If you’ve been following the Colorado Buffaloes since Deion Sanders started coaching the Power 5 team this year, then you know his skills as a motivational speaker. He’s 2-0 as the Buffs coach, which means he has already achieved one more win than the team had last year.
Deion seems to follow the same philosophy that led Michael Jordan to greatness as documented in the ESPN doc, The Last Dance. No matter how trivial a slight seems to others, it will become the fuel that gasses a victory. In this case, Sanders shared with his team that the Nebraska win was personal. That became the team’s rallying cry.
As chronicled on Well Off Media, the YouTube channel run by his son, Deion, Jr., one of Deion’s assistant coaches got up and said that he’d been told during his athletic journey that he’d never be a coach. It was never said, but implied that maybe the person now works for Nebraska. (We don’t know, but his speech had the desired effect).
Deion made it personal because of something that Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said at the beginning of the season. In college football before Sanders’ arrival, coaches take high school players and build them through three or four years. But Sanders applied what he calls the ’40-40-20′ formula that he also used at Jackson State – building a team with 40% undergrad transfers, 40% grad transfers, and 20% high school players. It worked at JSU where Sanders went 27-7 over three seasons.
Rhule said he couldn’t wait to develop a team that would “buy into” his coaching and also said, “I hear other schools, they can’t wait for today, the transfer portal.” He added, “I can’t wait to coach my guys. Let me tell you that. I’m not thinking about anybody else but this team out here.”
That was perceived as shade toward Sanders, though Rhule didn’t explicitly mention him. However, with 68 transfers, Sanders set a precedent in building the Buffs. It may not have been specifically directed at Deion, but it sounds suspect that Rhule and the college elite were so critical of something that any of them could have done after 2021 when players were allowed to transfer without sitting out for a year.
Quarterback Sheduer is coached and parented by Sanders and he said he saw disrespect not just in things that have been said, but in the Cornhuskers standing on the Buffs’ logo at centerfield before the game.
“It was extremely personal,” Shedeur said after the Buffs victory.
Nebraska is a longtime rival of Colorado, so armed by the motivational mantra, the new Buffaloes took that to heart and responded by winning the game, 36-14.
“We go out there and warm up, and we got the head coach for the other team trying to stand in the middle of the Buff,” Shedeur said. “It’s OK if a couple players do it – It’s fine, like just enjoy the scenery. But when you’ve got the whole team trying to disrespect it, you know I’m not going for that at all. I went in there and disrupted it.”
Sanders senior said that he wasn’t surprised by his son’s response. Sheduer went 31-42 passing with 393 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. After scoring a touchdown, Shedeur took off his helmet, which earned the team a 15-yard penalty. When his father told him he shouldn’t have, he said, “It’s personal.”
“To take the onus on himself when someone talks about me, that’s how he grew up,” Deion said, adding, “They really took it to heart, that whole theme.”
The Buffs will be the featured game next Saturday morning on ESPN’s College GameDay, then they’ll broadcast the game against Colorado State at 7 p.m. While we don’t know yet how the Buffs’ season will end, players who wear their IG handles on their practice jerseys and are getting more attention from the laser focus on the team have to be thankful they entered the transfer portal.
(In case you’re wondering, former Buffs haven’t done so badly, as most transferred to other D1 teams).
“The best is yet to come,” Deion said on CBS Mornings on Monday. “We’re 2-0 and we haven’t even played our best ball. Regardless of football or anything in life, you gotta believe.”
Watch the interview below:
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