QB battle continues as CU Buffs progress through camp

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Aug. 13—JT Shrout scrambled to avoid the pass rush on a few plays and completed passes downfield on a few others.

Most importantly, the Colorado junior quarterback came away from Saturday's scrimmage at Folsom Field with a clean bill of health.

"I'm sure that when you ask him, he was probably maybe a little bit nervous, because this is his first live scenario," CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. "The last time he got hurt was in a similar day. So he kind of got through that hurdle and over that."

It was 364 days ago, on Aug. 14, 2021, that Shrout suffered a season-ending knee injury on the rough Folsom Field turf, putting an end to CU's quarterback battle for that season.

On Saturday, the field was in pristine shape while Shrout and sophomore Brendon Lewis continued their competition for the starting job.

"Between the top two, it's really been nip and tuck," Dorrell said of the competition that has been ongoing through preseason camp. "This is what I thought it would be. It should be that way. They're both really good players."

Shrout completed several passes, including a 30-yard touchdown to tight end Brady Russell.

"That timing was impeccable," Russell said. "It was a cool look, because I knew outside, I had to let the receiver grab the corner so that I had an open zone over there. So I was waiting, waiting, waiting, holding off, trying to wait before I broke out on it and JT threw the ball before I even broke, which was cool. I turned and it was right there. So that was exciting seeing that coming together."

That play was an example that Shrout is fully recovered and getting his timing back with his receivers.

"He looks pretty good," Dorrell said. "I think he's making good decisions. He did some really good things."

So did Lewis, the incumbent starter. His day included a touchdown run on a fourth-and-goal situation from the 1-yard line.

Less than three weeks away from the Sept. 2 season opener against TCU, Dorrell said the two continue to battle for the lead role.

"They're both different, but they both have great leadership in their own ways," he said. "When one of the others is in the game, (the offensive players) respond to either one of them so those are all really, really positive things. I think the team really likes both of them. It's a good problem to have. If the team didn't like one of them, it would be a little bit more of a challenge. The team, or the offensive unit, feels that they can win with either one of them, so they feel good."

Sophomore Drew Carter was sharp during the scrimmage, as well, while true freshman Owen McCown continues to impress Dorrell.

The son of 19-year NFL veteran Josh McCown, the younger McCown is still developing physically, at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, but has a strong arm and has displayed some moxie already.

"It doesn't really surprise me because he comes from, obviously, a quarterback family and his dad has played a long time in the league," Dorrell said. "Some of that stuff he's learned, he's learned at home basically. He's having a really, really good camp for a first-year player that got here this summer."

Dorrell said McCown is competing for the third spot on the depth chart with Carter and Maddox Kopp.

"I'm very, very proud of what he's done and we'll keep bringing him along," Dorrell said. "He's just really slight. That's the only thing I'm really scared about. He looks like he's in high school still, but he's a really good player. I'm glad he's on our team."