Going into this football season, many were worried about how Colorado’s offensive line would fare against Pac-12 defenses. Through eight games, those worries have been proven to be more than justified. Statistically, the Buffs have one of the worst offensive lines in the country. Shedeur Sanders has been sacked an astronomical 41 times, making him the most sacked quarterback in the country by a margin of eight.
Last week’s game against UCLA seems to be the speculative straw that broke the camel’s back for Deion and his coaching staff. Colorado’s offensive line had an abysmal showing at the Rose Bowl, no way to sugar coat it. The Buffaloes’ big men allowed Shedeur to get pressured 24 times, hit seventeen times, knocked down thirteen times and sacked seven times. It felt like every single time the Buffs’ quarterback dropped back, he was either running for his life or getting hit.
After the game, Deion didn’t hold back when talking about his offensive line’s struggles during his press conference. Coach Prime went scorched earth, suggesting that the Buffs need to completely gut their offensive line and rebuild it from scratch.
“The big picture is you get new linemen,” said Sanders. “That’s the picture and I’m going to paint it perfectly.”
It’s unprecedented to see a head coach suggest that he needs to completely replace an entire position group on his team, but Deion is no ordinary coach. It’s not like he’s wrong though. The Buffaloes could be an elite team if Shedeur could actually get time in the pocket to make his reads. Colorado’s quarterback ranks first in all of college football in completions, third in passing yards and fourth in touchdowns. He’s managed to rack up all these impressive stats with one of the worst pass protection units in the country.
The offensive line isn’t just hurting Shedeur, but it’s also kneecapped Colorado’s run game. The Buffs ability to run block is nearly non-existent, which has surely contributed to their decision to only run the ball nine time the entirety of that UCLA game. If Shedeur could get some help on the ground, maybe the opposing DL wouldn’t be pinning their ears back every snap for 60 minutes. But again, it’s on the line to generate some push for the running backs to get downhill.
There’s no point in groveling about what-if scenarios with the Buffaloes though. The Buffaloes are stuck with their offensive line for another four games, so Shedeur and the offense are going to have to make do with what they have. It’s hard not to get excited about what Shedeur could potentially do with an actually decent offensive line though, but’s let’s save that discussion for next summer. The Buffaloes have to face off against a very good Oregon State team on Saturday and they’ll need the offensive line to have a statement game to pick up the win.