The iPhone’s groovy and all, but for Karl Dorrell, there’s no time like actual, in-person face time — especially for a new football coach making recruiting pitches.
And right now, Dorrell admits, the coronavirus isn’t just wreaking havoc on his first spring with the CU Buffs. It’s putting a crimp on those recruiting efforts, too.
“I understood that could happen,” Dorrell said Thursday during a conference call with media.
“(With) me being a new coach and some new coaches on our staff, there’s always an element of uncertainty — when no one can give you a timeline as to when things can start, when the season can actually begin, when it’s supposed to be spring practice, when are we going to have unofficial visits.”
Alas, college recruiting and social distancing don’t often go well together, as Buffs fans have found out the hard way via Twitter in recent days.
Palmer Ridge receiver/defensive back Anthony Costanzo, one of the top in-state gets from the Class of 2022, and receiver/defensive back Kaden Dudley, 247Sports’ No. 7 Colorado prep recruit for the Class of 2021, both announced earlier this week that they were reopening their recruiting after having committed to the previous CU coaching staff.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” Dorrell said. “They want to know what CU is going to look like … there’s going to be skepticism, they want to see what this is going to look like this year.”
That goes double for CU fans. And triple for Dorrell, whose hands have been tied by circumstances — and a pandemic — that are out of his control.
The city of Boulder is on lockdown until April 10. While CU players are slated to wrap up their week of spring break Sunday, that means no in-person meetings for at least another 12 days after that.
Spring practices and spring campus visits are on hold, with Dorrell and his staff working every day — like most of us — from their respective homes.
“Really, anything and everything is possible right now,” the coach said.
And that includes no college football in 2020, period.
“Those (thoughts) have crossed my mind,” Dorrell said. “It’s hard to fathom at this point, being that we’re still in March.
“I know it’s going to take some time for this pandemic to calm down and be in control. We’re hoping that it’s not going alter this season, but that’s a possibility. We have to be prepared for any and all things that could happen.”
The Buffs are one of three Pac-12 programs, along with Washington and Washington State, that have yet to start spring ball. Like CU, the Huskies and Cougars feature new head coaches in Jimmy Lake and Nick Rolovich, respectively.
Dorrell said CU coaches and the strength staff are communicating with players via Zoom chats, and that peer-to-peer motivation and organization are more important than ever. Players will be taking dictums from coaches remotely, just as they are classes, upon their return from spring break.
But the situation at CU, like a lot of campuses, remains fluid.
Spring practice was to have begun March 16 with Dorrell’s first spring game slated for April 25 at Folsom Field. With no mass physical gatherings allowed for roughly another two weeks, the latter date seems likely to be moved.
“We’re going to use this challenge as a great opportunity,” Dorrell said. “And not something that’s going to set us back.”