Dorrell, Colorado feeling the pressure after 0-3 start

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BOULDER, Colo. – Colorado coach Karl Dorrell put it no other way than the obvious: His team needs to play better.

At this point, it’s really all he could offer, other than to share in the disappointment of the Buffaloes starting 0-3 for the first time since 2012.

Outscored by a 128-30 margin, the program has tumbled to the depths where director of athletics Rick George felt it necessary to acknowledge in a statement that the Buffaloes have been disappointing to watch this fall. That, indeed, “all of you deserve better results,” he said.

The heat has steadily intensified for Dorrell, who is in his third season after taking over when Mel Tucker bolted for Michigan State in early 2020. But Dorrell kept stressing the same mantra Monday – need to start better (two straight weeks the offense fumbled to open the game). Need to tackle better. Need to learn how to win.

“We have to play better football,” Dorrell said as the Buffaloes prepare to host UCLA (3-0) this weekend at Folsom Field. “We’re capable of playing better football. We can be the type of team that we all envision ourselves to be. But we need to get things addressed and fixed.”

Since last season, Dorrell has seen around two dozen players leave through the transfer portal. That included receiver Brenden Rice – son of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice – who went to Southern California.

In the wake of the exodus, which included several starters, the Buffaloes have struggled with a challenging nonconference schedule. They fell 38-13 at home to TCU in the opener, followed by road losses at Air Force (41-10) and Minnesota (49-7). It’s the first time in program history the Buffaloes opened a season with three straight losses of 25 or more points, according to Pac-12 research.

Waiting ahead, a Pac-12 schedule where Colorado doesn’t figure to be favored in one game.

The numbers indicate why: they’re currently ranked 127th in the country in scoring defense (42.7 points per game) and tied for 129th in scoring offense (10). They’re near the bottom in total offense and defense, too.

“We’re not where we want to be, and that’s obvious, but I will say that we feel like a brotherhood, no matter what happens,” senior safety Isaiah Lewis said. “We’re not going to dwell.”

On Sunday night, George issued a statement regarding the state of the program, which has reached more than five wins just once (10 in 2016) since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.

“I recognize and understand your disappointment and frustration and perhaps, even anger,” George said. “We have not come close to meeting our expectations this season and we own that. I know that coach Dorrell, our coaching and support staff, and our student-athletes are working hard to get us on track, and with conference play starting this Saturday, we hope we all will enjoy a home victory over UCLA.”

The disenchantment may be heard Saturday through boos – should the Buffaloes start slow against a Bruins team favored by 21 points. Maybe even through no-shows.

“We’re all we got,” Lewis said. “We need the support, and we appreciate the support but if it’s not there, that’s all right. We’re going to rely on ourselves and rely on our brothers.”

Dorrell tried to revamp the offense following a 4-8 season by adding several new coaches, including offensive coordinator Mike Sanford. But it hasn’t helped shake the team out of its offensive rut.

Brendon Lewis, the starter last season, was under center for the opener against TCU. But he struggled, opening the door for transfer J.T. Shrout, who hasn’t been able to consistently ignite the offense, either.

Enter Owen McCown, the son of longtime NFL quarterback Josh McCown. The freshman was sent in late at Minnesota and went 4 of 7 for 52 yards. His brief audition may turn into a bigger role.

“We’re at a point offensively where we’re trying to find that spark,” Dorrell said. “All of them are capable of providing that for us but they haven’t done it yet. So those are the things we’re searching for.”

Dorrell understands the frustration. He’s frustrated, too.

“We’re not trying to do these things,” said Dorrell, who has two years left on his deal. “I know we can get better. I know we will be better.”

Vick, Fitzgerald and Suggs among stars on College Football Hall of Fame ballot for 1st time

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Michael Vick, Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Suggs are among the college football stars who will be considered for induction to the Hall of Fame for the first time this year.

The National Football Foundation released Monday a list of 78 players and nine coaches from major college football who are on the Hall of Fame ballot. There also are 101 players and 32 coaches from lower divisions of college football up for consideration.

Vick, who led Virginia Tech to the BCS championship game against Florida State as a redshirt freshman in 1999, is among the most notable players appearing on the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

Vick finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999. He played one season of college football before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. Vick’s professional career was interrupted when he served 21 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting.

Fitzgerald was the Heisman runner-up in 2003 to Oklahoma quarterback Jason White. He scored 34 touchdowns in just two seasons at Pitt.

Suggs led the nation in sacks with 24 in 2002 for Arizona State.

The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be chosen by the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court and announced in January. Induction into the Atlanta-based hall is the following December.

Alabama freshman DB Mitchell says he wasn’t sure he’d get to play again after arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell said he feared his football career was over after his arrest on a drug charge.

The Crimson Tide freshman said in a video posted Sunday on social media that he knew “something much bigger could have happened.”

A judge in Holmes County, Florida, sentenced Mitchell to three years of probation with a fine and community service on May 24 after Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally,” Mitchell said. “During those times, it helped me to keep my mind off it. But when I was by myself looking at social media, what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again.

“I didn’t sleep at night.”

He was suspended from the Alabama team following the arrest, but Mitchell’s father, Tony Sr., posted on Facebook last week that the defensive back had been reinstated. An Alabama spokesman declined to comment on Mitchell’s status.

Tony Mitchell Sr. shared his son’s video on Facebook, saying it was filmed during a talk to youth.

“I was doing things I knew I shouldn’t to try to fit in,” the younger Mitchell said, “but not everybody’s your friend.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a four-star prospect and the 15th-rated safety in the 247Composite rankings.

He had been charged in March with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell after a traffic stop when authorities said he drove over 141 mph (227 kph) while trying to evade deputies in the Florida Panhandle. A deputy had spotted Mitchell’s black Dodge Challenger traveling 78 mph (125 kph) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone on a rural highway north of Bonifay.

He also received 100 hours of community service and paid a fine of $1,560.

Mitchell and a passenger were both charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The other man also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.