Getting Under Their Skin: Coach Prime’s Detractors

Deion Sanders has taken the University of Colorado football program from obscurity to national relevance at a breath-taking pace.

CU limped into the offseason with a 1-11 record, on the heels of six straight losses. Only one of the losses under the interim coaching staff was within one touchdown. The average score in the second half of the 2022 season? A 51-17 beatdown.  CU’s inept offense (128th in total offense; 127th in scoring offense) was only matched by the CU’s sieve of a defense (130th in total defense; 131st – dead last in the nation – in scoring defense).

Both ESPN and CBS Sports had their fun with CU’s embarrassing season, declaring the Buffs to be the worst team in college football.

From ESPN’s Final Bottom Ten of the 2022 season … While the Buffs wait to be rebuffed by Deion, they can at least spend that time celebrating a championship. We knew that 2022 had been a total mess, but once we pushed it through the numerical cheese grater of the Bottom 10 FPI formula, Colorado became the college football equivalent of Jared Leto’s “Morbius.” We were already plenty sure it was going to be bad. We just never could have imagined it would be that awful.

From CBS Final Bottom 25 of the 2022 season … No. 1 UMass defeats No. 2 Colorado 2-0

What more could we have asked for in our title game than a battle between No. 1 and No. 2? It was a game both teams were building toward all season, and in the end, Colorado was just a little too much for UMass to overcome. The Minutemen won 2-0 on a safety as a bad snap on a punt went soaring over the punter’s head, through the end zone and hitting Ralphie right between the eyes. This sent Ralphie on a rampage through the stadium, but after a 25-minute delay, Ralphie’s handlers got things back in order and the game was able to conclude. Colorado becomes the first Power Five program to win The Bottom 25 championship. It’s truly a historic moment. Congratulations to the Buffaloes. 

CU was a national joke.

On December 4, 2022, however, the trajectory for the CU program was dramatically altered.

Deion Sanders took to the Power Five college football stage with a flourish, and hasn’t let up a single day since.

From ESPN GameDay at the national championship game to CBS This Morning to Amazon’s Thursday Night Prime Time telecast to almost every national radio broadcast, Coach Prime is not only on during prime time, but on throughout every work day as well. Neill Woelk put together a compilation of some of the national stories posted just this week:

  • Max Olsen of The Athletic is asking: “Can Coach Prime become the new portal king?” … “When Colorado offers a player in the portal now, it definitely gets their attention. This staff has brought in a long list of visitors and has found quite a few who will help right away”;
  • Former Buff and Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt is openly asking: “Can the Buffs be a playoff contender in 2024? … Klatt opines that if CU has a Top 25 Recruiting Class this year, and has another equal (or better) Class in 2024, that in the USC/UCLA-less “Pac-10”, a conference with a seat at the table in the new 12-team Playoff format, the Buffs have a clear path to at least contend for a Playoff berth;
  • Ari Wasserman of The Athletic sees the dramatic arc of CU’s recruiting under Coach Prime: “If in two years Sanders signs a top-five class with 10 top-100 players in it, that would be one of the most remarkable turnarounds of a program in the history of this sport. The truth is that’s entirely possible, too”;
  • Even Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News is chiming in: “It’s clear the Buffaloes will be exponentially better than they were in 2022.”

And the stories keep on coming. After Woelk’s article was posted, CBS Sports posted an article: “12 college football teams that can crack the top 25 and make some noise in 2023“, and yes, CU made the list:

  • ColoradoTulane just set the one-year turnaround record going from 2-10 to 12-2. USC played for the Pac-12 and went to the Cotton Bowl a year after going 4-8. So, no, this isn’t outrageous as it seems. Deion Sanders has brought his “Louie” in the form of 19 transfers (so far). His son, Shedeur Sanders, will have a lot of pressure on him at quarterback. The schedule is tough, but so is life. It’s time for Coach Prime to walk the walk right away. A bowl is almost expected considering what Sanders has said and done in recruiting so far. Anything beyond 6-6 would be amazing gravy.

A nice compliment from CBS, a website which, less than two months earlier, gleefully named Colorado the first Power Five team to “win” the CBS Bottom 25 playoff.

It’s been a dizzying ride for CU … and some college football pundits and fans are getting a bit nauseous.

