision was, but Kaylin played it perfectly. … I’m sure B-Lew will learn from the mistake and obviously Kaylin did a great job of being disciplined in the play.”
Dorrell said the offense wasn’t as vanilla Saturday as it was during the open scrimmage on April 9.
“We added a few more things today,” he said. “There was more a little more passing game going on with the offense and we wanted to have that presence within our system today. I thought we ran the ball. It was a good balanced day today, offensively, and then defensively they hung in there. … I liked how that ended. Even though there was banter, I didn’t really like that part of it, but I did like how they stepped up and kept them out of the endzone most of the time.”
Arias continues to have a stellar spring and scored a touchdown on Saturday.
“I’m excited about what his future is going to look like because here’s a guy that I think in the last couple of years, he hasn’t been targeted all that much and I think he’s gonna be a big part of what we are in the future,” Dorrell said. “So it’s good to see him come alive. You can tell he’s becoming a better player because he’s getting more attention.”
Sophomore outside linebacker Alvin Williams made some big plays in the backfield on April 9 and did so again on Saturday.
“Alvin was in the backfield quite a bit,” Dorrell said. “He’s really catching fire. Really enjoying his new role being an edge player. He’s doing really well.”
CU had only nine healthy offensive linemen, so guards Tommy Brown and Casey Roddick had to rotate in with the second team offense. … Running back Alex Fontenot did not play Saturday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury. Dorrell said the Buffs hope to get him back for next week. … Dorrell added that Jayle Stacks, Deion Smith and walk-on Charlie Offerdahl all had some good runs. … Dorrell also praised the work of defensive linemen Chance Main, Na’im Rodman and Jalen Sami on Saturday. “Because we have so much more depth up front, we have two solid groups of D-linemen that there won’t be that big a drop off,” he said. “I think that’s gonna be huge for us defensively this year.”