BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — New Colorado coach Deion Sanders can’t point to any on-field victories in Boulder, but signs of a big mood change and hope abound at this school and this city. Football program.
Hired in December after a run as Jackson State’s head coach, the NFL Hall of Fame cornerback is preparing for Colorado’s annual intra-quad spring game on April 22 with his new team.
The school announced earlier this week that more than 45,000 people are expected to be on hand for the game, which is being televised nationally on ESPN. In the year It topped 17,800 in 2008, marking the highest attendance for a Colorado spring game. In fact, according to the school, the expected attendance is greater than the combined total of the past nine spring games.
“We didn’t win a single game. There is no impact at this time,” Sanders said at a news conference Saturday. “The financial aspect that’s happening, that’s a blessing. Someone is getting a very good profit and I am happy for that, especially this university deserves it. And I think that’s a good thing to show and show what’s here, in your favorite city, to bring that to fruition.
Sanders, who was known as “Primetime” in his playing days but is now known as “Coach Prime,” said he likes the way the team is starting to flirt. He could sense the enthusiasm and desire to turn the program around in the players and students he met.
“I’m really looking forward to the spring game, because I want to see the difference in the atmosphere and the emotion and the spirit of everything,” Sanders said of the program. Losing record over the last six seasons, including a 1-11 finish last season.
“I talked to the business school yesterday and it was amazing,” Sanders said. “Those kids were hungry. Every kid had a pencil and paper and was taking notes and every darn word, every thought, everything I said, was on him. They wanted it. i like this.”
Sanders insists that change must be driven by the players and the fans.
“If we’re going to change the game here, the fans have to change,” he said. “We want to make an impact on them. We want them to be as ready for us as we are for them.”
If the players are like their coach, they will be ready for prime time. At the conference, Sanders wore a cowboy hat with a gold chain and a traditional coach’s whistle around his neck. As is sometimes the case among players and coaches, he was asked if he would like to see his son, quarterback Shedhar Sanders, retain any of his football qualities.
“I hope so,” Sanders said with a smile. “God, I hope so. That’s what I want. That’s what I want.”
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