USC head coach Lincoln Riley was in the same position as Deion Sanders just a year ago, and Riley went 11-3 in his first season in Los Angeles.
Sanders is seeking a similar result in his inaugural season in Colorado, hoping to turn around a program that went 1-11 in 2022.
«Coach Prime» seeks to change the culture in Colorado by changing the roster, with nearly 50 players leaving the team since arriving in December and more than 70 total entering the transfer portal since August, ESPN reported in May.
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His review of the list has drawn a lot of attention, including reviews from some coaches from all over the country.
But don’t count Riley as one of the coaches upset with Sanders’ roster change in Colorado. He USC head coach he credits Sanders for using the rules to his advantage.
«I give them credit,» Riley said at Pac-12 Media Days, according to The Denver Gazette. «We all know what the rules are, we all know what the parameters are. Our job is to build the best teams we can at the universities that give us the opportunity to do it. There are no excuses.
«Obviously, in Coach Sanders’ opinion, there had to be a roster transformation. They’ve done it aggressively. Obviously, the success of that, just like ours or anyone else’s, will be determined on the field in the fall (and) as time goes on.»
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Sanders has benefited from a NCAA rule which stipulates that first-year head coaches can cut players from a roster, although the university must honor players’ scholarships.
Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch also praised Sanders, saying he changed his roster in Tucson as he prepares for his third season as Wildcats head coach.
«He knows what he wants in a football player and he knows what he wants on his roster,» Fisch said. «We also changed our roster. We have five players who have been there since 2020. I think that’s just part of the deal. How he delivered and what he chose to do, that’s up to him. I think Coach Sanders is great for our league. I’m excited to train against him on November 11.»
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Sanders was not present at his first Pac-12 Media Days after undergoing a «routine follow-up procedure» related to blood clots in his legs.
The buffaloes open the college football season 2023 at TCU on September 2.