When the commitment of five-star cornerback recruit Cormani McClain as announced, fans at the University of Miami, where McClain had been committed, turned on their former star recruit … and mocked CU and Coach Prime:

From InsidetheU (Miami 247 Forum) …

  • Best revenge is to ignore him make him irrelevant
  • Bust…
  • No hate towards CM7. But, Deion needs to learn to stay in his lane. He’s literally a piece of dog sh*t … He needs to sit down with the bottom schools. Let the big dogs come to the big schools. F Deion and his staff.
  • Glad it’s over. Take your lying momma with yah!
  • Random flip ona. Thursday. Mario must’ve pulled the offer
  • When they go 3-9 and 4-8 and he’s been 7-17 in his career I don’t want to hear his name whether he is in the portal or not.
  • Congratulations ?? to him and Colorado. The cold ?? weather gonna humble some of the Florida kids really quick though.
  • This kid is the definition of a man with no father figure. Shy, insecure, and doesn’t know how to behave like a man. He will be nothing but a drama queen. He got a room tempature (sic) iq (sic).
  • This was as low rent as it gets. Frankly good riddance to that clown show. I don’t think the kids body will hold up anyway in power 5 football.
  • He has pulled the #1 Corner in back-to-back classes while at Jackson State & Colorado in an era of NIL, where he is at schools that can easily be out-NIL’d. Things that make you go hmmm.

Comments in reaction to The Athletic article about Coach Prime becoming the Transfer Portal king were also far from gracious:

  • You keep falling over yourself to praise Sanders but if he wasn’t at Colorado you’d call that class week (sic). Not a ton of players with power 5 experience;
  • Playing in the SWAC is a lot different than power 5 football, I can’t wait to watch this experiment go up in flames;
  • Portal King for number of transfers is one thing. A better article may be Portal King for most transfers and wins. Coach Prime and is luggage are going to feel like luggage off a Southwest flight after one real football game. I imagine ole Louis is going to be banged up, bruised, and busted open after a full season.

Comments in reaction to The Athletic article about Coach Prime perhaps one of the greatest turnarounds in college football:

  • How long was Mel Tucker in Colorado? And how did he do in his one season there to warrant a move to Michigan State? If Sanders has a great season in Boulder this year, all I can tell Buffs fans is to enjoy it because he’ll most definitely be moving on back to the southeast.
  • Cormani leaves UM hanging on signing day, just like Deion stuck it to Jackson State. They are a perfect fit for each other. Colorado will regret the hire. Looking forward to Oregon, Washington, and Utah cleaning Colorado’s clock over the next few years.
  • I know he’s not a mature adult but still, have common courtesy and inform your currently committed team … Cormani seems like drama, look for him to be in the portal and follow Deion to next stop in 1-2 years, just like Travis Hunter.

But wait, there’s more …

— One self-described “progressive” writer doesn’t like Coach Prime’s style:  I feel Coach Prime talks far too much, for me about himself.  He repeated 27 times during his 15-minute speech that “I’m coming.” There is no “I” in team unless it’s Deion. I’m tired of leaders who make it all about themselves and their swagger.  Coach Prime appears to be a sincere straight shooter and a self-promoting narcissist.

— Matt Rhule, Nebraska’s head coach, hasn’t had a problem taking shots at CU’s new head coach: During an appearance on Bussin’ With the Boys, Rhule discussed having his first team meeting with the Huskers. He also made it clear those types of things will be focused on the players without cameras involved.

“I had my first team meeting last night. I’m one of those guys, I don’t let cameras in, there won’t be a camera following me around,” said Rhule. “I want it to always be (about) the players.”

— Then there was this article, posted in YardBarker, comparing the hire of Coach Prime at Colorado to that of Nebraska hiring Scott Frost:

For Nebraska fans, this hype train is eerily familiar. In December 2017, Nebraska landed Frost, a celebrity coach in his own right. He was fresh off a double-digit win season at Central Florida, a lower-tier program. Sanders, a first-time Power Five head coach, is coming off a three-year stint at HBCU Jackson State, where he went 27-6.

Frost brought in 28 transfers during his tenure. Despite that haul and his hyped initial recruiting success, Frost never had winning record in his five seasons at his alma mater. In September 2022, Nebraska fired him.

— And what about this headline? “Deion Sanders goes back on major promise“.

