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Just Stick to The Facts

There are only a few breaks in the college football calendar.

There are a few weeks of relative quiet between February Signing Day and the start of spring practices, and a few weeks of peace in late June and early July spanning the gap between summer camps and conference media days.

There is also supposed to be the month of May.

Spring games are in the books. Players head home after finals for a little respite before the start of summer workouts in early June.

Then Coach Prime came along.

In what was supposed to be a down time in the sport, Coach Prime is making national headlines .. again. Some of the headlines are not of his own making; but there is also some media churning which is directly attributable to CU’s head coach and his star quarterback.

By now you know the story …

This week, Max Olson (a Nebraska alumnus), posted a story in The Athletic entitled, “What happened to Deion Sanders’ Colorado castoffs? Revisiting a record-setting exodus“.

Xavier Smith, a safety at CU who was one of the multitudes shown the door, made some critical remarks about Deion Sanders, stating Coach Prime handled the situation coldly. “He was destroying guys’ confidence and belief in themselves,” Smith said in the article.

Shedeur fired back, tweeted a diss at Smith, saying he didn’t “even remember” the player, who must’ve been “very mid at best”. Coach Prime also dipped into the fray.

The social media storm this week has been non-stop. Some of the articles …

Want to watch or listen to pundits talk about the noise? Everyone from Scott Van Pelt and Pat McAfee on ESPN to almost every national podcast, has taken the time to weigh in (The Solid Verbal, The Audible, and Andy Staples are three podcasts I regularly listen to, and all three had podcasts this week focusing their attention on Colorado and Coach Prime).

What stood out to me, though, out of all of the media stories this week, was how two CU beat reporters, Brian Howell of the Boulder Daily Camera and Adam Munsterteiger of, jumped to Coach Prime’s defense – not so much for Coach Prime’s reactions on social media, but the underlying basis for the original story.

Howell’s Tweet (for which he got into a Twitter battle with some national pundits):

  • 1. The Athletic got what it wanted with that story, but was there a need for yet another story on the players who moved out of the program a year ago? No. Let it go.
  • 2. Any coach hired by an irrelevant program coming off a 1-11 season who doesn’t immediately try to change the culture – and the roster – isn’t doing their job.
  • 3. Anyone who thinks Colorado didn’t need a major roster overhaul after the 2022 season didn’t watch Colorado in 2022.
  • 4. I’ve covered WAY too many coaching changes at CU. Each time, there are players who were already here who just don’t fit anymore and the new coach spends a lot of time getting HIS players in. In the past, that took 2-3-4 years. Now, with the way the system is set up, you can do it quicker – and nobody needed a quicker turnaround than CU last year.
  • 5. Another thing that’s been true of every coach I’ve covered: You can easily find players who didn’t like the head coach. Generally, it’s the players who didn’t get to play much.

Meanwhile, Adam Munsterteiger talked about the turnstile which has become the Colorado roster the past two seasons:

“There have been a few guys that have left the program that Colorado would like to have on its roster in 2024,” Munsterteiger said, via the College Football Recruiting Show. “However, a lot of the guys that left were not going to be starters. It is tough to keep depth around in the portal era. You’ve got this revolving door with depth pieces. The big picture still looks very promising for Colorado. There’s been an overreaction when guys hit the portal at the beginning of every portal window. Were they better off from a total talent at the end of each window? The answer is yes every time.”

Munsteiger continued: “Have a little bit more trust in the process that they’ve shown since Sanders got to Boulder. It is unconventional, and it’s going to draw a lot of national headlines. This roster continues to get better after every window. From that standpoint, you’ve got to agree with Coach Prime in terms of what he’s building in Boulder.”

It’s a little unusual to see beat writers (outside of the SEC) come down on the side so succinctly on behalf of the teams they cover.

But in this case, the responses are justified.

Should Coach Prime and Shedeur jumped into the fray with their tweets about the article in The Athletic? Probably not. They’re comments just added fuel to the fire.

What they should have done is what Brian Howell and Adam Munsterteiger did, and stick to the facts.

I tried to do that with my Essay earlier this week, “If they are shooting at you … You must be doing something right“, detailing how the numbers from The Athletic article only go to show that a complete overhaul of the CU roster was necessary. The Athletic’s research found that, of the 53 scholarship athletes who left Boulder last spring, only 15 found their way to a Power Five program, and that, of the 37 athletes who went to a Power Five or Group of Five school, only 14 started even one game last fall.

In effect, The Athletic did all of the heavy lifting for Coach Prime. All he and Shedeur had to do was to look past the rhetoric and the quotes from a handful of former players, and point to the statistics as proof of concept.

