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Colorado football notes: Karl Dorrell maintains confidence in struggling Buffs’ offense

Colorado Buffaloes tight end Austin Smith had the team's only touchdown in last Saturday's 49-7 defeat at Minnesota. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Colorado Buffaloes tight end Austin Smith had the team’s only touchdown in last Saturday’s 49-7 defeat at Minnesota. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
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Colorado’s offense was bad enough during the 2021 season that head coach Karl Dorrell fired almost all of his coaches on that side of that ball.

That was the result of averaging 18.8 points per game (121st out of 130 FBS teams) and 257.6 yards per game (129th).

Three games into this season, the Buffs (0-3) are actually worse on offense, ranking 129th in scoring (10.0 per game) and yards (238.0 per game). They host UCLA (3-0) on Saturday at Folsom Field (noon, Pac-12 Network).

Throughout the offseason, Dorrell cited all of the changes on offense – new coordinator Mike Sanford, three other new coaches, a new scheme and a revamped lineup – as reasons for optimism about that side of the ball.

Rather than express panic on Monday during his weekly press confidence, Dorrell cited those changes as a reason for the regression.

“It’s a number of things,” he said. “We do have some new additions, both from a staff and player perspective. So, we don’t think it’s a major deal. I know it looks that way right now because of how we’ve been playing but we feel we can shore those things up very, very quickly.”

Although Dorrell said it’s not a major deal, the Buffs’ anemic offense has been, arguably, the main reason they’ve been blown out in all three games. And, there hasn’t been much evidence of the Buffs having the answers for a quick fix.

The run game has been decent to this point, but the passing offense has been abysmal. CU has already started two different quarterbacks – Brendon Lewis and JT Shrout – and Dorrell hasn’t closed the door on turning to true freshman Owen McCown to spark the offense. CU’s team passer rating (89.74) ranks 125th nationally.

Still, Dorrell maintains belief in an offense that has just three touchdowns in three games. Only one of those was scored during the first three quarters, with a win still in reach.

“We have a lot of confidence in our offense, our players have a lot of confidence in it,” he said. “In a lot of ways, they know they can play better, so I think that’s really the challenge moving forward is the urgency of getting that performed on Saturdays.”

Notable

Freshman punter Ashton Logan has been up and down this season and that was on display in Saturday’s 49-7 loss to Minnesota. Logan had some short punts early in the game, but had his best punts later in the day. “We had a little bit of a rough start with our young punter,” Dorrell said. “The first couple punts were a little on the low in terms of production side, but he settled down and really did some positive things.” … According to reports from UCLA media, running back Zach Charbonnet was not a full participant in practice Tuesday and his playing status for Saturday is unclear. … CU is 5-12 all-time against UCLA, but has won the last three meetings in Boulder.

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