Was this a story about Coach Prime leaving Jackson State and the HBCU community? Nope … it was a story about how Deion Sanders, in 2017, said he would never again wear Nike gear.

True enough, but not exactly the stuff warranting a headline on Coach Prime “going back on a major promise”.

Haters gotta hate.

Perhaps Coach Prime had the best response to the negative press which has started to creep into the national stories about Colorado. When asked about the doubters, those who continue to point out that Coach Sanders hasn’t coached at the Power Five conference level, and how his confidence about “winning now” may be overstated, here’s what Coach Prime had to say:

Interviewer: If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it looks like you are trying to win now. It doesn’t look like you are trying to build something.

Coach Prime: I don’t know what that means.

Interviewer: A lot of folks, when they get in this situation, they say it will be a year or two …

Coach Prime: They’re scared. That means they’re scared or afraid. We’re trying to go and get it right now. I mean right now. 

It may not work out for Coach Prime at Colorado. It may work out well, and Coach Sanders leaves Boulder before a permanent level of success has been restored.

Time will tell, but Coach Prime has already won the off-season. Colorado is relevant on the national stage, just two months removed from being a national joke.

The Buffs are back … whether or not the detractors are willing to admit it …


9 Replies to “Getting Under Their Skin: Coach Prime’s Detractors”

  1. Trying to equate Scott Frost in any way to Coach Prime is ridiculous… SF was in over his head from day one and couldn’t deal with the bright lights. For Deion, no amount of lights are too bright.

    Go Buffs

  2. Coach Prime’s style is definitely different. I suspect that if he was coaching USC most of us would be on the other side of our support. I think I would. I would admit his success at a much lower level while saying that was done that with talent that should likely not been in that league. A lot of the program that we see seems to be about him. His son, follows him around and films him each day. He has multiple obligations beyond football that take him away from football.

    There are things that people outside of the program will say are signs that Sanders will not have success. But I think it requires a deeper look. I am one of those guys that watches all of the YouTube videos that come out. Not just his sons (Well off media) but also Thee Pregame, and Reach the People. It gives an unprecedented look inside the program and while it is a lot about Sanders and his family you get a ton of insight into how the program works. A couple of things I have spotted that an outsider who is not watching everything would miss.

    1. Sanders is building a culture that requires excellence. Everything must be done right. They were in the weight room working at and one of the guys had white socks on instead of black. Sanders kicked him out. At first I thought that this was a bit petty, but as o saw other things around the program I think it is a demand for doing what you are told to do. Sanders will kick someone out of a meeting for having a cell phone on, he will kick someone out of a lift for having the wrong socks. Attention to detail, follow the rules. These are required for a successful football program. Jumping offsides a bunch, false starts, running routes wrong or holds will not be tolerated. You will have attention to detail and you will execute as you have been told to or you will not be there.
    2. Exposure – this generation is used to having everything on film. They believe in themselves and aspire to what Sanders has. Him having a crew of guys following him around is exactly what they want. So watching him get this attention shows them what they aspire. They are already developing channels of their own and Bucky (Sanders Jr) readily talks to them about how to setup their channels and make content.
    3. The same goes for the things away from football. They all want that. It is the natural evolution of NIL. They don’t see this as a distraction, they see it as what they aspire to have (this is more of an assumption as I have not seen this on film).
    4. Talent – the point above about us not getting a huge number of power 5 starters is correct. But one thing I have seen from the film is the guys look like grown ass men and not boys. They look big and fast. Travis Hunter and Shedeur Are big. Hunter is not 165 as he was listed. And he runs so smooth.
    5. Work. Now we have only seen some of the strength and conditioning work outs and some of the late night throw sections, but it is clear they are putting in work in those programs. Shedeur may have come from a lower program but man the ball looks good coming out of his hands. He is throwing with the recievers. I hope the other units are getting work outside like that. Corners covering receivers, o line practing sets and pulls, de line drilling pass rush techniques. If the whole team is doing what we see from the offense on film we are going to be much better. We see Wiley at Mchesney’s I assume the others are getting work in as well.

    I watched the DNVR show and they think we will have 1-2 starters on each side of the ball return. They are predicting almost an entirely new team. I think that this sort of challenge may bring out the best. Of the guys we had on the team last year. If they put in the work I think they can compete with the guys that were brought in. But they will have to work instead of just showing up.

