CU Buffs plans won't change amid the postponed season
Head coach Karl Dorrell expressed his disappointment on Wednesday about the postponement of the Pac-12 college football season.
“As much as I am a competitive man and I want a competitive program and be successful, it still comes down to the well-being of our student athletes,” Dorrell said. “I did think there was some cause with the information that was portrayed to us in our meetings.”
Dorrell told reporters he was a proponent of playing in the fall, even if it was a shortened season, but the medical advice of the team doctors and the Pac-12 medical advisory board made him understand the consequences of a fall football season.
"I've always been a proponent since I've been hired here to play this fall all the way up to the end," Dorrell said. "I just wanted to play. I think our team like I mentioned to you, was 100% all-in on playing this fall."
The postponement creates uncertainty for players and coaches, who don’t know what a spring season will look like, or even if there will be a spring season.
Dorrell mentioned KD Nixon and Nate Landman, two seniors who are looking forward to the NFL draft, scheduled for April 29, 2021.
“Those are two really good players for us,” Dorrell said. “They both have asked to have private conversations with me, and I told them just, as recently as this morning, for some time to think through some things where there's nothing that needs to be reacted upon to do anything right now.”
Along with the uncertainty, Dorrell says he’s concerned about the mental health of the athletes and coaches—who often feel left out in these discussions.
"I’ve been coaching every fall for 33 years,” Dorrell said. “This will be a fall of no competition. This affects the players, the coaches, my staff. There’s definitely a different feel that’s going on right now.”
With the spring football practices and spring football game cut short because of the initial wave of the novel coronavirus, both athletic director Rick George and Dorrell discussed the idea of spring football in the fall, preparing for a ten game football season in the spring.
For Dorrell, that means keeping his players engaged, and making sure they continue to follow the social distancing guidelines, more important with the return of the student body.
“Our plan is this, and we talked about it as recently as this morning, is it doesn't change. The student body is going to be here shortly when we start school on August 24, so there are going to be more people around, but that doesn't mean that our practices or what we do outside our building changes at all.”
Still, a spring football season is far from a given, with logistics still to be worked out, especially with players being asked to potentially play two seasons in one calendar year.
“There's a restoration period that I think is going to be needed between seasons, an X amount of time,” Dorrell said. “If you think about it like the offensive and defensive lineman, they do a lot of pounding on each other, that’s their position by nature. Normally, the injuries that they incur over a season, there's neck issues, back issues, knee issues. There’s a lot to be thinking about the long term health of those guys, so there's a lot on our plate right now.”
With all of the challenges since he was named head coach at Colorado, Dorrell maintains his faith and his belief that he was brought to Colorado for a reason.