By Daniel Johnson
Deion Sanders, head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes, has taken a unique approach to motivate his team after a candid post-game press conference on Oct. 28. During that press conference, Sanders openly criticized the performance of his offensive line.
Now, according to Sports Illustrated, Sanders encouraged his players to embody the spirit of buffaloes rather than cattle. He draws a distinction between the two by emphasizing the buffalo’s remarkable ability to run toward a storm, not away from it. This analogy is aimed at instilling a sense of resilience and determination in his team, motivating them to face challenges head-on and not shy away from adversity. It remains to be seen how this unconventional coaching approach will impact the performance of the Colorado Buffaloes.
A popular story spread by motivational speakers is that buffalo will run headlong into storms, while cattle do not. You would think that Sanders, having once been a Texan, would know better than to regurgitate a tall tale solely to motivate his team. Alas, that is not the case for a coach desperately searching for anything to motivate his team, including making a mid-season switch to a new offensive coordinator.
Colorado has struggled mightily to run the ball all season long; the team’s leading rusher, freshman Dylan Edwards, only has 262 yards on 58 carries. Shedeur Sanders, meanwhile, has thrown the ball 346 times for 2,600 yards and 22 touchdowns. This indicates either one of two things usually. Either the team is often playing catch-up, or it is a team that is so ineffective at running the football that it has abandoned the run game altogether. Typically, this might work if you have better athletes than your opponents, but at the Power Five level, where everybody has good to great athletes, it’s not going to work for long, if it works at all.
Compounding these issues are the problems defensively; the team has given up 279 points on the year, which is the third-worst total behind Stanford and USC. Neither of those teams had a coach telling the media that it had Louis luggage coming into the season defensively or offensively. Colorado’s inability to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks has only magnified the issues present on its back end, with the general exception of Travis Hunter. As a result, Colorado has had problems in the second halves of games, either closing a gap once it gets beyond two or three scores or holding opposing teams at bay using their running game.
Sanders, to his credit, probably realized that his post-game comments probably rubbed his offensive line the wrong way, and called a private meeting with the offensive line on Nov. 1, which he said was productive. As he told USA Today, “I had a private, personal meeting with the whole offense line and the meeting was phenomenal.”
Sanders added, “I have the utmost thought process that those guys are going to step it up tremendously. You’re going to see a more cohesive, more aggressive, more physical and well-prepared group than ever before this weekend. I really do believe that.”