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CU football notes: Buffs won’t announce starting QB before opener

Colorado quarterbacks Brendon Lewis, left, and J.T. Shrout during practice before a scrimmage at Folsom Field in Boulder on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Colorado quarterbacks Brendon Lewis, left, and J.T. Shrout during practice before a scrimmage at Folsom Field in Boulder on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

Colorado coaches know who will start at quarterback in the season opener on Friday against TCU.

The public will have to wait until Friday, however.

Head coach Karl Dorrell said Saturday that he and the staff have elected not to announce who will start at quarterback against the Horned Frogs on Friday (8 p.m., TV: ESPN) at Folsom Field and that the competition between incumbent Brendon Lewis and JT Shrout has been tight.

“I think it helps us in our process of what we do for this week and it keeps (TCU) having to prepare for both,” Dorrell said. “I’m sure they’re digging for information on the last time JT played and obviously the work of how B-Lew played last year.

“We did talk to both of them. They know what our game plan is, in terms of who’s starting.”

TCU, led by first-year coach Sonny Dykes, has its own quarterback competition and isn’t announcing a starter, either. Dykes recently said all three of TCU’s top candidates – Max Duggan, Chandler Morris, and Sam Jackson – could play against CU.

Dorrell said his own decision wasn’t impacted by TCU not naming a starter.

“Our competition didn’t have anything to do with what they’re doing,” Dorrell said. “The way that we felt, the competition was so close. I feel if you’re going to try to beat a guy out (who was the starter), your statistical numbers and your production, your consistency has to be above and beyond who you’re unseating and that wasn’t the case.

“B-Lew was better in this category, JT was better in this category. It was kind of like that. It was very close; not enough to unseat B-Lew.”

Dorrell said the two quarterbacks feed off each other and CU is ready to possibly play both against TCU.

“We’re trying to leave our options open with both of those guys, and they understand what we’re trying to do from a game plan standpoint,” he said. “Like I told them, they’re both going to play and we think that a good thing.  That’s how we’ll prepare through the week and see how that looks Friday night.”

Injury update

Three projected starters who have spent most of the month on the sidelines could be ready to play Friday.

Dorrell said offensive lineman Tommy Brown, receiver RJ Sneed and safety Trevor Woods are all practicing and all could be in the lineup against TCU.

CU released its first depth chart of the fall on Saturday, with Woods listed as the starter at strong safety, Brown as a co-starter with Austin Johnson at right guard and Sneed as a second-string receiver.

Cornerback Nigel Bethel Jr. has also been out all month, but is working his way back, too. He’s listed third string at corner.

“We feel like we’re going to be in fairly good health going into the first game,” Dorrell said. “I feel good about that.”

Depth chart notes

Aside from quarterback, the other key position battle on offense has been at center. CU didn’t announce a leader there, either, listing Austin Johnson or Noah Fenske at the top.

The coaches also don’t list definitive starters at running back (Alex Fontenot or Deion Smith), edge (Guy Thomas or Jamar Montgomery) and Mike linebacker (Josh Chandler-Semedo or Quinn Perry).

Listed as starters at the other inside linebacker spots are Robert Barnes and Marvin Ham II.

On the offensive line, Frank Fillip (left tackle), Casey Roddick (left guard) and Jake Wiley (right tackle) are listed as starters, with right guard and center unsettled.

Notable

On Saturday, the Buffs wrapped up their first week of game preparation as they worked on the TCU game plan. They will take the day off Sunday before continuing game prep Monday. … Several Buffs will play their first game at CU on Friday. Dorrell said he’s not worried about any of them being leaders yet. “I’m not asking them to do any extra thing other than it’s your first college game at Folsom Field, it’s going to be loud; they’ll have a lot of anxiety and all that stuff,” he said. “I gotta get them to hone in and focus on their job.” … On the depth chart, receiver Chase Penry is listed as the top punt returner, while cornerback Nikko Reed is the top kickoff returner.

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