If Colorado Buffs Wants To Take Next Step In 2024, Deion Sanders Must Improve Roster and Game Management 

On Saturday the Colorado Buffaloes’ 2023 season came to an end with a hard-fought 23-17 loss to the Utah Utes.

It was the team’s sixth consecutive loss, and after beginning the season 3-0 things went south in Boulder pretty quickly.

First-year head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, who enjoyed immense success in his two seasons at Jackson State going 23-3 with back-to-back SWAC  Championships and Celebration Bowl bids, called it the “toughest stretch” of his life following last week’s blowout loss to Washington State.

Saturday’s season finale in which star quarterback Shedeur Sanders didn’t play because of injury means the team ended the season at 4-8.

That’s a huge improvement from the 1-11 season in 2022, but overall, the Buffaloes’ Pac-12 era ended with a miserable 28-84 record in 13 seasons.

While Sanders and his staff only account for one of those ugly seasons, there are a bevy of things they’ll need to improve upon as they re-join the Big 12 conference, a place it called home from 1996-2010.

Sanders Optimistic About Future, Needs Talent Upgrade

During his postgame presser following Saturday’s loss, Sanders sounded a bit relieved to see the season end. But he also knows the real work begins in earnest, and that’s what he tackled next in his interview. 

“We’re getting there,” he said. “We definitely need giving. You know what I mean?”

“It’s unfortunate to say this, but some kids cost,” Sanders continued. 

The most glaring weaknesses is in the offensive and defensive lines. The Buffs averaged a Pac-12 conference-worst 68.9 rushing yards per game and allowed 176.4 yards per game on the ground, second-worst in the conference. 

Sanders is pretty much telling the fan base to donate to the NIL collectives to help the program attract and acquire top-level talent. This one week after Sanders told reporters that the Buffaloes are not an “ATM.” Sanders also said he wants the NCAA to ban players still taking official visits after committing to another school. 

With the early signing period approaching in December, Sanders, who has been the master of the transfer portal, has ten total commitments, including two four-star recruits. 

In-Game Management Must Get Better

Despite his energy, optimism and celebrity, Sanders did show his inexperience when it comes to in-game management.

On Saturday, as he has in previous weeks, Sanders burned unnecessary timeouts early in the game, leaving him without them when he truly needed one.

In their nine conference games, five were losses within one possession, and the loss to UCLA was just two possessions. That’s just one of the areas where Sanders must improve heading into 2024. It’s imperative to give his team every late-game opportunity he can. 

On Sunday, tight ends coach Tim Brewster announced he’s not returning next season. His departure is likely the first of many from the current coaching staff. 

Changes are coming in Boulder. 

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