CU Buffs comfortable with QB situation going into opener

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Aug. 30—In an ideal world, the Colorado Buffaloes would have a clear-cut starter at quarterback who takes the reins of the offense and leads them to success.

The Buffs don't have that, but head coach Karl Dorrell feels just fine about the quarterback situation as his team prepares to host TCU in the season opener at Folsom Field on Friday night (8 p.m., TV: ESPN).

Sophomore Brendon Lewis, who started all 12 games a year ago, and junior JT Shrout have battled for the top job throughout preseason camp.

Dorrell won't publicly name a starter, but has said both will play. When each plays could be determined by a script, a particular situation or a gut feeling.

"All of the above," Dorrell said after practice Tuesday. "We're just gonna see how the game goes. We have a plan in place of what we want to do. We don't want to express that necessarily to the media, but we'll have to see how that plays out as we go."

CU's opponent hasn't named a starter, either, and TCU head coach Sonny Dykes said the Horned Frogs could play three different quarterbacks. Around college football, there are other programs, such as Oregon, who have decided not to reveal their starter.

Dorrell doesn't think the practice of not naming a starter is necessarily a trend in college football, but said the plan in place suits where CU is at right now as a program. And, it helps that the offensive players feel good about Lewis and Shrout.

"They're completely confident in both of these guys," Dorrell said. "It would be different if half our team didn't like (one of them). That's a different element. I would say that's not the case. I believe our offensive players feel extremely confident about both of these guys and that's why we feel comfortable with the direction we're going.

"We've talked with the quarterbacks about it. We're in pretty good shape with what we want to do going into this game."

CU's situation goes back a couple of years.

From 2017-19, Steven Montez was the starting quarterback for every CU game. He also started a few games in 2016. Just three months after Montez's final game, head coach Mel Tucker left and Dorrell was hired.

"I only had two scholarship quarterbacks here," Dorrell said.

At that time, in the spring of 2020, Lewis was a true freshman and the Buffs had junior Tyler Lytle. They then convinced Sam Noyer, who was in the transfer portal, to return.

After the 2020 season, Lytle transferred to Massachusetts and Noyer had offseason surgery (and then transferred to Oregon State). CU brought in Shrout as a transfer from Tennessee and added Drew Carter as a freshman recruit.

With Shrout injured last year, the Buffs were down to just two scholarship quarterbacks again (Lewis and Carter).

Now, the Buffs have five, including Shrout, Lewis and Carter.

"We've come a long way from where that point was (in the spring of 2020) to where we are now," Dorrell said.

Getting to this point has been a process and it will be a process to identify a full-time starter — if one emerges.

"There might be a point in time where either one of these guys we're talking about might just end up just taking off and just taking over; sometimes that happens, too," Dorrell said. "You just have to kind of judge it game by game and see how productive we are and rate them all."


Dorrell said he has felt a different vibe from the team this week as it prepares for a game. "You do see kind of another one step up of their focus and their finish on the details and stuff like that," he said. "You're starting to recognize those things. The team is getting excited about playing and they're right where they need to be." ... The film "Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story" will be shown at the Century Boulder Theater on Thursday at 3 p.m., followed by a question and answer session with CU legends Gary Barnett, Jeff Campbell, JJ Flannigan and Okland Salave'a. For tickets, visit or call 303-816-8802. Daily Camera readers can get a two-for-one discount with the promo code: GOBUFFS.