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Keeler: CU Buffs football won’t be taken seriously until Karl Dorrell, Rick George take offensive line seriously. Want to beat Utah? Great. Join ’em.



Keeler: CU Buffs football won’t be taken seriously until Karl Dorrell, Rick George take offensive line seriously. Want to beat Utah? Great. Join ’em.

Playing hard is a presumption, Karl Dorrell. Not a foundation.

“I felt (our 2020) team didn’t have the fight and I told them that,” Dorrell told reporters on Friday in Salt Lake City after his Buffs fell to rival Utah, 28-13, to wrap up a dispiriting 2021 slate.

“I felt like last year’s team, when we were in these moments you could sense a letdown. I felt this year’s team fought every time, every time …  And I know that foundation in the program about finishing games and playing hard and playing for each other, that’s definitely in place in this program right now.”

Foundations are pillars, not platitudes. They’re set in stone with dollars and dedication. They’re investments in identity.

You want to see a foundation, Coach?

Look west. Look across the border. Look across the line of scrimmage.

Since 2014, eight seasons running, the Utah Utes have featured the same offensive line coach and the same head of football strength and conditioning.

The Buffs (4-8, 3-6 Pac-12) over that same span have started a season with three different offensive line coaches, and are pursuing their fourth full-time face at that position since 2018. CU has put three different men in charge of strength and conditioning over the last eight years.

The Utes (9-3, 8-1) know who they are. Teams with strong foundations, no coincidence, also tend to be the ones with high floors. Iowa. Wisconsin. Minnesota. Utah. The Buffs lost to the Gophers and Utes this fall by a combined score of 58-13 in two meetings while giving up 543 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

CU quarterback Brendon Lewis, meanwhile, spent the last three months running for his life.

If the Buffs are truly serious about finding their niche again on the national college football stage, if they’re tired of the roller-coaster seasons and the anonymity, they’ll pour some bucks into the program’s infrastructure. The real foundational stuff.

Don’t just identify a good offensive line coach. Hire him or her. Invest in them. Keep them.

Because as erratic as Lewis looked during his first full season at the controls, he’s also still a freshman. And it’s going to be dang hard to get a read on where the kid’s ceiling is if he’s constantly working from a paper-mache pocket. Transfer J.T. Shrout, once he enters the picture again, same deal.

CU finished this campaign with six games — half the slate — in which it allowed at least three sacks or more. That hadn’t happened to the Buffs since 2018 (six games). It was even worse in 2017 (seven games).

Over the last five seasons, CU went 13-9 when allowing one sack or fewer in a game, for a winning percentage of .590, or 7-5 over 12 tilts. When it was two sacks or more, they were 10-22 (.312), which projects to a 4-8 regular season.

Again: Solid foundation, high floor.

These Buffs, as constructed, look tentative. What was true against Texas A&M at Empower Field was just as true on Black Friday in Salt Lake City: You’ve got trust issues on offense, top to bottom.

Whenever CU needed to go for the throat, its fingers got stuck south of the collar bone. Lewis this fall ran the gamut from hesitant to careful, a game-manager even during tilts in which he trailed by 10 points or more, the rare combination of safe and sorry.

Ergo, the young Texan wound up with a strong touchdown-to-interception ratio (10-3) and a decent completion percentage (58.3) but threw for only 128 yards per game on an offense that went without scoring a touchdown on three different occasions.

If last season was the fluke and this one is the norm, the Buffs are in trouble. And it’ll remain that way unless Dorrell and athletic director Rick George get serious about infrastructure, serious about the trenches.

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Nuggets’ Bol Bol undergoing right foot surgery following voided trade, source says



Nuggets’ Bol Bol trade with Detroit is off due to physical, source says

Nuggets forward Bol Bol is undergoing right foot surgery following his voided trade to Detroit last week, a league source told The Denver Post.

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Ex-Chicago Bears star Dan Hampton gets one year probation in Indiana drunken driving case



Ex-Chicago Bears star Dan Hampton gets one year probation in Indiana drunken driving case

An Indiana judge sentenced Bears Hall of Famer Dan Hampton to a year probation and other conditions after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge last month.

Hampton, 64, had an open jug of wine in his truck and had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit when he was stopped by a Winfield police officer Nov. 20, according to charging documents.

Lake Superior Judge Julie Cantrell accepted his plea on Dec. 22, court records show.

“Mr. Hampton deeply regrets the decision that he made on that particular evening, but he’s accepted responsibility for his actions and he’s looking forward to successfully completing all the terms of his probation,” his lawyer Matt Fech said Monday.

He admitted Dec. 21 to Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, a class A misdemeanor. In exchange, prosecutors dropped his other pending misdemeanor charges. Hampton would attend a court-ordered substance abuse program, victim impact panel, complete a defensive driving course and an option for 10 days in jail or community service.

An officer pulled Hampton’s black Chevrolet truck over on the 11700 block of Iowa Street just before 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 as he was driving 68 mph in a 40 mph zone, according to court documents.

Hampton, three miles from his Winfield home, claimed he had five beers at a friend’s house in Lowell, documents said. Later at the hospital, he learned his blood alcohol level was .189. The legal limit in Indiana is .08.

