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CU Buffs’ Karl Dorrell ‘evaluating everything’ in bye week

Colorado riding four-game losing streak

BOULDER, CO – October 2, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder’s  head coach, Karl Dorrell, before the USC game in Boulder on October 2, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO – October 2, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder’s head coach, Karl Dorrell, before the USC game in Boulder on October 2, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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In the midst of Colorado’s worst three-game stretch in eight years, the public is demanding change.

Buffaloes head football coach Karl Dorrell isn’t quite ready to go there.

On Monday, the Buffs (1-4, 0-2 Pac-12) kicked off their bye week with a light practice, followed by Dorrell addressing the hard times his program is going through right now.

With a week off before facing Arizona (0-4, 0-1) on Oct. 16, Dorrell was asked if this is the right time to make any staff changes.

“We’re evaluating everything right now,” Dorrell said. “We had a long staff meeting yesterday. We got a chance to talk through a lot of things that we’re trying to address, whether it’s from our staff or from a personnel perspective. We’re doing all those things right now. Nothing is concrete right now. We’re still going through an evaluation period.

“We have some time this week to kind of work on some things we need to work on and … if we need to make changes, we’ll do, but we’re going to kind of work through that in probably a methodical process here.”

For the first time since 2013, CU has lost three straight games by at least 20 points, and the Buffs have started 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 2017.

BOULDER, CO - Oct. 2, 2021: ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s offensive coordinator, Darrin Chiaverini during the USC game in Boulder on October 2, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Offensively, the Buffs have scored a total of 34 points — just 8.5 per game — during their current four-game losing streak. That’s led to many in Buff Nation pointing a finger at offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini and/or offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue, whose group is struggling.

The main line of questioning on Monday, however, centered on how Dorrell handles adversity.

The Buffs’ second-year head coach issued an apology on Sunday for pushing the camera of a local CBS-4 photojournalist while jogging off the field following Saturday’s 37-14 loss to Southern California.

“I have to have better composure,” Dorrell said Monday. “That’s obviously disappointment with the game and the way that that came out and I’m human, just like everyone else.”

Dorrell said he apologized to the team and to the CBS-4 photojournalist.

“We all can learn from that,” Dorrell said. “I’ve learned from it. The best way to learn from it is to understand that was a mistake and go and apologize and move forward. So we’ve done that and we’re hoping to move forward.”

Dorrell’s frustration has been on display before Saturday.

After a 55-23 loss to Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29, he didn’t allow players to do postgame interviews — the only time that’s happened at CU in at least a decade. Following a 30-0 loss to Minnesota on Sept. 18, he declined to do his postgame interview on KOA radio.

Dorrell, however, isn’t worried about showing a pattern of frustration.

“I’m usually pretty cool, calm and collected in most of my 36 years of coaching,” he said. “(Saturday) was one of those moments that I wanted to win that game. I thought we had a great week of practice … and it didn’t materialize.

“As a coach you go back to the drawing board and try to find a different angle to create success. Those are the things that go through my mind when we’re unsuccessful. We’ve got to find a way to be successful.”

CU’s lack of success this season surprises Dorrell, who said he expected challenges with a relatively young roster but added, “We all felt pretty confident that we would be playing pretty good football and that really hasn’t materialized yet.

“Whenever there’s a situation like that where we’ve had consecutive losses things get intensified with the negativity and things like that. We try to educate our guys with understanding that you have fans out there that they want to see winning football, and (the players) want to play winning football. They’re not trying to fail, but they know that they’re not playing well enough to win some of these games. So that’s the truth of the matter. We have to play better football in a lot of the things that we’re doing and we’ve got to coach it better.”

Notes

Dorrell said receiver La’Vontae Shenault, who has missed the last four games because of a suspension, is “doing what he’s supposed to do” to get back to the team. “He is doing the steps that he should be doing given his suspension and he’ll soon be able to be activated back on the team,” Dorrell said. … Monday was a “very light practice,” Dorrell said. The Buffs will also practice Tuesday and Wednesday before taking some time off. … The Pac-12 announced on Monday that the Buffs’ game on Oct. 16 against Arizona is slated for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff at Folsom Field and it will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.