We need to talk about Deion Sanders.
After the Buffs shocked the world on Saturday, knocking off a TCU team that is fresh off an appearance in the national championship, and came into the game a three-touchdown favorite, the narrative became about Deion Sanders’ receipts.
To be fair to coach Prime, he did announce that he’s been keeping receipts all along, but that man started waving them around the moment he had his first opportunity.
In the postgame press conference, Deion Sanders called out long-time ESPN reporter Ed Werder, who grew up in Colorado, and has been based out of Dallas since Deion was a Cowboy. Prime repeatedly asked Werder “do you believe now?” When Werder said “who said I didn’t believe” and “in what?,” Deion cut him off and said “next question.”
What was Deion referring to? It’s likely that Coach Prime was upset that Ed Werder referred to him as a “celebrity coach” in a tweet.
Worse things have certainly been said, but Deion needed to make someone an example in the moment, and Ed Werder was in the wrong place at the right time.
Look, if you’re a coach, and you want to take reasonable suspicion and portray it to your own team as hate in order to motivate them- do what you gotta do. Kirby Smart does it, and he knows damn well that nobody with two functioning brain cells to rub together doubts Georgia.
There has to be a difference between people thinking that Colorado might not IMMEDIATELY revert back to the incredible run they had from 1989-1996, and the people that think Deion Sanders is incapable of winning AT ALL on the highest level.
But how Deion Sanders chooses to motivate his players doesn’t change the fact that this 2023 Colorado team still has a long way to go to get to the mountaintop.
They went 1-0 last week. But guess what? So did the other 11 teams they share a conference with.
You didn’t see Chip Kelly out here reminding people that LA Times reporter Ben Bolch said he should be fired.
There’s nothing wrong with Deion’s energy- it was a big moment and the eyes on the nation were on his players- he’d have been insane not to take advantage of that… but that’s not the energy that’s going to get them through a Pac-12 season with Bo Nix, Caleb Williams, and Utah’s running game all waiting for their shot at a defense that gave up over 500 yards when fully healthy.
So let’s be reasonable. Let’s take stock of what Colorado has, and what they don’t have.
First, Shedeur Sanders destroyed Colorado’s single game passing record in his first start. If you didn’t believe in that young man, and to be honest I saw more doubt thrown his way than Deion’s, then you definitely need to repent and believe. 510 yards on 38 completions, with no picks? Four touchdowns? When the team needed Shedeur the most, on a third-and-16 with CU down four, he made a play. He’s legit.
Second, Travis Hunter is a unicorn. 120+ snaps. Over 100 yards receiving. I was told this kid has a first round grade as a defensive back AND a receiver. There have only ever been a handful of players like him. He should be mentioned in the same breath as Chris Gamble, Charles Woodson, and even Deion himself.
Third, did Deion set the tone for belief, situational awareness, and composure in a big moment? Absolutely, you either have the ability to prepare a team to succeed, or you don’t, and Deion not only showed the ability to do that, he also showed his brilliance in luring Sean Lewis away from being Kent State’s head coach to run his offense. And getting a team with 87 players that were somewhere else last season to be able to play together? That’s special.
HOWEVER, it’s a long season. The defense is suspect. They gave up over 7 yards a carry against TCU. The run game is suspect. They had 28 carries for 90 yards. They forced two turnovers, but didn’t have a single tackle or sack in the backfield.
If seeing is believing, what we saw was a doubly one-dimensional team Both as an offense, AND ON OFFENSE. The Pac-12 has had plenty of those. It’s the reason Sonny Dykes is at TCU and not Cal. It’s the reason Mike Leach never won a Pac-12 title. It’s the reason people are suspicious of Lincoln Riley and Kalen DeBoer both last year and this year.
Colorado is thin up front on both sides of the line, and the depth everywhere else isn’t exactly where Deion wants it to be.
But what Colorado lacks in power and depth, they’re currently making up for in the one thing more priceless and precious than almost anything else in the world of college football- Colorado has hope.
If Deion Sanders can keep that hope afloat with a positive showing against Nebraska, who isn’t going to want to play for him? Because it’s not the belief of the media that Deion Sanders needs… Ed Werder joining the Colorado church choir does nothing for the program.
The people Deion Sanders needs to believe are the ones that throw, catch, run, block and tackle. Once he has their belief, that’s when you’ll see the Buffaloes back in the promised land.
Let that sink in.