Colorado interim head coach Mike Sanford spent his first full day on the job last Monday having one-on-one discussions with all of the players.
It appears that was a good strategy.
Eight days after Karl Dorrell was fired and replaced – for now – by Sanford, the Buffaloes’ roster has remained intact – for now. Around the country, players have left their teams and announced intentions to enter the transfer portal. That hasn’t been the case at CU, however.
CU (0-5, 0-2 Pac-12) will host California (3-2, 1-1) on Saturday at Folsom Field (noon, Pac-12 Network) and the latest roster, released Monday, had just one change from two weeks ago and it was expected. Freshman punter Ashton Logan was dismissed from the team by Dorrell for a violation of team rules two weeks ago.
The NCAA board of directors adopted transfer portal windows this fall. Most football players have 60 days a year to put their names into the portal, broken up into two different windows: one after the season (Dec. 5-Jan. 18) and one in spring (May 1-15).
However, players on teams that have a head coach fired during the season have an immediate 30-day window to enter the portal. For CU, that window opened up last week and closes Nov. 1.
After Dorrell was fired, Sanford made it a point to talk to each player and find out how they’re doing. He had their well-being in mind, in part because he knows the transfer option is there.
“If you look around college football already, you’re getting some people done with game four, game five of the season,” Sanford said. “The portal is rapid. It’s players that have played four games that are already kind of looking into, ‘I’ve used my four games, I have a redshirt year, I’m going to go in the portal.’
“We got ahead of that (with CU’s players). We talked about it, we spoke specifically about where you particularly stand and I was very candid, they were very candid, and I felt really good about just the entire team’s willingness and desire to stay here. We all know that this world is rapidly changing, and that’s subject to change, but I thought that that was another message that was really good.”
Offensive lineman Tommy Brown said last week it was greatly appreciated by players that Sanford took the time to meet with them. He added that players know they have to lead, rather than fall away.
“I can only speak on the guys that I’ve talked to,” he said. “I’m very close friends with the offensive line, obviously, and that’s where a lot of the senior leadership on the offense comes from. We feel like we just need to keep pushing along. We felt like we were moving in the right direction, but now it’s just like, ‘All right, we have to do it now.’ It’s not like we want to move in the right direction; we need to have our coaches’ backs and play the best that we can.”
On Monday, the Pac-12 announced that CU’s game at Oregon State on Oct. 22 has slated for a 6 p.m. MT kickoff on the Pac-12 Network. … CU is anticipating near full capacity for Saturday’s game against Cal. The game is a part of CU’s family weekend. … Guard/center Van Wells is the first CU true freshman to start as many as three games in a season on the offensive line since 2007. That year, Kai Maiava (eight starts) and Ryan Miller (six) were regular starters.