Former Kent State coach Sean Lewis was hired as the team’s offensive coordinator after Sanders became Colorado’s coach in the offseason. Lewis called plays for the first eight games of the season but Colorado elevated analyst and former NFL head coach Pat Shurmur to play-caller before the Oregon State game.
The coaching change did not have an immediate effect. The Colorado offense had serious issues for most of the 26-19 defeat. The Buffaloes had seven punts, a field goal and a fumble on their first nine drives of the game before scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
After the game, Sanders was asked about the coaching changes and preached patience:
“We’re not going to demean Sean Lewis, we’re not going to take that tone,” Sanders said to a question about the play-caller switch. “Sean is a good man, I think he’s a good play-caller, we just needed change at the time. We just needed to try something else at the time. And that’s what we did. I don’t look back on it, I don’t second-guess myself whatsoever because there’s more to it than you may know. So let’s just trust the process. Let’s just trust the process.”
A few minutes later, Sanders said that he wasn't going to reveal when he started to make the process of changing play-callers.
“I make a decision to help this team win," Sanders said. "You guys don’t know all the intangibles in it. You just looking from the outside of the crib looking in. I got tinted windows and you can’t even see in the house. But you’re making conclusions on what I should and should not do.”
Colorado finished the game with minus-7 rushing yards and 238 total yards as the Buffaloes lost their third consecutive game. The offensive line has been a major problem for Colorado and continued to have issues again Saturday night.
QB Shedeur Sanders was sacked four times and has now been sacked 45 times through the first nine games of the season. He even went to the locker room briefly in the second half after he was pushed to the turf by an Oregon State defender but returned to the field before missing a play.
“He’s been hurt,” Deion Sanders said. “I think he went in to get an injection so he could finish [the game]. It’s extraordinary.”
Colorado has lost three straight and five of its last six games after starting the season 3-0. The Buffaloes are now 4-5 and need to get two wins over their final three games against Arizona, Washington State and Utah. While Washington State is reeling and on a five-game losing streak, Arizona is surging and could be ranked in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings while Utah is at No. 18.
“I don’t sense the same passion, I do sense the same attention to detail,” Sanders said about his team. “The film time has gone up, less mistakes penalty-wise, we had some penalties in some crazy situations but we’ve condensed that over the last couple weeks we’ve been good with that. It’s just some little foolish darn penalties that we gathered today.
“But the passion, the passion of it. The passion of that first game, the passion of those games, we’re missing that. And that’s still something we’re trying to apprehend and we’re trying to locate it as well.”