EUGENE, Ore. – Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders sat down at his postgame news conference here Saturday with his usual sunglasses, jewelry and self-assurance, never once letting up on his trademark confidence despite what happened here Saturday against Oregon.
His Buffaloes got demolished by the Ducks, 42-6. It was his first loss in charge of Colorado (3-1). And it was never even close despite the national “Cinderella story” his team had become after Colorado finished 1-11 in 2022.
“One thing I can say honestly and candidly: You better get me right now,” Sanders said. “This is the worst we’re gonna be. You better get me right now.”
He called it a “good old-fashioned butt-kicking” and said, “We are all accountable for this. Let's start with me.” But he also said he was looking at the bigger picture.
“I know I have on shades, but I can see the future and it looks good,” he said.
Sanders even brushed off comments made before the game by Oregon coach Dan Lanning, who made a stark contrast between his team of "substance" and the Hollywood “flash” of Sanders and Colorado.
“The Cinderella story is over, man,” Lanning told his players before the game, as shown on ABC. “They’re fighting for clicks. We’re fighting for wins. There’s a difference, right? There’s a difference. This game ain’t gonna be played in Hollywood. It’s gonna be played on the grass.”
What did Deion Sanders say about that?
He acknowledged hearing about it.
“Yeah, I got messengers,” he said. “God bless him, though, man. He’s a great coach. He did a great job. God bless him. Take their shots. They won. I don’t shoot. They won.”
He also said the difference between No. 19 Colorado and No. 11 Oregon was “definitely not” a talent gap but confirmed he believed his team is seven or eight good players away from where they need to be.
“I don’t say stuff just to say it, for a click, contrary to what somebody say,” Sanders said, referring to Lanning. “I keep receipts.”
At the same time, he acknowledged that his high-profile personality plays a role in how his team is perceived.
“Teams are trying to beat me,” he said. “They’re not trying to beat our team. They keep forgetting I’m not playing anymore. I had a great career…. That’s what it really is. I signed up for it, so let’s go.”
Some might argue that makes it tougher on his players. Sanders disagreed.
“These are grown men,” the Pro Football Hall of Famer said. “I’m not out there. If I was out there playing against every coach (Colorado) played against, we would be totally dominant.”
How did Colorado get beat so badly?
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix completed 28 of his 33 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns, leading the way for an Oregon team (4-0) that scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and led 35-0 at halftime.
By contrast, Sanders’ son, Shedeur, struggled at quarterback as the Colorado offensive line gave up seven sacks in front of a loud green and yellow crowd of 59,889. Shedeur Sanders finished 23-of-33 passing for 159 yards and one touchdown − a 6-yard pass that came with 2:51 remaining on a cloudy, mild day at Autzen Stadium.
Colorado ended up surrendering 522 total yards to Oregon and didn’t do itself any favors by committing 12 penalties for 106 yards.
"It’s not nothing magical or anything they did that was just like, unreal, surreal,” Shedeur Sanders said afterward. “It was just we didn’t execute our game plan.”
The quarterback, Deion’s son, also said his team missed star player Travis Hunter “a lot” but that it wasn’t the reason they lost the game. Hunter, a two-way player at receiver and cornerback, didn’t participate because he was injured with a lacerated liver last week in an overtime win against Colorado State.
“We played like hot garbage,” Deion Sanders said. “That surprised me.”
Colorado's hype takes a hit
The defeat deflates much of the hype surrounding both Deion and Shedeur Sanders after the Buffaloes captivated the nation with their play before Saturday. They drew more than 25 million viewers on national television in their first three games combined. Deion Sanders also was featured last week in a segment on “60 Minutes.”
After hearing about all of this and then watching his team build a 35-0 lead at halftime, Lanning even seemed to poke another finger in the eye of Colorado when he referenced TV viewership to a reporter for ABC.
"We’re not done yet,” he said at halftime. “We're not satisfied. I hope all those people that have been watching every week are watching this week.”
Deion Sanders still greeted Lanning after the game, hugged Nix and then addressed his team’s humility after the game.
“People around the country will say this is what they needed to humble themselves,” Sanders said. “We wasn’t arrogant or whatever. We’re confident people. If our confidence offends your insecurity, that’s a problem with you, not us. We expect to do well.”
And he doesn’t think his team “needed” this to learn something about itself.
“That’s just like saying when you get in a car wreck or something, 'Oh, he needed that to slow him down,'" Sanders said. “You don’t need that. That’s just stupid. That’s just something that happened, and they got the best of us today. That’s just it.”
What did Dan Lanning say afterward?
He said his team usually hears a pregame speech, but this time he said, “I guess there was a camera in there.”
“There’s no speech that wins games,” he added. “Players win games.”
He said this wearing a yellow Nike “Bodacious” T-shirt in honor of Nix, the transfer from Auburn who outgunned Shedeur Sanders in a battle of rising Heisman Trophy candidates.
“I think Coach (Deion Sanders) is doing a phenomenal job,” Lanning said. “Obviously, he has brought great enthusiasm and response from his players, and I know that they will bounce back from this. On the same note, I get a little passionate at times, a little excited about what I want to accomplish for our team, and I just want to say I need to humble myself a little bit. This is one game.”
Now Colorado has to regroup to play another tough, high-scoring opponent at home next Saturday − No. 5 Southern California, a team the Buffs have never beaten in 16 tries dating to 1927.
Sanders said his message to the team after the game Saturday was simple.
“Get your butt up, and let’s go.”
Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Deion Sanders after Colorado's loss to Oregon: 'You better get me now'