Jul 27, 2021; Hollywood, CA, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Karl Dorrell, wide receiver Dimitri Stanley, linebacker Nate Landman speaks with the media during the Pac-12 football Media Day at the W Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado takes on Northern Colorado in Ed McCaffrey’s debut

Ed McCaffrey has three Super Bowl rings and a son, Christian, whom many consider the top running back in the NFL right now. But on Friday night those things won’t be on his mind. He’ll be focusing on his first college football game as the head coach of Northern Colorado.

McCaffrey’s long wait for his coaching debut ends when the Bears take on the Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder in the season opener for both teams.

McCaffrey was hired before the 2020 season after a successful stint as head coach of Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Northern Colorado sat out the 2020 season because of the pandemic and now takes on a Pac-12 team in its first game in 21 months.

McCaffrey isn’t going into the game without weapons. The quarterback is his son, Dylan, who transferred from Michigan where he had an uneven career under Jim Harbaugh, and 18 players on the roster have played for FBS schools.

“We’ve seen David-Goliath games before, where every now and again, David connects and wins the game,” McCaffrey said of the Buffs. “And we expect to win every game.”

The expectations for Colorado are no different, and there is budding confidence in head coach Karl Dorrell’s second season. Dorrell was hired in February 2020 after Mel Tucker bolted to Michigan State after one year guiding the Buffaloes. Despite being hired later than most head coaching positions are filled, and not having a spring practice, Dorrell guided Colorado to a 4-2 finish and won Pac-12 Conference coach-of-the-year honors.

Dorrell has won the confidence of the roster — upperclassmen included — with his style. The Buffaloes feel confident going into this season.

“His culture is (about) working hard and just playing football the way the game is supposed to be played,” senior linebacker Nate Landman said. “I think that foundation that was built last year is going to be brought up a lot this year.”

Dorrell already has a big challenge to start the season. Sophomore quarterback JT Shrout, who transferred from Tennessee, suffered a knee injury in a preseason scrimmage and will miss a significant amount of time. That elevated freshman Brendon Lewis to the top of the depth chart.

–Field Level Media