Dorrell turns over staff in effort to turn around Colorado

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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BOULDER, Colo.- From the conference room overlooking the snow-covered turf at Folsom Field, Colorado coach Karl Dorrell lamented a season without a bowl appearance.

Hence, the recent shakeup.

Gone are five assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini. Dorrell may not have any control over the recent Buffaloes entering the transfer portal – including receiver Brenden Rice, the son of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice – but he can do something about his staff after a 4-8 season.

“I think I treat the coaching side just as much as the player side as to, when you come off of a disappointing year, I don’t believe in just being status quo going into the next season,” Dorrell said as he and athletic director Rick George gave a state-of-the-program address Thursday. “I wanted to make, with Rick’s endorsement, the necessary changes for us to be better as a staff in coaching our players so that we can get a better product on the field.”

The Buffaloes had a strong recruiting class – 46th, according to 247Sports – but also saw quite a few names enter the transfer portal. Among them: Rice, who had 21 catches for 299 yards and three TDs last season.

Just part of the territory these days in navigating college football’s changing landscape.

“It’s like, `What’s behind door No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3?’ You open that door and you’re losing this player, or something like that, that’s usually unexpected,” Dorrell said. “We have to go into this really with a level head.”

Dorrell was more diplomatic about the transfer portal’s role in college football than George, who was recently on a “name, image and likeness” working group before they stopped meeting. While some players may be entering the portal for reasons concerning playing time, others may enter to explore potential NIL deals.

George’s suggestion is more guidelines.

“We have a framework that would have been good sitting on a shelf somewhere,” George said, referring to his work with the NIL committee. “… I don’t think the NCAA is performing their role. And to allow the NIL to get out of hand like it’s gotten, is not acceptable. We as an industry have to embrace getting this back together so we have some guidelines that are consistent across our industry.”

Almost like the Wild, Wild West these days?

“It’s complex,” George said. “I would say it’s more chaos, would be the word that I would use.”

One word George would use to describe the season would be “disappointed,” especially after going to the Alamo Bowl in Dorrell’s first season in charge.

“We had high expectations and we’ll continue to have those,” said George, who hired Dorrell nearly two years ago after the departure of Mel Tucker to Michigan State.

Among the new coaching hires was Mike Sanford to oversee the offense. Sanford arrived from Minnesota, where he served as the Gophers’ offensive coordinator and QB coach for the past two seasons.

Sanford will have a quarterback room that includes Brendon Lewis, who took his lumps last season but gained precious experience. The Buffaloes also have J.T. Shrout, who missed the season after hurting his knee and recruited Owen McCown, the son of longtime NFL QB Josh McCown. They added a transfer in Maddox Kopp, who spent his freshman season at the University of Houston.

“He (Sanford) has had a pretty good track record developing a quarterback,” Dorrell said. “Every place he’s been he’s had a quarterback or two that’s had opportunities to play in the NFL, that have done some really positive things. So what I was looking for was a developer, a guy that can mold a roster into having success.”

Dorrell did like this in his team: An encouraging finish (2-2 in November) after a 2-6 start.

“Right, wrong or indifferent, we didn’t perform at a level that we all expect to have this program be at,” Dorrell said. “But we played with a lot of freshmen and sophomores and redshirt freshmen … They’re excited about where we’re headed.”

NOTES: Among the other Colorado coaching hires were offensive line coach Kyle DeVan, defensive line coach Vic So'oto and cornerbacks coach Rod Chance. … Colorado is collecting gift cards at upcoming basketball games to be distributed to victims of the Marshall fire. The Buffs are also donating $5 for every ticket sold to men’s and women’s basketball games to emergency relief efforts.

No. 3 TCU loses 31-28 in OT to K-State in Big 12 title game

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime as 13th-ranked Kansas State beat No. 3 TCU 31-28 in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, leaving the Horned Frogs to wait another day to find out if they had already done enough to get into the four-team College Football Playoff.

The Wildcats set up the winning field goal after TCU (12-1) had the opening possession of overtime and Kendre Miller was stopped short on consecutive plays from inside the 1.

Deuce Vaughn ran for 130 yards and a touchdown and Will Howard threw two TDs for the Wildcats (10-3, No. 10 CFP), who six weeks earlier had jumped out to a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s last 28 points.

That was one of five games the Horned Frogs (12-1, No. 3 CFP) won when trailing after halftime. But they couldn’t do it again with the chance to guarantee being the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to make the playoff.

TCU, the first Big 12 team to complete a regular season undefeated since Texas in 2009, could still get into the playoff. While their case was helped when fourth-ranked Southern California (11-2) lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night, the Frogs now have to wait until the final CFP rankings come out Sunday.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said before the game that TCU, with first-year coach Sonny Dykes, already deserved to be in the playoff.

“You look at their strength of schedule. You think about how they’ve performed all year long,” Yormark said. “I think regardless, they should be in, for sure.”

No. 4 USC falls to Utah in Pac-12 Championship, damaging playoff hopes

Utah vs. USC
USA Today
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LAS VEGAS — No. 12 Utah pounded a limping, bloodied Caleb Williams and roared past No. 4 Southern California 47-24 on Friday night to win the Pac-12 Championship and put USC’s College Football Playoff hopes in doubt.

The loss by the Trojans (11-2) could open the way for Ohio State (11-1) to take their spot in the playoffs. USC is fourth in the CFP rankings, the Buckeyes are one step behind.

Ohio State had to be Utah’s biggest fan. The Buckeyes move up in playoff consideration, with 12-0 Michigan at No. 2 with the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, that would give the Big Ten conference two playoff teams for the first time. It also would extend the Pac-12′s playoff drought — Washington in 2017 is the last team from that conference to make the playoffs.

Utah (10-3) is heading to the Rose Bowl, but the Utes already were going there regardless of the outcome of the title game. They are responsible for USC’s only losses, having edged the Trojans 43-42 on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City.

The Utes rolled up 533 yards of offense in the rematch, and Cam Rising passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams threw for 363 yards and three TDs. He entered the game as the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, but wasn’t the same after getting injured in the first quarter.

The Trojans looked as if they were going to run away with the game, taking a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter behind some stellar play by Williams.

He appeared to hurt his left knee or leg in the first quarter on a 59-yard run in which he took a big hit at the end, and he suffered a bad cut on the pinky finger of his throwing hand. He spent most of the game limping, and wasn’t the same after a sterling first quarter in which the Trojans outgained Utah in total yards 194-70, and Williams had both touchdown passes.

After USC failed to pick up a fourth-and-8 from Utah’s 37-yard line, the Utes scored two touchdowns in the final 3:55 of the first half, and suddenly the game was tied at 17. Instead of a rout, the game was beginning to look like the shootout the Utes won in October.

The game took on that tone at times in the second half, but USC had no answer for how to slow down Utah, which outscored the Trojans 44-7 in overcoming that two-touchdown deficit.

ATTENDANCE RECORD

A announced sellout crowd of 61,195 made this the largest for a neutral-site Pac-12 Championship. It beat the previous record of 58,476 fans. who watched Southern California-Stanford in Santa Clara, California, in 2015.