Deion Sanders knows exactly what it will take to turn Colorado around in year one

Deion Sanders, Colorado Buffaloes. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Deion Sanders, Colorado Buffaloes. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The key in Deion Sanders being able to turn around Colorado is all about player development.

Deion Sanders knows he cannot do it alone, which is why he has assembled quite the coaching staff at Colorado to hasten the turnaround for the long, downtrodden Buffaloes program.

But why Colorado? Sanders sees a golden opportunity to build something special over in Boulder.

Coach Prime may have already had tremendous success at Jackson State, but that was at the HBCU level, and this is the Power Five… Colorado was the worst program in the country last year, going a disastrous 1-11 during a campaign in which Karl Dorrell was fired right in the middle of it. Although his larger-than-life personality will play a part in their turnaround, he cannot do it alone.

It is why Sanders has assembled quite the staff around him in his first year at Boulder. His two coordinators of note are former Kent State Golden Flashes head coach Sean Lewis and former Alabama assistant defensive coordinator Charles Kelly. Sanders is bullish on these two hirings, so he told FanSided a little bit about them, as well as the program’s expectations, on behalf of KFC.

Sanders says he had an immediate connection with the innovative former Kent State head coach.

"“Oh, he’s smart. We hit it off over the phone, we hit it off during Zoom calls. He’s smart, direct and he has goals. He has an understanding of offense, and I know what Coach (Charles) Kelly from Alabama is going to do and (Dennis) Thurman is also here as one of the analysts.”"

Whether it be Kelly, Lewis or even Dennis Thurman as one of the analysts, Sanders trusts them.

"“So we what we have in the coaching staff is phenomenal. I trust those type of men, where I can focus on other things and just be me and who I am and what I bring to the table. They could do with their gift that you do as well by coordinating the offense and defensive teams.”"

You factor in a massive roster turnover, a coaching staff overhaul, as well as The Coach Prime Effect, it isn’t out of the question to see Colorado go something like 6-6 and achieve bowl eligibility in year one. The expectations are very high for Sanders in Boulder, but he, his staff, the university and the rest of the Buffaloes program seem to be about the right things in all of this.

Expectations are sky-high at Colorado, but even diehards may have to temper them just a tad.

Deion Sanders is key on making the right hires to help turn Colorado around

Whether it be the buzz around town or the massive increase in attendance at their annual spring game, you can already see the impact Sanders and his staff have made on the Colorado program. We may have high expectations for what they could do together in Boulder, but you have to trust Sanders in this: The expectations they have for themselves may be greater than we even realize.

"“Well, if you just chronicle the impact we’ve already had without playing a game, I think you just continue that and take it on the field. It’s pretty tough to have the coaching staff that we have and the players at the level that they are not to win consistently. It’s pretty tough not to do so. Our expectation may not be your expectation, but our expectation is tremendous.”"

It feels pretty safe to say that Colorado is probably going to sneak up on a few teams this season. When looking at their 2023 schedule, the Buffaloes have really tough draws in the non-conference. They have to face last year’s national runner-up in TCU at Fort Worth, as well as take on traditional regional rivals in rebuilding Nebraska, as well as major in-state foe, Colorado State.

The Buffs will need to beat the Cornhuskers and the Rams to have any realistic shot of getting to 6-6. While the Horned Frogs could pull back, and probably will, Sonny Dykes is too good of a head coach to let all the air out of that Hypno Toad balloon. As far as conference play is concerned, are there even four wins on the schedule for the taking when it comes to Colorado football this year?

CU gets both Arizona schools and Stanford, which are the three most winnable games on their Pac-12 slate. They are probably not beating Oregon, USC or Utah, which are seen as three of the four strongest programs in the entire league, along with Washington. Their other three games are against Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State. Maybe they could steal one of those three?

Overall, this team’s finite ceiling in year one is probably at best 8-4. The top half of the Pac-12 is too strong for Colorado to run roughshod over it, even if Sanders is now calling the shots in Boulder. As far as a floor is concerned, it is hard to see them being any worse than 3-9 because of the positive momentum Sanders and his staff are building. They will win around four to six games.

Ultimately, this was never going to be an overnight fix, but you have to appreciate what direction Sanders has this program heading in only a matter of months. The Buffaloes may pop in year two under his guidance, but this may be a three-year rebuild. Then again, nobody is hitting the transfer portal harder than Colorado is these days. The quicker they can flip entire the CU roster, the better.

Sanders knows you need good players to learn from great coaches to be able to win prolifically.

Next. Shedeur and Deion Sanders are not playing up at Colorado. dark

FanSided spoke with Deion Sanders on behalf of KFC and their new KFC Chicken Nuggets.

To kick off the partnership, Coach Prime and his five children – Deiondra, Deion Jr., Shilo, Shedeur and Shelomi – appear all together for the first time ever in content where they roll up to a KFC drive-thru in true “Prime Time” fashion (in a signature, custom KFC-branded golf cart) to order their fried chicken favorites. Deion Sanders’ mom, Connie Sanders, even makes an appearance in content where the family enjoys new KFC Chicken Nuggets.

Coach Prime’s go-to is a bucket of Original Recipe® fried chicken, Shelomi loves the new KFC Chicken Nuggets, Deion Jr. prefers the spicy KFC Chicken Sandwich and Shedeur goes for Secret Recipe Fries. Deiondra reminds Coach Prime not to forget the sauces! As the family rolls out from the KFC drive-thru in the video, Shilo impersonates his dad, saying, “Looks good, tastes good, it’s all good, baby!”