But wait, there’s more …

All credit to Matt H. on X/Twitter for the following, which demonstrates how much better the Colorado lineup is getting. He compared the production from the players leaving the program this spring, to that of the players who will be suiting up for the Buffs this fall:

What has been lost: Offense

  • Alton McCaskill: 4 games, 78 total yards
  • Sy’Veon Wilkerson: 190 yards, 3 TD, 5 Rec, 50 yards
  • Dylan Edwards: 321 yards, 1 Rush TD, 36 Rec, 299 yards, 4 TDs
  • Chamon Metayer: N/A
  • Jacob Page: N/A
  • Kendall Stewart: N/A
  • Tarvarish Dawson: 7 games, 132 total yards, 2 TDs
  • David Conner: N/A
  • Isaiah Jatta: 11 games, 1 start
  • Savion Washington: 10 games, 9 starts

Out of the list, how many would CU fans have liked to keep? Dylan Edwards? Certainly. Savion Washington? Sure. Alton McCaskill and Chamon Metayer? Perhaps.

Now, compare the above losses to the gains made to the roster on the offensive side of the ball this off-season …

What has been added: Offense

  • Jordan Seaton: N/A (#1 OT in 2024)
  • Drelon Miller: N/A
  • Kam Mikell: N/A
  • Micah Welch: N/A
  • Sam Hart: N/A
  • Justin Mayers: 12 games, 12 starts
  • Tyler Johnson: 12 games, 12 starts
  • LaJohntay Wester: 12 games, 12 starts, 1520 all purpose yards, 10 TDs
  • Phillip Houston: 11 games, 11 starts
  • Cordale Russell: N/A
  • Will Sheppard: 12 games, 12 starts, 684 yards, 8 TDs
  • Kahlil Benson: 12 games, 12 starts
  • Terrell Timmons: 12 games, 195 yards
  • Yakiri Walker: 12 games, 12 starts

On the defensive side of the ball, there have been some familiar names which have entered the Transfer Portal this off-season …

What has been lost: Defense 

  • Vito Tisdale: 3 games, 0 tackles
  • Khairi Manns: 11 games, 1 start, 9 tkl, 1 sack
  • Cormani McClain: 9 games, 4 starts, 13 tkl, 2 PD
  • Demouy Kennedy: 10 games, 13 tkl, 2TFL
  • Devee Harris: 12 games, 14 tkl
  • Jaden Milliner-Jones: 12 games, 1 start, 18 tkl, 3 PD
  • Chazz Wallace: 10 games, 4 starts, 11 tkl
  • Adam Hopkins: 3 games, 4 tkl
  • JJ Hawkins: 10 games, 1 start, 5 tkl
  • Myles Slusher: 4 games, 1 start, 17 tkl, 1 sack
  • Omarion Cooper: 9 games, 8 starts, 37 tkl, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 5 PD, 1 FF
  • Bishop Thomas: 9 games, 6 tkl, 2 TFL, 1 PD
  • Kofi Taylor-Barrocks: N/A
  • Isreal Solomon: N/A
  • Victory Johnson: N/A

Would it have been great to keep Cormani McClain on the roster, and have him develop into the next Travis Hunter? No doubt. Would the Buff Nation been okay with having Jaden Milliner-Jones, Myles Slusher and Omarion Cooper in the defensive backfield this fall? Sure.

But compare what was lost to what has been added …

What has been gained: Defense

  • Brandon Davis-Swain: N/A
  • Eric Brantley: N/A
  • Ebenezer Bouzi: N/A
  • Kyeran Garcia: N/A
  • BJ Green: 12 games, 12 starts, 39 tkl, 6 sacks 11.5 TFL, 1 FF
  • Herman Smith: 8 games, 21 tkl, 1 TFL, 2 PD
  • Jaylen Wester: 11 games, 5 starts, 55 tkl, 1 sack, 7.5 TFL, 1 FF, 2 PD
  • Nikhil Webb-Walker: 12 games, 4 starts, 25 tkl, 2.5 sacks, 5 TFL, 1 FF
  • Taurean Carter: 12 games, 4 starts, 25 tkl, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
  • DJ McKinney: 14 games, 38 tkl, 5 PD
  • Samuel Okunlola: 11 games, 2 starts, 18 tkl, 5 sacks, 1 FF
  • Chidozie Nwankwo: 9 games, 6 starts, 25 tkl, 1 sack, 5 TFL, 1 blocked kick
  • Anquin Barnes: N/A
  • Quency Wiggins: 4 games, 2 tkl, 1 TFL
  • Preston Hodge: 13 games, 13 starts, 48 tkl, 3 TFL, 2 Int, 1 TD, 1 FF
  • Keaten Wade: 12 games, 35 tkl, 1 sack, 3 TFL, 1 blocked kick

Adam had it right when he said: “There’s been an overreaction when guys hit the portal at the beginning of every portal window. Were they better off from a total talent at the end of each window? The answer is yes every time.”

