Deion Sanders made headlines this offseason when he orchested Colorado. More than 50 members of last year's team have entered the transfer portal since Sanders' arrival in December 2022, leaving only 10 scholarship players who were part of a 2022 roster that finished the season 1-11.at
While some coaches -- most notably Oklahoma's Brent Venables and Pitt's Pat Narduzzi -- seemed to lob criticism at Sanders' brand of roster management this offseason, the Pro Football Hall of Famer felt his actions were difficult, but necessary. Sanders addressed the overhaul during a Friday press conference.
"It was tremendously tough, because you had some young men that just didn't want to play the game," Sanders said. "They didn't love football. It's hard for me to be effective [as a coach] if you don't love [football], if you don't like it, if you don't want to live it. That's tough. That's tremendously tough when you're looking at a body of just dead eyes. That's tough on any coach, and not just me. I'm pretty sure a multitude of coaches have experienced that until they could clean house and get the roster they wanted. It was tremendously challenging day-by-day. But I'm happy with what I see every morning now. I really am."
Sanders brought in the No. 1 transfer portal class in the 2023 cycle, according to 247Sports. It includes multi-position star and former top prospect Travis Hunter, who followed Sanders from Jackson State to Colorado.
Sanders said while he doesn't necessarily care for the word "culture," he's pleased with how Buffaloes players are interacting as final preparations ramp up ahead of the 2023 season.
"[The players] are fond of one another and they are working together handsomely," Sanders added. "I know it was a huge overhaul [of our roster], but it had to be done."
It's set to be the program's last year in the Pac-12 before the Buffaloes return to the Big 12 in 2024, joined by current Pac-12 foes Arizona, Arizona State and Utah. Colorado is seeking its first winning season 2016, when the Buffaloes won 10 games and played for a Pac-12 title. The Buffaloes open the season Sept. 2 at TCU.