Colorado to have former Giants coach Pat Shurmur call plays vs. Oregon State

ENGLEWOOD , CO - AUGUST 3: Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur speaks during training camp on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Pat Shurmur has been an NFL head coach for the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants and has been serving as an analyst for Colorado in 2023. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Colorado is hoping a change to the offensive coaching staff will be the catalyst for a late-season push.

According to Yahoo Sports' Ross Dellenger, former New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is set to be the team’s play-caller on Saturday night against No. 16 Oregon State. Shurmur has been serving as an analyst for the Buffaloes in 2023, while former Kent State coach Sean Lewis has called plays as the offensive coordinator.

Colorado has one of the most one-dimensional offenses in the country. Its run game is nearly non-existent. The Buffaloes rank 128 out of 130 teams in rushing offense at 78.6 yards per game. Only Colorado State and Hawaii rush for fewer yards per game.

Colorado’s leading rusher is freshman Dylan Edwards. He has 262 yards on 58 carries over the first eight games of the season.

Buffaloes QB Shedeur Sanders has thrown 346 passes and has been sacked 41 times. Colorado has lost 381 yards on sacks this season.

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders made it clear after the team’s Week 9 loss to UCLA that the team needed to improve on the offensive line. Colorado’s line has been overmatched for much of the season.

“The line has to improve, there ain’t no aspect,” Sanders said after the UCLA game to a reporter’s question about the play up front. “The line has to improve.”

For Shurmur to serve as the team’s play-caller, Colorado will have to make a move on its coaching staff and move an assistant to an off-field role. Like all teams, Colorado is already at the maximum limit of 10 on-field, non-graduate student assistant coaches and Dellenger notes that Shurmur will now be considered the team's co-offensive coordinator.

Shurmur, 58, was the coach of the Giants in 2018 and 2019. The team went 9-23 in his two seasons in charge. A longtime NFL offensive coordinator, Shurmur’s first NFL head coaching job came in Cleveland, where he also spent two seasons and went 9-23.

After he was fired from the Giants, Shurmur spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.

Lewis joined Colorado’s staff when Sanders arrived ahead of the 2023 season. His hire was seen as a big get for Colorado after Kent State went to two bowl games in his five seasons as a head coach. Lewis is making a base salary of $850,000 as Colorado’s offensive coordinator. He made $530,000 in his final season at Kent State.