It has been a long 2020 for fans of the Colorado Buffaloes. On November 30, 2019, Mel Tucker coached what would be his last game for the Buffs. 343 days later, Karl Dorrell will take the reins for the Buffaloes as head coach against the UCLA Bruins.
The Buffaloes may not be major competitors in the Pac-12 this season. Thus, there is not major pressure for Dorrell to produce results in his first year at the helm. However, the Buffaloes should be able to compete in a lot of their games this season. Fans want to see a competitive product. The past few seasons, the Buffaloes have not been consistently competitive nearly enough. That is what has led to three consecutive 5-7 seasons.
2020 Colorado Buffaloes Offense Has Talent, But Will Be Led By Former Safety
Colorado will start redshirt senior Sam Noyer at quarterback against UCLA. He won a tight contest against redshirt junior Tyler Lytle. Many will count the Buffs out when they realize Noyer played safety last season. Nonetheless, he beat out Lytle in what Dorrell called a very close competition. Dorrell also stated that the team wants to give Tyler Lytle playing time in some capacity throughout the season. It will be interesting to see if freshman Brendon Lewis will get any playing time at quarterback. He is the best dual-threat option the Buffaloes have. Having Lewis play in some capacity this season would add another aspect to a Buffaloes offense that has its share of weapons.
Darrin Chiaverini is returning to offensive coordinator after being the wide receivers coach last season. He was the offensive coordinator for the Buffs from 2016-18. He has plenty of weapons at his disposal.
The running back group was led by Alex Fontenot, but he may miss a large portion of the season with an undisclosed injury. That means that sophomores Jarek Broussard and Jaren Mangham will share the load at running back. Broussard is listed first on the depth chart, but Mangham caught the eyes of Buffs fans last season. It will be interesting to see if Broussard has the majority of the carries or if there may be a timeshare-type system at running back.
At wide receiver, the Buffaloes have plenty of talent. K.D. Nixon decided to return for his senior season, which is a huge plus for Sam Noyer. He also will have Dimitri Stanley, Daniel Arias, and true freshman Brendan Rice to throw the football to. If Noyer can maintain consistent accuracy, he has the talent around him to be successful.
Defense For Buffaloes Must Build On Consistency
On defense, the Buffaloes will look similar. They have Mustafa Johnson anchoring the defensive line. Nate Landman will be the main part of the linebacking corps in Tyson Summer’s 3-4 scheme.
In the secondary, the Buffaloes return Mekhi Blackmon, Derrion Rakestraw, and Chris Miller. The defense improved in home games near the end of last season, but that success did not translate on the road. It will be good that a similar group of players will be playing in the same defensive scheme they did last season. They must translate their success wherever they play to be competitive in the Pac-12 this season.
Colorado Buffaloes VS UCLA Bruins Prediction
The Buffaloes have seven scheduled games this season, but only six opponents have been determined. The Buffaloes will most likely finish 2-4 before they play their final game of the season. They are underdogs against UCLA this week, but there should be optimism that they might be able to pull off a victory in the first week of Pac-12 play. For Karl Dorrell, this game comes against the team that he was a head coach for from 2003-2007. However, the Bruins beat the Buffs 31-14 last year at Rose Bowl Stadium. The Buffaloes will be the underdogs, but the nation and Buffs fans alike should not be surprised if Colorado gets off to a winning start in 2020.
Prediction: CU 31, UCLA 28