Skip to content

Colorado football notes: Tommy Brown off to good start with Buffs

Alabama transfer has graded out well in first three games with Colorado

CU quarterback JT Shrout scrambles against TCU while Tommy Brown (75) blocks for him on Sept. 2 in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
CU quarterback JT Shrout scrambles against TCU while Tommy Brown (75) blocks for him on Sept. 2 in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Like all of the Colorado Buffaloes, Tommy Brown isn’t pleased with how the football team has started the season.

On a personal level, however, Brown is generally happy with how he is playing in his debut season with the Buffs (0-3).

CU will host UCLA (3-0) in the Pac-12 opener on Saturday at Folsom Field (noon, Pac-12 Network) and Brown is likely to slotted in at right guard for the fourth consecutive game.

The Alabama transfer is enjoying the most extensive playing time of his collegiate career.

“I feel like I’m playing pretty well,” he said. “Just trying to do my job, trying to help the team out. It’s not about me. It’s about getting the team winning so I can play as well as I can and just try to help the team.”

CU’s offensive line hasn’t been dominant, but it has been better than a year ago and Brown is one reason for that improvement.

“Tommy has graded out really well each and every game,” offensive coordinator Mike Sanford said. “For him to come off the (knee) injury that he had, the initial prognosis for Tommy was that he probably wouldn’t be ready until conference play. For him to have played this many reps in games 1-3, now he’s probably kind of getting into his stride a little bit. He’s just a really smart football player. He grades out consistently at the top of the group of the offensive line.”

There has been some shuffling among the linemen, but Brown believes the group is playing fairly well overall. Given the Buffs’ struggles as a team and as an offense, however, he knows the group can be better.

“I think just everybody looks internally and it’s not just the unit, but every person individually needs to look at themselves and see how their performance is to see if it’s up to the standard,” Brown said.

So far, it hasn’t been as a team. The Buffs are averaging only 10 points per game and have been routed in all three games. Brown still plenty of potential in the Buffs, however.

“I’d say (the team) is unsatisfied,” he said. “We know that we can do better. We know that we need to do better. And we’re just focusing on the next team now.

“I definitely would categorize it as surprising because we had a standard that we thought we were going to exceed, and we haven’t yet. We need to go out there and just keep grinding and keep executing.”

Confidence up front

Although the final scores haven’t shown it, CU’s offensive line has improved from a year ago. The Buffs are allowing fewer sacks (2.0 per game compared to 2.67 in 2021) and averaging more yards per rush (3.79 compared to 3.46 in 2021).

Sanford credits the defenses of the opposition – TCU, Air Force and Minnesota – for how they’ve played against the Buffs. But, he also said he has come away from games feeling good about the Buffs’ line.

“I feel like we could match up in the offensive line with those guys,” he said. “There’s a couple little things that are more schematic issues … but, the O-line has done a fantastic job and I still believe that they’re the heart and soul and of this program. I think that it’s going to turn on their back and they’re going to take great pride in whoever we decide to roll out there at quarterback and be our guy for this year. I think they’re going to take great pride in protecting that guy.”

Quite a comeback

When redshirt freshman defensive lineman Tyas Martin came to CU a year ago, there was concern about whether he’d ever play football again because of the back injury he was dealing with.

Now, the 6-foot-4, 340-pounder is a key part of the rotation up front on defense. Martin has played 73 snaps (fifth among the linemen) and recorded seven tackles.

“I’ve been very impressed with he just stayed with it,” head coach Karl Dorrell said. “He’s a young player that hasn’t done anything yet in terms of playing, but he put a lot of work in over the summer and through training camp to get him in a position (for what) he’s doing right now. I’m proud of that kid, because he was at a point he didn’t know if he would ever be able to play again.”


Running back Charlie Offerdahl has rushed for 70 yards, already the fourth-most in a single season for a walk-on in CU history. The most is 128 by Josh Ford in 2011. … CU is 5-6 in Pac-12 openers since joining the conference in 2011. That includes two wins, both in Boulder, against UCLA.