It’s not unusual for football analysts to leave cushy jobs in television and return to the sidelines. For instance, just over the last two seasons, Herm Edwards and Mack Brown left ESPN to take over programs at Arizona State and North Carolina.
In both of those situations, you could understand the attraction. Both Edwards and Brown had been successful head coaches in the NFL and major college football. You could understand why Arizona State and North Carolina would want them so badly.
But sometimes you hear a name associated with a college football job that makes you shake your head in the most incredulous way. You wonder what a school could possibly see in such a guy to even consider him a candidate to run their program.
That’s the way we felt in November when Deion Sanders was floated as a potential replacement for the fired Willie Taggart at Florida State. And that’s the way we feel now after hearing Sanders say on The Dan Patrick Show last week from the Super Bowl he fully intends to be a head college football coach next season.
“I’m going to be a head coach in college football next year – somewhere. I’m that definite. I’m that assured that I am,” Sanders said.
Let’s be honest. What self-respecting, national champion chasing, Division I school would hand a guy like Sanders a head coaching job? He has no creditable experience outside of working with high schools kids at the Under Armour All-America Game and being the offensive coordinator at his son Shadeur’s high school team in Texas.
Sanders told Patrick he considered himself a serious candidate for the FSU job. But he wouldn’t get specific when asked why things didn’t work out.
“Several reasons. It got interesting. It was interesting,” Sanders said. “There was another school, as well, that we interviewed with. This is a desire, this is a calling. I’m going to coach college football.”
Keep in mind FSU thought they had a solid coach in Taggart. He’d already been a head coach for eight seasons at Western Kentucky, South Florida and Oregon. They were so confident they signed him to a six-year, $30 million deal only to dismiss him just 21 games into his run. The Seminoles won just nine games on his watch.
FSU ended up hiring Mike Norvell, who had spent four seasons at the University of Memphis with a 38-15 record and one American Athletic Conference championship (2019).
Do you think, even for a second, that FSU would put their program into the hands of someone like Sanders, even though he’s one of the greatest players in program history?
Not a chance.
Shadeur Sanders will be a senior at Trinity Christian/Cedar Hill High this season. He’s already one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects with 8,925 passing yards and 123 touchdown passes. He has offers from Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA and Florida State.
Deion said he took his son to visit Miami last Saturday, which led Patrick to ask if there might be some package deal in the works.
“Would I coach there? You never know. Why not?,” Deion Sanders said. “Am I a package deal with my son? No. I’ve never been a package deal with anybody. I’ve been a heckuva package and I’ve had some heckuva deals, but not together.”
It’s hard to imagine Sanders taking head coaching seriously. He just doesn’t seem to be someone who would enjoy the hours, the recruiting, whose body and mind would be able to deal with the crushing pressure of the job.
He might be popular with the alumni; the guy was a generational talent in college and the NFL. You can understand why everyone at the pregame tailgate party would want to take a selfie with him. But how is everyone going to feel about things once the Seminoles start getting battered again in ACC conference play?
Sanders would not say if he had a deal in place to coach next season. But he did make one thing very clear.
“I’d run a wide open offense with versatility,” Sanders said. “Get the ball in the hands of the playmakers – that’s my philosophy. It’s not just the RPOs (run pass option) you see in college. You have to understand the personnel you have and run offenses based on that.
“But I am going to be coach. I don’t know where. I’m open. They’d have to fit me, I’d have to fit them. They’d have to understand that I come with some stuff, not luggage, but I want to win and I want to do it a certain way.”
Good luck with that, Deion. Hopefully, you’ll be a coach someday.
Just not at our school.