One thing about Deion Sanders is he’s always going to speak his mind, and when the cameras are in front of him there’s no telling what he will say. But one thing for sure, he won’t sugarcoat it to spare someone’s feelings either. He’s about as blunt as you’ll find for a head football coach in this age of coddling athletes and coaches.
Sanders has never had a problem calling out players, coaches, friends, or foes. That’s what he did during Sunday’s landmark JSU Tigers spring game. During his all-access commentary, Sanders said a plethora of things, not all good either.
Deion Raves About Brett Bartolone: Calls Out Last Year’s Play-Callers
“They pretty much were calling out our darn plays last season, we were that darn predictable. If you have a run game, that means you’ve got an option and you’re not predictable.”
Although the JSU Tigers won the SWAC last season, they did it with a solid but one-dimensional offense. The run game was nonexistent most of the season.
As he raved about the new “Air Raid” attack under first-year offensive coordinator Brett Bartolone and all the new toys, Sanders also took that time to sort of throw last year’s offensive play callers under the bus.
“We’ve gotta move the ball, be a lot more creative. Who do you go to? A guy like Mike Leach [and say] ‘Gimme three guys you think can do the job’. … Brett won it out. He’s doing a phenomenal job.”
Mike Leach is considered one of the innovative offensive minds in college football and reports say he suggested three offensive coordinators that Deion should pursue, with Bartolone being at the top of that list. Never one to settle for second-best, Deion nabbed the guy Leach suggested.
Last year’s offense consisted primarily of freshman sensation Shedeur Sanders, speedy wideout Keith Corbin, who’s an NFL prospect, and 6-fot-5 wideout Malachi Wideman, playing jump ball to the tune of 12 touchdown grabs. But the run game was stuck in neutral most weeks, which in turn hurt the Tigers in their upset Celebration Bowl loss to the South Carolina State Bulldogs. The aggressive, attacking Bulldogs knew the Tigers couldn’t block them up front and used that to rattle Shedeur all game.
Coach Prime addressed the offensive line directly in his postgame presser.
“We gotta get better in the trenches. South Carolina State kicked out butt.”
Sanders Was In Full Control Of The Scrimmage: He And Bartolone Turned Travis Hunter Loose
You don’t flip the nation’s top overall recruit and not use him. Hunter is a special talent capable of playing both ways, and doing so at a high level, like his head coach did in the NFL. Hunter dominated the scrimmage by using his elite athleticism, top-end breakaway speed, fundamentals, and ball instincts. He accounted for two touchdown receptions, one of the “Randy Moss” variety and the other reminiscent of speedster Tyreek Hill; just outrunning the defense with his track speed. Hunter then switched jerseys and picked off two passes, showcasing those tremendous ball skills.
Exposure Is Vital: Sanders Lives By It
Sanders is big on exposure and has found creative ways to make sure HBCU players are being acknowledged.
“Everybody wants exposure,” Sanders said. “The only way to have exposure is to give people the access.”
Coach Prime is still taking pictures and kissing babies same as he did back in his playing days.
Jackson State University Coach Deion Sanders taking a few pics as Media begin to arrive at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium for ESPNU Televised Spring Football Game pic.twitter.com/zNKeTLj3Ie
— HBCU Premier Sports & News (@HBCUSports1) April 24, 2022
He then talked about living in the transfer portal, saying he’s got a place there.
“We live in the (NCAA Transfer) portal, we got an apartment in the portal, we love it.”
After landing 14 quality transfers this recruiting cycle, plus gaining a few new commits during the spring game televised on ESPNU, Sanders continues to capitalize on the momentum and make swift organizational adjustments wherever they may need to be made.