SPORTS

Deion Sanders trying to fix Colorado’s biggest weakness

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During his inaugural season at Colorado, Deion Sanders coached a Gucci-wearin’, finesse football team that palled around with celebrities, flashed luxury watches and piled up obscene passing numbers in a series of offensive shootouts. They also couldn’t protect their quarterback or their jewelry.

Their explosive offense was akin to a home built on an unstable foundation. Chief among the plethora of concerns that plagued Colorado was their offensive line. Without a few quality 300-pounders holding them down, Pac-12 defenses were able to blow their roofs off and they crumbled from the top down. In 11 appearances, Sanders was sacked an FBS-record 52 times.

On Thursday, the Buffaloes made a splash in that department by bringing in an offensive lineman who should be keeping Shedeur Sanders’ jersey clean after getting battered all season long.

Between October and December, Deion Sanders is a mortal tactician, but in the period between he’s one of the greats. College football is 60 percent recruiting, 15 percent luck and 25 percent coaching. On the recruiting front, Sanders is a demigod, relative to what Colorado has been accustomed to.

Sanders continued throwing offseason lightning bolts by landing a surprise commitment from offensive lineman Jordan Seaton, the No. 1 tackle in the class of 2024. During his first recruiting cycle at the helm, Sanders overlooked the importance of building out from the trenches. By ignoring those roots and instead building his team around skill position superstars, such as quarterback Shedeur Sanders, super sophomore Travis Hunter and 2023 5-star corner Armoni McClain, he set the Buffaloes up for a fall.

His attempt to rectify the offensive line debacle began with a splash as Seaton announced his reasoning for attending Colorado on FS1’s Undisputed.

It doesn’t hurt that Seaton has the opportunity to become the most high-profile offensive tackle in college football. And it’s not just in theory. How many offensive tackles are making their announcement on one of FS1’s flagship shows? He also put the burden of keeping Shedeur off the mat 50-plus times on himself, telling Skip Bayless, “that will never happen again” while addressing Colorado’s protection issues.

Deion Sanders still has his work cut out for him. The transfer portal giveth and the portal taketh away. Colorado lost three offensive linemen to Purdue, Florida State and UCLA and on Nov. 19, interior lineman Talan Chandler flipped to his “dream school’” Missouri. They’ll also have to replace demoted offensive coordinator Sean Lewis, who was named San Diego State’s head coach, taking Colorado’s lone 2024 quarterback commit offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle with him. Sanders still has to fill out a defensive line that can actually give opposing Big 12 offenses pause when they make that transition to a new offense in 2024. Overall, after securing 16 players and a top-30 class in 2023, Colorado’s smaller 2024 group is ranked 52nd in the nation.

In addition to solving their protection issues, the defensive front needs playmakers. His 2024 class includes commits from a four-star recruit and a couple two-stars, but nobody of Seaton’s caliber.

Stylistically, Colorado has to blend heavyweight linemen into their flyweight offense if Sanders is going to have staying power. The average high temperature in Boulder in November is 55 degrees with lows dipping to 30 degrees. The chiller the weather gets, the tougher it is to play Air Raid football. Flinging the football all over the field isn’t going to fly like it would in Texas or Florida. If the Buffaloes are going to actually fulfill their promise next season, it’s going to be based on how well they supplement their 2023 standouts with blockers and jumbo linemen on both sides of the ball.

Follow DJ Dunson on X: @cerebralsportex



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