Following Jackson State football’s 31-10 Celebration Bowl loss, head coach Deion Sanders felt he needed to change his offensive scheme.
He hired Nevada offensive analyst Brett Bartolone, who’s well-versed in the up-tempo spread offense Sanders wants to utilize. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders has already seen a difference in the offensive room with Bartolone.
Following Saturday’s open practice at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Sanders had this to say about his new play-caller and offensive “guru.”
“Offensively, I feel like there’s more knowledge in the room. Bartolone challenges me almost every day just to get better, and just learning from under him and under the tree he came from.
“There’s a lot of creative things that you can do that each week he installs. … I’m really excited for this fall and just to be able to showcase it.”
Shedeur Was Good In 2021: Bartolone Will Make Him Even Better
As a true freshman, the strong-armed Sanders balled out, passing for over 3,000 yards, 29 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He also completed 68 percent of his passes, for the highest mark in the SWAC, and one of the highest in the FCS. But Coach Prime felt the offense had to grind it out way too often.
In Bartolone’s offense, Shedeur will have much quicker reads, and the offensive line, which struggled to protect him at times, won’t be asked to block as long.
In JSU’s Celebration Bowl loss, the South Carolina State Bulldogs blitzed 60 percent of the game, as they realized the Tigers offensive line couldn’t protect Shedeur.
As a result, the young QB was sacked five times and passed for a paltry 114 yards and two interceptions. Easily his worst outing of the season.
In March, Bartolone sat down with “Thee Pregame Show” to talk about how he wants the offense to run. He started with addressing the much-maligned offensive line, and offering solutions for making their job easier, while also creating more explosive plays.
“We’re going to play fast. And I don’t mean that in a sense of we’re just going to get up there and snap the ball as fast as humanly possible and be up-tempo and all that. Tempo is great, and in order to be efficient you got to have great tempo in my opinion, but playing fast to me means guys are playing really confidently.
“We’re going to do the same exact stuff day after day, the same exact concepts day after day. So they build a lot confidence in doing that, and that makes them play fast.”
Sanders And Bartolone Have Plenty Of Weaponry At Their Disposal
Bartolone is from the Mike Leach “Air Raid” system, having played for the current Mississippi State head coach at Washington State. Last season he was a key cog in the development of NFL prospect Carson Strong, who led the Nevada Wolfpack to an 8-5 record while averaging 35.7 points per game.
With Shedeur returning as the signal caller and 6-foot-5 wide receiver Malachi Wideman, who had 12 touchdown catches, the offense has a starting point.
During the 2022 recruiting period Sanders also added the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in Travis Hunter, a two-way athletic specimen, who plays both wide receiver and cornerback.
Completing that trio is Kevin Coleman, the No. 6-ranked wideout in the nation and No. 54-ranked overall player. An quick-paced offense with that type of weaponry should bode well for JSU.
Coleman had this to say after Saturday’s open practice:
“Every day we are working on being dominant. I know last year they finished kind of short. This year we have to finish off strong, so we are just working each and every day to get better.
“I don’t want to have an average year as a freshman. I want to make this season something to remember.”
The JSU Tigers will have their annual Spring Game televised nationally on April 24 at 5 p.m. on ESPNU. Becoming the first HBCU to have it’s annual spring football broadcast on national television is just another example of the “Coach Prime Effect.”