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CU Buffs football notes: In-game adjustments key in matchup with Air Force

Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell walks with his team to Folsom Field ahead of Saturday's game against TCU. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell walks with his team to Folsom Field ahead of Saturday’s game against TCU. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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Facing a talented and disciplined Air Force team will present quite a challenge for the Colorado football players this week.

CU’s coaches are going to get tested, too.

In Friday’s season opener, the Buffs were routed by TCU, 38-13. CU controlled much of the first half, but the Horned Frogs dominated after intermission, outscoring the Buffs 31-7.

“Apparently they made better adjustments than we did in the second half defensively,” Buffs head coach Karl Dorrell said after the game. “We didn’t have the answers. They had better adjustments in the second half. We felt like we made adjustments, but apparently, they were not as good as they should have been. We’re going to all learn from this first game.”

Dorrell and his staff will have to learn quickly as they visit Air Force on Saturday (1:30 p.m., TV: CBS). While the Falcons don’t match up with a lot of teams in terms of talent, they are typically one of the most difficult teams to play. That is, in part, because of the coaching they receive from Troy Calhoun and his staff.

“Air Force is really good at in-game adjustments,” Dorrell said. “They do a tremendous job, probably as good as anybody in the country about what a team does against them and what’s the solution to it. So it’s going to be a chess match in terms for what we can provide.”

Dorrell and his staff lost the chess match on Friday, but they are working at being better prepared this time around.

“We can’t line up in the same front every time (on defense) because they’ll eventually get to some answers for that,” he said. “So we have to play the game. We’re going to have to show them certain things …how many things we can do and how many guys that can digest all that information and go through not only their assignment, their read keys, all the different things (will be important).

“You have to understand that that’s going to be the challenge for us defensively, for sure. I think we can hold up against it, but I think it has to be very regimented about how our approach is this week.

“We’re gonna have to do some adjustments and our adjustments are gonna have to be a lot more effective than they were last week. It’s gonna be a challenge and we know that.”

Protecting the QB

Last week against TCU, CU used two different quarterbacks, both with different styles.

Brendon Lewis, who started and played 43 snaps, is more of a running quarterback, while JT Shrout, who played 27 snaps, is more of a passer — although he did leave the pocket often.

Dorrell isn’t revealing which quarterback will start or even if both will play this week at Air Force. But, left guard Casey Roddick said it’s not an extra challenge for the offensive line to block for both, despite their differences.

“I think, from a line standpoint, we still have to protect,” he said. “You still have to do your job. It doesn’t matter who is in or who is out. Obviously, both quarterbacks will have different playing styles, but you adhere to it. B-Lew’s going to make plays with his legs more than JT and JT is going to throw the ball in the pocket more than B-Lew sometimes. Obviously that’s a factor but you don’t really look into that.”

Lewis and Shrout were both sacked once against the Horned Frogs.

Making an impression

Celebrating his 24th birthday on Friday, receiver Daniel Arias matched his career high with four catches and racked up 66 yards — four shy of his career best. He led the Buffs in both categories and his night included the two longest catches of the game for CU: 35 and 25 yards.

“We’re gonna keep utilizing Daniel,” Dorrell said. “He’s a guy that has worked really hard in this offseason, is really taking the coaching that (receiver coach Phil) McGeoghan has given him and he’s really just focused in on really improving his game. I’m really proud of him.

“He’s a tremendous talent. He’s got great speed, he’s got great size and strength. His confidence, you can tell, is tremendous now when you watch him play.”

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