“That’s really high,” he whispered, before an officer took him to jail, documents said. He posted a $2,500 bond on Nov. 23.

Known to fans as “Danimal,” Hampton played as a defensive lineman for the Bears from 1979 to 1990, including the 1985 Super Bowl Championship team and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He hosts “The Hamp and O’B” show on WGN Radio with former Bears Ed O’Bradovich, Glen Kozlowski and host Mark Carman.

He was originally charged with operation of a vehicle with a specified amount of alcohol in body, a class A misdemeanor, operating while intoxicated endangering a person, both class A misdemeanors, and operating while intoxicated, a class C misdemeanor.

Hampton had previous drunken driving arrests in 2002 in Arkansas, days before he was voted into the NFL Hall of Fame. He served a week in jail and was fined $1,000, according to CNN. He also had past alcohol-related arrests in 1996 and 1997, according to media reports.

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Big voting bill faces defeat as 2 Dems won’t stop filibuster



Sinema, Manchin slammed as Senate begins voting bill debate


WASHINGTON (AP) — Voting legislation that’s a top priority for Democrats and civil rights leaders seemed headed for defeat as the Senate opened Tuesday, a devastating setback enabled by President Joe Biden’s own party as two holdout senators refuse to support rule changes to overcome a Republican filibuster.

The Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, face strong criticism from Black leaders and civil rights organizations for failing to take on what the critics call the “Jim Crow filibuster.”

The debate carries echoes of an earlier era when the Senate filibuster was deployed by opponents of civil rights legislation. It comes as Democrats and other voting advocates nationwide warn that Republican-led states are passing laws making it more difficult for Black Americans and others to vote by consolidating polling locations, requiring certain types of identification and ordering other changes.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer acknowledged the current bill’s likely defeat this week. But he said the fight is not over as he heeds advocates’ call to force all senators to go on record with their positions.

“The eyes of the nation will be watching what happens this week,” Schumer said as he opened the session Tuesday.

This is the fifth time the Senate will try to pass voting legislation this Congress.

The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act combines earlier bills into one package that would make Election Day a national holiday, ensure access to early voting and mail-in ballots — which have become especially popular during the COVID-19 pandemic— and enable the Justice Department to intervene in states with a history of voter interference, among other changes.

Both Manchin and Sinema say they support the package, which has passed the House, but they are unwilling to change the Senate rules to muscle it through that chamber over Republican objections. With a 50-50 split, Democrats have a narrow Senate majority — Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie — but they lack the 60 votes needed to overcome the GOP filibuster.

Just as they blocked Biden’s broad “Build Back Better” domestic spending package, the two senators are now dashing hopes for the second major part of Biden’s presidential agenda. They are infuriating many of their colleagues and faced a barrage of criticism during Martin Luther King Jr. Day events.

Martin Luther King III, the son of the late civil rights leader, compared Sinema and Manchin to a white moderate his father wrote about during the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s — a person who declared support for the goals of Black voting rights but not the direct actions or demonstrations that ultimately led to passage of landmark legislation.

“History will not remember them kindly,” the younger King said, referring to Sinema and Manchin by name.

Once reluctant to change Senate rules himself, Biden used the King holiday to pressure senators to do just that. But the push from the White House, including Biden’s blistering speech last week in Atlanta comparing opponents to segregationists, is seen as too late, coming as the president ends his first year in office with his popularity sagging.

“It’s time for every elected official in America to make it clear where they stand,” Biden said on the King holiday. “It’s time for every American to stand up. Speak out, be heard. Where do you stand?”

The Senate is launching what could become a weeklong debate, but the outcome is expected to be no different from past failed votes on the legislation. Biden has been unable to persuade Sinema and Manchin to join other Democrats to change the rules to lower the 60-vote threshold. In fact, Sinema upstaged the president last week, reiterating her opposition to the rules changes just before Biden arrived on Capitol Hill to court senators’ votes.

Senators have been working nonstop for weeks on rule changes that could win support from Sinema and Manchin. The two, both moderates, have expressed openness to discussing the ideas, but have not given their backing.

Both Manchin and Sinema have argued that preserving the filibuster rules, requiring a 60-vote majority to pass most legislation, is important for fostering bipartisanship. They also warn of what would happen if Republicans win back majority control, as is distinctly possible this election year.

Critics have also assailed Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who is leading his party against the voting legislation. The Kentucky senator has argued the legislation is a federal overreach into state-run elections, and he harshly criticized Biden’s speech last week as “unpresidential.”

“We cannot think of a time more defining to the American story than the chapter you are presently writing,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson wrote in an open letter to the Senate.

“What country will your children and grandchildren be left with, given the relentless assaults on American freedom and democracy?”

Manchin spokeswoman Sam Runyon said in a statement late Monday: “Senator Manchin believes strongly that every American citizen of legal age has not only the right, but also the responsibility to vote and that right must be protected by law. He continues to work on legislation to protect this right.”

Sinema’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The voting bill was the Democrats’ top priority this Congress, and the House swiftly approved H.R. 1 only to see it languish in the Senate.

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