October 21, 2020
After Karl Dorrell was
hired to replace Mel Tucker last February, the new Buffaloes' head coach faced piecing together a staff.
Several assistants went
with Tucker to Michigan State, and staffs to a significant extent were set around the country.
So after assessing, for his coordinators, Dorrell chose to
stick with holdover Tyson Summers -- who had passed through Colorado State under Mike Bobo and also served as head coach at
Georgia Southern -- on the defensive side of the ball.
And on offense, he decided to trust a familiar face.
Darrin Chiaverini, once a
Buffs' wide receiver working under a CU receivers coach named Karl Dorrell, was promoted back into the offensive coordinator
job he had held in 2018 under Mike MacIntyre. He was solely the receivers coach under Mel Tucker in 2019. Now this season,
Chiaverini also will remain receivers coach, wearing a second hat. (Or is that ... wearing a second mask?)
Given that the Buffs'complete spring practice was scrubbed and time together over the
summer was, well, nil, it's probaby fortunate that CU will have some continuity in the playbook/iPad from a year ago, and
have a familiar voice teaching it. CU's seven-game Pac-2 schedule opens on Nov. 7 against UCLA.
"Obviously, I wanted this position and I wanted to be in this position," Chiaverini said after the Buffs'
Wednesday practice. "I feel like if you're going to be in this profession, you want responsibility. You want to havee
it on your shoulders. I wanted that in '18 and I want it again in 2020. I'm appreciative of the opportunity Coach Dorrell
has given me and I feel good about our offensive
He's joined on the offensive staff by running backs coach Darian Hagan -- "He's the mayor
of Boulder," Chiaverini said -- plus veteran quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf, offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue,
and tight ends coach Taylor Embree, the son of former CU head coach Jon Embree.
The other reallity is that Dorrell's
background is on offense, so he's not going to be an uninvolved bystander.
"Karl's been great," Chiaverini said.
"He told me, 'Chev, I want this to be your offense, I'm going to give you suggestions, I'm going to give you things that
we need to be successful,' and I love it. I think it's great to have a head coach that's an offensive mind. And I trust Coach
Dorrell, So we have a different relationship than just him hiring me as a coach. 'Hey, Chev, think about this, think about
these kinds of tweaks, these wrinkles in play action, about these different things.' It's been great for me. I see what he's
talking about when he brings it up."
Chiaverini played under Rick Neuheisel at CU from 1995-98 and played four years in
the NFL, with Cleveland, Dallas and Atlanta. Those were the same four seasons in Boulder when Dorrell was on the Neuheisel
staff before moving with Neuheisel to Washington.
"I tell him all the time, 'You used to coach me hard,'" Chiaverini said of
Dorrell. "He coached me like I coach our receivers. He was passionate, he was on me, applying pressure daily. He made
me the player I was."
Of course, Chiaverini will be a lot better offensive coordinator if one of his three unproven
quarterbacks -- graduate/senior Sam Noyer, redshirt junior Tyler Lytle and true freshman Brendon Lewis -- steps up. Otherwise,
after the long runs of Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez at the position will seem like the good, old days. Especially under tumultuous
circumstances and relative little time to get ready, the Buffs seem determined not to throw Lewis in too soon.
"I've really been pleased with their commitment to getting better," Chiaverini
said of Lytle and Noyer. "Going through this pandemic and not having spring ball, not having summer access, to be
11 practices in now and have had a scrimmage, I feel we've gotten better every day. I really love those guys' energy being
out there. You can tell that football was taken away from them in the spring and they realize how precious this time is."
The Buffs' Opening
Day -- at least the scheduled Opening Day (right CSU?) -- is 17 days away.