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CU Buffs keeping QB plan under wraps ahead of matchup with Air Force

University of Colorado Boulder's J.T. Shrout ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s J.T. Shrout scrambles against Texas Christian University on Sept. 2, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Like a week ago, Colorado has a plan for what it will do at quarterback on game day.

Like last week, the Buffaloes are keeping that plan to themselves.

On the heels of a dismal 38-13 loss to TCU in the season opener, CU head coach Karl Dorrell didn’t offer up any sort of insight Monday about who will take snaps this week. On Saturday, the Buffs (0-1) visit Air Force (1-0) at Falcon Stadium (1:30 p.m., TV: CBS).

“We do have a plan,” Dorrell said during his weekly press conference. “We talked about and worked through it. We will not discuss that plan today with you guys but we do have a plan moving forward. We know that both of those guys still need a lot of work. They both had issues in the game. But we do have a plan in place. Thank you for asking.”

Dorrell certainly expected that question after sophomore Brendon Lewis struggled through another start. Junior JT Shrout came off the bench with mixed results, but did lead the Buffs to their only touchdown.

Lewis, who started all 12 games a year ago, won the offseason battle for the top job. CU didn’t announce that decision, however, until a few moments before kickoff on Friday.

Lewis completed 13-of-18 passes, but only for 78 yards – 25 of which came on his second throw of the game. He also had a team-high 42 rushing yards.

In 13 career starts, Lewis has thrown for less than 100 yards six times. In eight of those starts – including the last four – he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass. To his credit, he’s now thrown 150 consecutive passes without an interception, which is the third-longest streak in CU history.

Shrout, meanwhile, made his CU debut on Friday, completing 13-of-23 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown.

The former Tennessee transfer missed the 2021 season with a knee injury. Friday was his first game action since Dec. 19, 2020, when he was with the Volunteers.

Despite team-wide confidence going into the opener, the night was a disaster for the Buffs, who were blown out in the second half. Lewis and the offense were booed in the third quarter, while the stands began emptying with more than a quarter to play.

CU captains Brady Russell and Quinn Perry said after the game that players hung their heads in the second half, even with the win still in reach, with TCU leading 17-6.

Dorrell said Monday he doesn’t view that as an issue for coaches to deal with this week.

“No, not really,” he said. “I thought that was kind of over dramatized. I talked with those guys. They came in and saw me (Sunday), because they saw some of the things that were said. I felt that they felt that it was out of context.”

Dorrell added the players were frustrated and said, “I want them be frustrated. We did not play well in the second half to get a chance to win that game. And the frustration is that we expect to be better. We have to perform and we’re going to work on doing those things to the best of our ability going in this week.”

This week will be a significant challenge, as Air Force is favored by 17 points – already up from the opening line of 13.5 points.

“(The players) understand that we only have 11 opportunities left and we’ve got to take advantage of every one going forward,” Dorrell said.

“I think that’s kind of the heightened awareness and the urgency that we have right now is really, let’s put our guys in position to do the things we’re capable of. … We have to really scrutinize that as coaches, putting our guys in better position to be successful.”