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Pete Thamel Says Deion Sanders’ Coaching Cost Colorado Two Games in 2023

Oct 7, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders walks the sidelines as his team takes on the ASU Sun Devils at Mountain America Stadium.

From the first day that Deion Sanders took over the football program at Colorado, the Buffaloes have been a focal point for the college football masses.

Nearly every week is filled with a new headline about Deion, Shedeur, Travis Hunter, or something that a former player had to say about the program.

It was natural to expect off-field drama or storylines with someone of Prime Time’s caliber taking over a Power Five football program, but even our expectations have probably been exceeded at this point.


This week’s tea isn’t something that came out of Boulder (CO), though, but out of the studios at ESPN. ESPN’s Pete Thamel, who has been a staple in college football reporting for some time, points out that while the roster management at Colorado has been the main talking point, a lot of the Buffaloes issues last season fall on the decisions made by its head coach.

Deion Sanders’ inexperience as a head coach cost Colorado a few games last season, and Thamel used the debacle against Stanford–a game in which the Buffs led 29-0 at halftime–to support his claim.

“Deion Sanders, game coaching wise, cost them two games last year,” Thamel said on the College Gameday Podcast. “They had a 29-point lead in the second half against Stanford. They did not run the ball, they did not bleed the clock. It was poor game management.”


The data is there to support what Thamel says, too. Against Stanford, Colorado opted to run the ball just 35 times, as opposed to the 47 pass attempts that quarterback Shedeur Sanders had. That’s not conducive to chewing the clock whatsoever, and ultimately, it gave Stanford enough opportunities to crawl back in the game and eventually win it.

Yes, getting the roster in order is a huge part of helping the Buffaloes return to winning more consistently, but Coach Prime will also have to improve on learning how to manage games as a head coach, particularly when it comes to clock management.

“Those are the type of things that as Deion Sanders evolves as a coach, he needs to get better at,” Thamel said.

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