Breaking into the scene as a new head coach has its slew of challenges, but for new Colorado Buffaloes football head coach Karl Dorrell, those challenges are duly amplified in light of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, Dorrell outlined the progress he’s made and his thoughts on the team during a virtual conference call.
Dorrell will have limited time to prepare his team for the season with the NCAA canceling the ever-important spring football, but he hopes to make the most of it.
“I’m not looking at it as a detriment, just because I’m new,” said Dorrell, who was hired by CU on Feb. 23. “I look at everyone dealing with this.”
Every team in the country is subject to the same limitations. One thing that Dorrell made clear is that there won’t be any excuses.
“I know there’s going to be limitations of some sort, but we’re prepared for it,” Dorrell said. “We’re not going to use any excuses. We’re going to go out there, put our best foot forward and get our team ready to play when that September date hits.”
From an optimistic perspective, the fall season is expected to remain largely unaffected. The timeline for some form of spring or summer football, however, is merely hypothetical. Dorrell looks to stay flexible and get done what needs to be done.
“We’re just going to try to maximize any chance we get with the players,” Dorrell said. “Whether that’s a portion of time in May or April or June, we’ll be prepared for that.”
“We’ll get a chance to quickly implement what we need to get implemented, keep our team in shape and keep them strong and excited about playing,” he continued.
In the meantime, Dorrell has worked hard to curate relationships with his players and staff. He was able to conduct interviews with his staff and watch a few team workouts prior to the pandemic and hopes to continue communication and keep his team accountable.
“We’re going to use this as a challenge and not something that’s going to set us back,” Dorrell said. “That’s the mindset we’re trying to build with our team. What’re we doing to maximize this time that might be better than what everyone else is doing? I know our players are creating that mindset and are talking to each other about making sure they’re doing their workouts and handling their academics.”
Along with keeping the Buffs connected and motivated, Dorrell has spent a lot of time getting to know the 2020 recruiting class through watching tape. Dorrell believes evaluating new talent in person is more effective and hopes to catch up quickly when the Buffs can practice in person.
Ensuring that their players are in “football shape” is one thing that coaches don’t want to catch up on when the season does come. Drew Wilson leads CU’s strength and conditioning staff and has the challenge of keeping his players active when they may have limited access to gyms or workout equipment.
“Whether you have weights or a park to work in or a track to run around, (Wilson has) been really innovative with creating different elements with any type of workout given your environment to really get something positive in that particular day,” Dorrell said. “He’s been shooting these things off every single day. I really put my hat off to what (Wilson) and his staff have been doing.”
Sports can be a wonderful distraction in trying times, but Dorrell recognizes that it’s not the highest priority at the moment. Put simply, football can wait.
“Our country’s health is more important than anything right now,” Dorrell said. “I think those are the things that in our minds we need to create the understanding are more important. The other parts, we’ll figure out those things when the time comes.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jack Carlough at email@example.com.