BOULDER, Colo. – Colorado coach Deion Sanders, whose team has 68 new scholarship players for the 2023 season, said flipping the Buffaloes’ roster in one season “had to be done.”
Sanders said building his program in preseason camp has been much easier than it was after taking over the program in December and during spring practice.
“It was tremendously tough, because you had some young men that just didn’t want to play the game, they didn’t love football. It’s hard for me to be effective if you don’t love it, if you don’t like it, if you don’t want to live it. That’s tough. It’s tremendously tough when you’re looking at a body of just dead eyes,” Sanders said at Colorado’s media day Friday. “That’s tough on any coach, not just me. I’m sure a multitude of coaches have experienced that until they could clean house and get the roster they want.”
Sanders cleaned house faster than any coach in major college football history.
What these changes mean for Colorado
Just 10 scholarship players return from last year’s Buffaloes team that finished 1-11 after Karl Dorrell was fired. But Sanders hasn’t voiced any wholesale criticism of his roster in preseason camp.
“It was tremendously challenging day by day,” Sanders said of the spring. “I’m happy with what I see every morning now, I really am.”
After Colorado’s spring game, Sanders controversially used a recent rule change to cut dozens of players from the roster to make room for new additions. Since taking over, Sanders has added 57 transfers (including walk-ons) and 56 newcomers since spring football concluded.
“I know it was a huge overhaul, but it had to be done,” Sanders said.
Sanders, who underwent another surgery on his left foot that has been plagued by blood clotting issues and already had two toes amputated, walks with a heavy limp and is wearing a bulky black cast. He gets around practice and wheeled into his media day press conference on a custom, two-wheeled Segway-type vehicle featuring a gold print of his signature on the outside of the wheel, his “PRIME” logo decorating the shaft and his “21” logo on the base between his feet.
Sanders has been complimentary of his team’s ability to gel despite so many new faces populating the facility, but said he’s not concerned with that aspect of building his program.
“We’re trying to win, man. I don’t care about culture. I don’t care if they like each other, man. I want to win. I’ve been on some teams where the quarterback didn’t like the receiver but they dern sure made harmony when the ball was snapped,” Sanders said. “We’re not like that. Trust me, these kids are very fond of one another.”
(Photo: Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post)