An offseason of work and a month of preseason camp didn’t settle the quarterback competition at Colorado.
The first two games of the season haven’t provided the answer, either. So, as the Buffaloes (0-2) prepare for a visit to Minnesota (2-0) on Saturday (1:30 p.m., ESPN2), head coach Karl Dorrell still isn’t sure who will steer the ship on offense.
Sophomore Brendon Lewis, who started all 12 games in 2021, got the nod for the season opener, but he struggled in a 38-13 loss to TCU. Junior JT Shrout got the start at Air Force last week and he struggled in a 41-10 loss.
“We just don’t feel that there’s any separation,” Dorrell said Monday. “We feel like this is a really important week to really press them both about who wants this job? I think that’s more of our attitude. They’ve both had a chance to lead the offense. They both had some inconsistencies. Now it’s, ‘OK, let’s go on to this week and it’s a competition.’ We’ve got to get better. They both have some things to shore up, so we really want to get back on the grass and get going and then make some type of determination later in the week.”
Lewis completed 13-of-18 passes against TCU, but for only 78 yards. He also led the team with 42 rushing yards, but directed the Buffs to just a pair of field goals in the six possessions he engineered.
Shrout came off the bench to complete 13-of-23 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown against TCU. On a soggy day at Air Force, he played the entire game and completed only 5-of-21 passes for 51 yards and an interception. Shrout has led the Buffs to 17 points in 18 possessions.
“We’ve got to figure out who’s going to go and elevate themselves this week to get the nod,” Dorrell said. “That’s kind of how that process is for us right now.”
Following the Air Force game, Dorrell mentioned sophomore Drew Carter and freshman Owen McCown could possibly be sparks for the offense, but on Monday, Dorrell said the competition to start is still between Lewis and Shrout.
“We still think that B-Lew and JT are very, very capable; we think that they are starter types for us,” Dorrell said. “We know that both Owen and Drew have flashed, too, in the work that they’ve done through training camp and even right now. We’re going to be prepared for anything and everything, but really, it’s still down just to those two that we’re really dealing with right now. And we’re going to continue to bring those other ones along as well.”
A new rule in college football this year allows teams to send in a review to the NCAA for targeting penalties that occur in the second half of games. Those penalties generally lead to the player having to sit out the first half of the next game.
CU safety Trevor Woods was flagged for targeting on the second play of the second half at Air Force and is likely to sit the first half on Saturday at Minnesota. But, Dorrell said CU is appealing and hoping he can be approved to play the entire game against the Gophers.
“It’s a low probability that it’ll be overturned, but we’re gonna give it a shot,” Dorrell said. “We didn’t think that he was trying to do something with poor intent, but it’s worth appealing.”
CU’s other starting safety, senior Isaiah Lewis, left the Air Force game in the first half with a laceration. Dorrell said Lewis got stitched up and “should be ready to go” Saturday. … Dorrell said outside linebacker Alvin Williams has been suspended by the CU campus and is not with the football team at this time. A sophomore, Williams was one of CU’s standouts in spring ball, but he has not dressed for either of the first two games. … On Monday, the Pac-12 announced that CU’s game on Sept. 24 against UCLA at Folsom Field will be slated for a 12 p.m. kickoff and will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.