    As all of us are I am excited for the season. Can’t wait for spring ball.

  3. wow
    where do you start with all that?
    lets start with the guy who said ” Shy, insecure, and doesn’t know how to behave like a man. ” That comes from a guy describing himself. He is attacking a kid he doesnt even know.
    In fact the whole cries of desperation of those Miami posts are from a bunch of insecure screaming meemees who have let their fandom erase any character they may have ever had.
    I wish Stuart was able to post the glowing things they said about Cormani when they thought they had him in the fold. Big men indeed.
    Then we have the profane attack on Prime coming from someone who was obviously upset with the attention an “uppity (black man)” was getting. “He needs to sit down with the bottom schools.”
    You mean like the back of the bus?
    Then the Yardbarker comes at us with a real departure from reality comparing Prime with Frost when the obvious real comparison would have been with KD. Both those guys acted like they were happy as clams in a backwoods cabin conversing with no one except the squirrels and deer and were suddenly thrust into the middle of a stadium filled with 60,000 miami type fans. And of course their records.
    Finally its the giant and impossible leap for Prime into the far superior world of the Group 5.
    none of these pundidiots mentioned that being the likely GOAT at his position in the NFL might give him a little more perspective? Nah…these big mouths in the booth that never played the game know better….right?
    Never heard of bussin with the boys so I clicked on the link and watched these 2 for about a minute. I got the impression there was a little gayness in there. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  4. No way you can say just because of record when getting hired to a P5 school that Frost is anything like CP. His players were poorly coached, his in-game decisions were bad and his players lack discipline on the field with far too many penalties.

    CP demands respect and courtesy from his players.

    Even if as some has said, the players gained are only middle of the PAC12 quality that’s 6 places hire than the Buffs were and CP and staff will take those players and make them better and faster. I can’t wait to see the new offense… At altitude no less. And when on the road at sea level that conditioning will pay off too.

    And, CP’s not done yet with the transfers, who knows what CU will end up with by the end of Spring Training? But the Buffs are not the same team or staff in any way, the 2 deep will have almost all new names with only a few on both sides of the ball returning.

  5. I’m with Andrew. I think it will work. And I won’t be surprised if Deion is in Boulder a lot longer than many think.

    Go Buffs

    Ps- when is February 1? Anyone wanna bet against another starburst or two?

  6. People can say whatever they want. One sure tell for me about Sanders is his kids. They all love and respect him. You can lie to the world, but you can’t lie to your kids. So if those closest to him believe and trust him, then I am willing to as well. He might leave in a few seasons, but I have a feeling that he will be at CU for a while. I think he wants to build something and win a NC at CU. What do I know? Nothing. It’s just a hunch. But I am willing to trust Coach Prime. After last season and the last 18 years, I am ready for whatever he brings.

  7. Predicting the future is great fun.
    I do it every morning on whether my 20 minute daily “work the old core/body” is gonna happen or not.
    On a weekly count I proudly predict it will happen sometimes 6 days
    In actuality the blessed/groaning event may happen 4 to 5 times each week. Never less than 3.

    I am in complete control of whether the event happens or not. Yet I have a hard time predicting it over time and on a daily basis.

    The curve of the Buffs FBT is not predictable. “The Showman” has control of the stage and his relevancy has made the Buffs relevant. That is all. (So Far) It’s a starburst (the candy) first chew nails ya then it’s a lot of work. Sometimes the remnants make the waste basket.

    Predicting the actual on field success of the Mighty Buffalo is not possible. There is no way possible. A SWAG is all that is available.

    Can’t do it. Ain’t gonna play. No speculate from me.

    That is it. Let the stretching and groaning begin.

    Go Buffs………………latch on to his star and ride it………………”to the moon Alice”

    No (Know) Note:
    You’re slouching again Ted
    Expired expired expired
    Lotta house, hope you can keep it clean.
    Aunt Joni is here.

  8. As in all things time will tell. A wise man once said you are what your record says you are….and right now, just like every other team in the country CU is undefeated
    With the portal and all the movement of players now, the key will be can CP and his staff create the proper chemistry needed that translates to good ball on the field…that is yet to be seen… doubt that he has the moxy to pull it off.
    Sure is fun to watch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *