The Coach Prime experiment in Boulder, Colorado has been nothing short of entertaining. Deion Sanders, the former Cowboys' defensive star, was named the University of Colorado's new head coach last year. He rolled into the Buffaloes' football program and immediately laid down the law.
He told his new players that a lot of them weren't going to be around by the time the team kicks off the 2023 season. In fact, he encouraged many of them to go right ahead and dive right into that transfer portal. They heard him loud and clear.
Exodus Doing Coach Prime's Job For Him
So far, over 40 players have departed. There was a mass exodus after the Buffaloes' recent Spring Practice game. Somehow, I doubt Coach Prime is shedding any tears.
Colorado's football program has been dismal ever since they moved from the Big 12 and into the Pac-12 in 2011. They've recorded only two winning seasons since then — 2016 (10-4) and 2020 (4-2). The program's last victory in a bowl game came in 2004.
Enter Sanders with his 27-6 (.818) record over three seasons as head coach at Jackson State. The Tigers won back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference championships in his last two years there.
Coach Prime is bringing an impressive resume to Boulder. He's also bringing his type of players, and attracting others via the portal as well.
In short, he's rebuilding this team, his way. And they will play the game the way he wants them to. After a 1-11 season last year, they have a low bar to clear to post a better season in Sanders' first year.
Beyond Colorado For Coach Prime
The question is: Is Colorado the ultimate destination for Sanders? His coaching trajectory reminds of another head coach who led two successful programs at the college level before moving up to the NFL. A coach that Cowboys' fans are familiar with: Jimmy Johnson.
Johnson led Oklahoma State for five years, departing the program after a bowl game victory for Miami. After five years and a National Championship with the Hurricanes, Johnson landed in the NFL and built a dynasty in Dallas.
Sanders' coaching style is somewhat similar to Johnson's. Coach Prime has made it clear that rules will not be broken without immediate consequences. A viral video shows Sanders walking into the gym and booting a player out of the room for having the wrong color socks on.
Too harsh? Not if you're changing a culture and instilling discipline in a program sorely lacking both. He booted his own son for being late to a meeting.
Think back to all the times Johnson lowered the boom on his players in Dallas. Be careless with the ball, even in a meaningless game? You're no longer on the team.
Johnson got his message across. Sanders is doing the same in Boulder. The Buffaloes will only be better for it.
Sanders PrimeD For Return To Dallas?
Is this the trajectory Sanders is currently on? Perhaps. Especially if he turns Colorado's program around and it becomes a winning program on a regular basis. He would have proven himself at two different levels of college football.
Surely that would attract the attention of many NFL franchises. Depending on the timing and circumstances, it might even attract the notice of a certain owner who moved heaven and earth to bring him to play in Texas Stadium in 1995.
Coach Prime prowling the sidelines in Dallas? That alone would be worth the price of admission.