We need to talk about Deion Sanders.
42,277 people attended the Colorado Spring Game last weekend, and that’s about the same number of players who requested to be traded or were released in the past week.
I hope Deion Sanders knows what he’s doing. Because I’m going to be honest, as a Pac-12 fan. As someone who has a podcast that covers the Pac-12. As someone who played in a current Pac-12 school… I don’t know what he’s doing.
Maybe I’m myopic. Maybe I don’t see the vision.
But my lifelong understanding of the game of soccer has led me to believe that to play soccer, you need soccer players.
As of right now, with over 50 scholarship players leaving since Deion’s arrival, they don’t have the ability to field a competitive team next year.
Yes, I know the players will transfer. But Deion and Colorado won’t be the only ones looking for available prospects.
Deion Sanders told Pat MacAfee that one of the reasons he removed so many players was because to make room for new furniture, you have to get rid of the old furniture.
While I’m sure the players he got rid of will like being described as old furniture as much as they enjoyed not having access to their 2022 practice film to help them land a new spot, I get his metaphor.
But the difference between buying furniture to fill a new house, which I’m literally doing, and going after the right prospects who have a higher pedigree and more potential to help you win, is that you don’t bid on a unique dining table in its kind in front of 50 other buyers.
Deion seems to be assuming that his cult of personality will lead him to be the top choice for the country’s elite displaced elite prospects. And maybe he’s right. Betting on himself is what got him to this position in the first place.
But you don’t rock three-fourths of a roster unless you plan to win now, and in the Pac-12, you just don’t win without depth. Will he really be able to restock, establish chemistry and develop talent in time to go head-to-head with Lincoln Riley and Dan Lanning?
And speaking of other Pac-12 coaches; There are master developers here like Jonathan Smith at Oregon State and Kyle Whittingham at Utah. They’ll take a JuCo DB or a skinny two-star lineman from Texas and make them NFL draft picks. They are teachers, which until recently seemed to be one of the primary functions of coaching.
What does it say about your own faith in your ability to develop if you spend a few weeks with someone and tell them you’re better off anywhere but in their presence?
Deion’s son, Deion Sanders Jr., responded to exactly that criticism on Twitter, saying the game has changed because as a coach you only have 2-3 years to make a team competitive or you’ll get fired, so the coaches are motivated to change. look for ready-made players.
But this assumes that the portal is full of exactly that. And it’s not. Outside of a select few prospects testing a still turbulent NIL market, it’s almost all leftover musical chairs. The only way to get players prepared is to have the resources to attract them. Does Colorado have that cash? More than USC? More than Oregon?
And even if you have the resources, you have to be careful how you use the back door for some of these transfers. You get a kid in trouble because you had a controller put out a probe to see if a backup SEC DB might be interested in moving to Boulder, if that kid, his family, or the controller will go down on the grenade if the NCAA calls? to the door?
Deion Sanders told a 247 Sports reporter who asked about the cuts that he knows what he’s doing and that it’s “not his first rodeo.” Where I would insist on that is that it is THE FIRST ROUNDUP OF ALL.
This is a brave new world of college football, and hardly anyone knows what they’re doing.
But sometimes when boundaries aren’t defined, it’s better to move fast, break things, and ask for forgiveness rather than permission. I hope for Colorado’s sake that this is one of those times.
Let that sink in.