Deion Sanders on second season at Colorado: 'The whole thing is better'

Colorado football coach Deion Sanders said his team is better on and off the field than last season and that he plans to stay at Colorado long after his sons leave for the NFL but that he needs to become a little more patient as a coach in his second year on the job in Boulder.

Sanders made these comments and more in an interview with Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt, who also gave his own lofty assessment of the Buffaloes in 2024. Klatt, a former Colorado quarterback, said the Buffaloes could be in the mix for the new 12-team College Football Playoff this season if they compete for the Big 12 championship as he thinks they could.

“I think we got better, man,” Sanders told Klatt in an interview that was conducted in April but was posted for the first time Monday. “I think I’m better. I think the whole thing is better, and we’re not done.”

Sanders’ assessment stems in large part from the fact that he rebuilt his offensive line after last year’s line gave up the second-most quarterback sacks in the nation (56), while returning his star quarterback and son Shedeur. Klatt noted the Buffs’ schedule also could be considered easier as they move from the Pac-12 to the Big 12.

What did Deion Sanders say about his future?

Klatt asked Sanders a question that’s become topical as he enters the final college season of his sons in Boulder – for Shedeur and Shilo Sanders, Colorado’s leading tackler last year. What is his vision for Colorado football without them and without standout two-way star Travis Hunter, who also is expected to leave for the NFL in 2025?

Sanders reiterated that he’s not following them to the NFL.

“I plan on being here and being dominant here, because they are establishing something that we’re gonna continue to build on for years to come,” Sanders said. “And I’m thankful they’re establishing what they’re establishing.”

To that end, Colorado is still in hot pursuit of Shedeur’s possible successor at Colorado – five-star high school quarterback Julian “JuJu” Lewis from Georgia. Lewis made a recruiting visit to Boulder over the weekend and is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 3 high school quarterback recruit for 2025. He committed to Southern California last August but is continuing to take visits. On Sunday, he posted a photo on social media site X showing himself in a Colorado uniform with Shedeur handing him keys.

“Could it be 'Perfect Timing'?” Lewis asked.

Sanders also said that “it’s on me how long I want to do it, and my tank is full.”

What did Klatt say about Sanders’ chances in 2024?

Klatt noted that Colorado reconstructed its offensive line to help Shedeur, whom he called one of the best quarterbacks in the nation “when protected.” Shedeur finished the season last year with a broken back as the Buffs skidded to a 4-8 finish after a 3-0 start.

“I genuinely believe that with your quarterback in particular, you have a chance to compete for the Big 12 championship,” Klatt told Sanders. “In this era, there’s 12 teams in the playoff. If you’re on the level where you can compete for a conference championship, you will be competing at least in my estimation for a playoff spot.”

If Colorado can cut its number of quarterback sacks allowed in half, to under 25, Klatt said that alone would show up in the win column.

“If you go under 25, that’s four more wins. Easy,” Klatt said.

None of the starting offensive linemen who finished the season last year are on the team this year and instead have been replaced mostly by new transfers and Jordan Seaton, the No. 1 offensive line recruit in the nation, according to 247 Sports.

What about Coach Prime being patient?

Klatt asked Sanders what he learned about himself after his first year on the job.

“I need a little more patience in certain areas,” Sanders said.

"Coach Prime" had tried to turn around the Colorado football program with a team that finished 1-11 before his arrival in December 2022. But he also saw his team lose six consecutive games to finish the season.

“My best statement I make to the staff is if you’re allowing it to happen that’s on you, which is consequently on me,” Sanders said.

The Buffs open the season Aug. 29 at home against North Dakota State.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Colorado coach Deion Sanders discusses Year Two and future beyond