Deion Sanders’ love for the game of football is unquestionable. The two-time Super Bowl winner and Colorado Buffaloes head coach eats, sleeps, and breathes the game. However, Coach Prime has been questioning if his players share his same level of passion after blowing a 29-point lead in a loss to Stanford.
“What I just said in the locker room to the team is they’ve got to make up their mind, are they in love with this game or are they in like with it?” Sanders said after the Stanford game. “When you love something, you give to it unconditionally. You give everything you’ve got.”
“But when you like it, that’s just the button you push. You like something, that’s what they do on social media. So we’ve got to figure out do they love [football] or do they like it and it’s hard for me because I love it.”
How does Deion detect if his players love the game of football? Well, he looks to see which people play the game with heart. Coach Prime wants players who give it their all when they step on the gridiron because they truly want to compete and win. Unfortunately, it seems like he hasn’t seen enough of that lately.
“You can’t measure the heart in football. That’s the thing that’s missing, the heart of it. When you are talking about love, you’re talking about accompanying that with your heart,” said Coach Prime. “You can tell by the locker room and how some guys practice and how some guys feel the pain when we don’t win, how their heart is in it. That predicates love to me.”
Coach Prime gave an example of someone who he wants his players to be more like going forward, tackle Savion Washington. Washington suffered an injury to his right foot during the USC game and has been fighting tooth and nail to get back to the field. Colorado’s starting right tackle’s effort hasn’t gone unnoticed by Deion either, as he had high praise for Savion during his press conference Tuesday.
“[Savion] is tough mentally and physically. He’s a dawg. He’s a future pro. He’s one of the kids that I’m very fond of,” said Prime on Tuesday. “He wants to play. The time when he got injured and he had to leave the game, he was sobbing because he wanted it that bad. I detected love in his heart and mind and in his spirit.”
Thankfully, it sounds like Colorado and Coach Prime will be getting one of their dawgs back fairly soon. Washington returned to practice on Monday and looked good according to Deion.
“[Savion] practiced yesterday and he looked good. I don’t know if he made it through the whole practice, but he did what he set out to do. He accomplished his goal.”
While we likely won’t see Washington during the UCLA game this Saturday, next week’s home game against Oregon State seems like a real possibility for the Colorado big man’s return. It sounds like Savion will make his return sooner rather than later, which is great news.
Going forward, Colorado’s players can use Washington as someone who they should strive to be. If the Buffs do come out of the gates full of heart and passion in Pasadena this Saturday, UCLA could be on upset watch. Hopefully we will see a rested and reinvigorated Colorado squad this week, both physically and emotionally.