In the 1990s sitcom, “Coach,” the head coach and his assistants would often sit around the office and wait for the start of football practices, eating snacks, reading the newspaper or finding other ways to fill their time.
While Karl Dorrell and the Colorado Buffaloes aren’t enjoying much success this season, they certainly aren’t taking the same approach.
“That’s completely different than what real coaching is,” Dorrell said in reference to the TV show. “We’ve got a lot of guys that have spent a lot of hours trying to get things right. There’s that expectation about people work harder when things are hard, right? And that’s what we do. We’re gonna work harder when things are hard until we get our play into a position where it’s really being effective.”
CU (0-3) opens Pac-12 Conference play against UCLA (3-0) on Saturday at Folsom Field (noon, Pac-12 Network). There’s certainly no time for the Buffs to sit around the offices after three consecutive blowout losses.
So far this season, Arizona State and Nebraska have fired their head coaches. Dorrell’s seat is significantly warmer after the abysmal start.
CU athletic director Rick George issued a statement on Sunday expressing his disappointment, but isn’t making a change at this point. Dorrell said Monday that he and George spoke Sunday.
“He’s all-in just like I’m all-in,” Dorrell said. “I know our fans are disappointed. We’re just as disappointed. We’re not trying to do these things. Unfortunately that’s part of the game, that’s part of the pressure and the expectation, particularly of a program like the University of Colorado that I have a lot of respect for.
“I know we can get better, and I know we will be better. … We, as a team, and as a football program, those young players down there, they want to play well for their fans. And believe me, we feel it and we’re working our tails off to get ourselves to play better. (Dorrell and George) are on the same page. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do. We know that we can do it.”
Dorrell is in the third year of a five-year contract and it wouldn’t be cheap for CU to move on from him. He is owed the remainder of his contract, which is roughly $8.7 million at this point.
Publicly, Dorrell isn’t showing concern about potentially losing his job.
“When you go into coaching, we know that there’s risk, right?” he said.
He’s certainly not worried about this week potentially being UCLA’s last visit to Folsom Field, either, as the Bruins and rival Southern California are set to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024.
“Do you think I’ve thought that far about UCLA?” he said. “Do you think I’ve got other things to think about right now? I’m concerned about the moment, which is right now; what I’m doing right after this press conference: getting back in film room, finding ways to play better offensively, defensively, special teams so we can get a win. Those are the things that I’m focused on.”
There is plenty on Dorrell’s plate as the Buffs try to recover from one of the worst starts to a season in CU history.
Dorrell said he and the staff are evaluating how they practice, including how much physical work is to be done during the week. They’re also still looking at options at quarterback and other positions.
“We’re going to turn over every stone to try to fix what’s been ailing us right now,” he said.
“Obviously there is a tension and an urgency that we have in our program right now with our coaches and with our players about getting things addressed and shored up as quickly as possible. There’s a number of issues, as we all know.”