"I'm bringing my luggage with me, and it's Louis"
-Deion Sanders in his first team meeting at Colorado
I'm not sure what everyone else thought Deion Sanders meant when he said that, but here's how I took it:
"Your Athletic Director and other people around the program have told me all I need to know about you, and your record speaks for itself. I'm bringing in guys I can win with, which means you're probably not going to be on this team next year.
Since then, Sanders has doubled and tripled down on his stance in every press availability, YouTube video and interview, up to when he said this after the Spring game last Saturday:
“You all know that we’re gonna move on from some of the team members and we’re gonna reload and get some kids that we really identify with. So this process is gonna be quick, it’s gonna be fast, but we’re gonna get it done.”
Now that he's actually acting on that plan, people are losing their minds.
Look, I get that what's happening at Colorado right now is pretty drastic and unprecedented. 49 players have left the program since Sanders' arrival, and it's becoming clear that almost all of them are being asked to leave. I feel for those kids, and I hope they end up at places that make them happy as humans and as football players. But as a Colorado fan: Everything from the Karl Dorrell Era must go. The team was an embarrassment last year, and brining back the same group of guys who contributed to why the program became the worst among the Power Five isn't what we were promised from Athletic Director Rick George. What Deion is doing right now is tough, but it's necessary.
(Note: I don't care about the practice film thing enough to even waste my time talking about it. Record your plays like everyone else or keep it moving.)
Colorado Football has been in the gutter for the better part of the last two decades. I've watched them lose 69-14 to Fresno State, blow a 45-17 fourth quarter lead to Kansas, and turn a 5-0 start into a 5-7 finish. They've won more than three conference games in a season once since joining the Pac-12, and haven't had a 300-yard passing game since October 2019. It's almost all been bad, but nothing compares to last season.
Karl Dorrell spent all last offseason lying about the program being in better shape than when he took it over, taking every opportunity he had to quietly shit on what Mel Tucker built in just one season. He talked about the team being "close," and how he felt that they were just a few pieces away from something special. By the end of the season opener, team captains gave on-record quotes about the team quitting. By game five, they'd been outscored 216-67, and Dorrell was shown the door. It was the most disgraceful stretch in program history, and I don't feel bad about not shedding a tear that anyone he was associated with or brought in is leaving the university.
Deion's roster rebuild is far from a guaranteed fix. The sheer amount of turnover is insane, and there's almost no way they get up to the 85 scholarship maximum by Fall. It's also a lot to ask for that many new guys to gel in that short amount of time, regardless of whether they fit the culture or not. But here's the thing: This isn't a one-year makeover, and it was never going to be. Deion knows that, and Colorado fans know that. Anyone who thinks otherwise is being obtuse and is just looking for reasons for this to fail.
Sure, it could all go wrong and blow up in Sanders' face spectacularly - But what's your alternative? Is it doing things the way Dan Hawkins did? John Embree? Mike MacIntyre? Karl Dorrell? Outside of hiring Deion, bringing in a program builder like Chris Creighton would've made me the most happy. You think he wouldn't have seen this roster and realized that 2023 needed to be a year zero situation? It wouldn't have been as loud, but this roster was getting blown up regardless of whoever took the job.
Colorado's been a clown show for almost 20 years, and it's taken Deion less than five months to bring a different level of cache to the program. It's already paid off in the form of the best recruiting class in modern CU history, and an influx of talent via the transfer portal. It's gonna take some time and a lot of work, but this is the best shot the Buffs have at being relevant again.
I get that Coach Prime is an easy target. He's not for everyone. He invites strong opinions, and there's almost no middle ground when it comes to how you feel about him. It's fine if you don't like him, but please stop pretending that what he's doing hasn't been done for years by every major CFB head coach (in silence) or that he's some supervillian for pushing kids out. He's just the loudest to do it, and it's happening at a level we've never seen.