That should have been the reaction Coach Prime and Shedeur should have had to The Athletic article.

That should be the narrative going forward out of the Champions Center.

There are still almost four months before Coach Prime and his 2024 Buffs will be able to post some victories, showing that the Prime Way is a new and improved way to build a roster.

Until then, the narrative will be negative. The preseason magazines will be harsh. The preseason Big 12 coaches and media polls will be unkind.

They don’t matter … the roster is better.

Just stick to the facts …


9 Replies to “Just Stick to The Facts”

  1. Right on Stuart. The potential is already there or arriving soon:
    * Upgraded offensive line to help Shedeur take the next step in his production.
    * A simplified offense that Shedeur can read the defense quicker and get the ball out quicker.
    * To go with the offensive line upgrades, 2 larger RBs that should be able to grind out yards, get 1st downs and run down the clock.

    Hopefully the above, with the new skilled plays will help the offense improve their scoring and time of possession, helping the defense stay off the field, a great defense can be a great offense that can control the clock. Add In:

    * An improve defensive line and edge rushers.
    * Hopefully the new simplified defensive system works better than last year’s (play faster) and the upgrades on both sides of the ball help the defense take that next step… Or two.

    If key players stay healthy, the Buffs can turn those close losses into wins.

    Shedeur is going to lead the team and build his NFL stock, give him a little more time and production and he’s #1. But that requires wins.

    How many teams have two Heisman candidates, Hunter and Sanders (plus Shilo), leading their team?

    We’ll have to wait for the games to see, but fall camp this summer should be interesting.

    1. Oh Marcus, Marcus Marcus,
      the spokes person for most of the loyal Buff Fans.

      We are all wishing and hoping and thinking and praying our Buffs will romp, that Prime is right and it all starts to align this year as described in your post.

      Go Buffs!

      Note: What I’m wishing and hoping and thinking and praying for most of all:
      1. Beat the Kornholers!
      2. Beat the Rams!
      3. Make a bowl game (preferably a nice one)

  2. Unfortunately from this fans point of view, I’m going to lose interest in the college game when I don’t know any of the players and coaches each year, with the exception of one or two. This has nothing to do with Prime though, he is playing the cards dealt to him.

  3. Everything has a price, a cost of doing ‘business’ as it were. IMHO, and from an admittedly older Buff…social media is cancer.
    Golly, how did we ever manage without it?

  4. Y’all know exactly how I feel about sports writers. Its getting worse. Every year since football began (a century ago?) there have been kids who haven’t made the team.
    What a load of sports writer manure. Most of these writers were failures at some point in their athletic endeavors, usually very early, and I think that still clouds a lot of their judgment.
    Did Olson take up “poor” Smith’s cause because he was cut from his freshman baseball team? Did he also do it because he has a corn cobb up his….?
    One of my favorite movie lines came from Eastwood. A mans got to know his limitations.
    Sanders comes from the pros. He is operating like he is still in the pros because he is. College football is now a full blown pro sport. He is operating within the system handed to him. I hate that system but if I am going to remain a Buff fan I will have to roll with it.
    I think the portal and NIL systems were what the kids wanted. Live by it and die by it but get a grip on reality and quit blaming others for your personal failures. Kids these days need to realize its business now and better figure out quick if they can succeed in this business or try another one.
    And the writers need to recognize this too.

    1. Add Keeler of the Post to latest Denver writer to bear a seemingly unhinged grudge against Prime. In his latest screed he even takes down the legendary Ed McCaffrey and his tenure at UNC to go after Prime. A 2 Fer so to speak. He has the same vitriolic style that Pizzla has been vomiting up for years, and is now infecting the Gazette with.

  5. Cormani McClain will never be as good as Travis Hunter, their mindset is completely different. One wants to be the best ever and I have no idea what the other wants but he seems to want it handed to him on a silver platter.

    1. CM is a good athlete and a handful at the same time. The fact is, he is still about 175 pounds… This year more time away from the team/off the practice field (conditioning) than he was here. TH was a true plug and play Star.

    2. Agree, and it appears his mom is feeding his ego instead of motivating his work ethics. His high school coach said as much about him too, wanted to see Cormani coached by “NON-yes men” and someone who would tell him like it is.

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