NCAA Football

At Coach Prime, the Buffs Found “Black Bill McCartney”

At Coach Prime, the Buffs Found “Black Bill McCartney”

BOULDER — The truth is printed in large print on CU’s hoodie, and the truth is that Coach Prime is superior to the football program he was asked to resurrect.

Although Deion Sanders is a born evangelist, he has become a coach by profession. Walking unashamedly in step with God, he preaches hope and offers himself as a path to athletic glory.

Hmm, does that remind you more than anyone in MC football history?

“I was at the introductory press conference (for Sanders) and my mouth was wide open because I thought, ‘I’m looking at Black Bill McCartney,'” said Charles Johnson, the backup quarterback whose heroics on fifth place and MVP – a strong performance in the Orange Bowl allowed the 1990 Buffs to win the only national championship in school history.

On Wednesday, Sanders pedaled his bicycle with religious fervor into the Dallas Ward Center, answered a call on his cell phone as the media eagerly awaited his words of wisdom, and then not-so-humblely described how the coach has only been in Boulder since Dec. 9 could pull off a miracle by delivering a top-25 national recruiting class to a CU program that has lost 11 of 12 games.

“We’re not just recruiting the usual Tom, Dick and Harry,” Sanders said. “We brought in some guys that can light up the scoreboard and prevent touchdowns. We are coming. And we take it seriously.”

His audience of reporters nodded like a rapt crowd as Sanders took credit for the five-star recruit Kormani McClain and Travis Hunteras well as players who joined the buffs from 16 states and two foreign countries.

Around the room overlooking Folsom Field, Sanders’ students wore black hoodies emblazoned with “PRIME” across the chest, dwarfing the CU Buffaloes logo that sat dutifully beneath huge block letters, sending the unmistakable message that a great institution had bowed out to a famous coach.

“Honestly, it rubbed some guys (including old CU teammates) the wrong way,” Johnson said.

But he pointed out that the football landscape of 2023 bears little resemblance to 1990: the transfer portal, and the wealth to be made of names, images and likenesses, are dramatically changing the way Championship teams are built.

“With Coach Prime, I think a lot of parents are looking out the window waiting for him to come up and recruit their kid,” Johnson said.

The hiring of Sanders changed everything for a program that had fallen off the college football map. Now that Prime is here, there are more blue chips in Colorado’s future, not to mention renewed hope for conference championships.

Ever since Sanders decided to break away from Jackson State and take his quarterback son with him, telling CU athletic director Rick George, “Here we go,” the Buffs are back big time, baby.

But in Boulder, which has often thought of football as a dirty heathen who better leave Ohio State and Alabama to worship it, I also have to ask MC fans and pundits:

Are you really ready for this? Are you sure about this?

“There are a few things that concern me,” Johnson said. “No. 1, cultural network. He is a unique and uncompromising Deion. Some people won’t. Whoever and wherever the naysayers are, they’re muted right now because the band is playing really loud.”

Megadose Prime does not instill buffs from losing to Oregon or USC. Johnson, however, is confident that Sanders can coach CU and consistently recruit at a high level to make the Buffs a winner.

But has Sanders, a tireless optimist by nature, prepared for a backlash should his recruits make ugly headlines off the field?

“That’s what worries me more, and it’s going to happen because of the nature of 17-year-olds and the nature of college campuses,” Johnson said. “You let a kid get arrested for something and it makes headlines. Suddenly it becomes a matter of institutional control.’

#Coach #Prime #Buffs #Black #Bill #McCartney

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