Sanders softens stance on offensive line that's struggling to keep pressure off his quarterback son

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Colorado coach Deion Sanders applied plenty of heat to his offensive linemen over the weekend for failing to protect his quarterback son.

He dialed back some of that pressure Tuesday.

The Buffaloes are one of the most sacked teams in the nation, which led to Sanders' ire following a 28-16 loss at No. 20 UCLA. It led to him saying, “the big picture we go get new linemen. That's the picture and I'm going to paint it perfectly.” His stance softened, though, after a recent heart-to-heart conference with the players responsible for keeping QB Shedeur Sanders upright.

“The meeting was phenomenal,” Sanders said as the Buffaloes (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) prepare to face No. 16 Oregon State (6-2, 3-2) on Saturday night at sold-out Folsom Field. “I have the utmost thought-process that those guys are going to step it up tremendously and you’re going to see a more cohesive, more aggressive, more physical, more prepared group than ever before."

That's a stark contrast to Saturday when Sanders was not pleased with the offensive line. He sounded ready to dip into the transfer portal right then and there to beef up his front line. He's not shy about taking that route, either, bringing in more than 50 newcomer transfers this season to fix a program that went 1-11 in 2022.

Shedeur Sanders was sacked seven times against the Bruins. In total, he's been sacked 41 times this season. He's been hurried and hounded many times, too.

“Not only depth, (but) killer instinct, want, desire, will (and) athleticism,” Deion Sanders said in reference to the offensive line after the game. “The hardest thing to acquire is linemen. So, when you get a good one, you hardly see linemen jump to a different school. I think we have some guys that it’s going to be a good little seasoning, but overall we just don’t have the fight or the passion to do what we want to do.”

Through all the pressure, Shedeur Sanders has still thrown for 2,637 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, with three interceptions.

He said all the right things, too, after the UCLA game about an offensive line that's dealt with injuries.

“I know that everybody’s doing their best, so it’s not really frustrating because if I miss a throw I wouldn’t want everybody to be (frustrated) toward me,” Sanders said. "So that’s how I am the same with everyone else when it’s not there. We just weren’t on the same page.”

His father gave him a few days off from practice this week to rest up.

“He’s doing well, though," Deion Sanders said, "mentally, physically as well as psychologically.”

Sanders believes the protection scheme can be adjusted to better protect his son. That's the goal, anyway.

“I believe in the staff that we have on hand. I believe in the staff that they can do it,” Sanders said. “I have the utmost faith in them.”

Notes: Sanders said running back Alton McCaskill plans to redshirt this season. McCaskill has played in four games, carrying the ball 14 times for 59 yards. ... Safety Shilo Sanders was called for targeting against the Bruins and disqualified. Longtime NFL players such as Richard Sherman came to his defense for a hit that appeared to be on the shoulder. That meant a lot to Sanders. “If I’m good with them, I’m good,” Sanders said. “Sometimes I just feel like the refs are like, ‘Oh, he hit him way too hard. I just have to throw a flag just so we can take a look at this.'" ... Deion Sanders revealed that “Now and Later" is his favorite Halloween candy. But he also added he's not a big candy person. ... Broncos QB Russell Wilson went as coach Deion Sanders for Halloween.

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