Colorado coach Deion Sanders is blunt about Buffs' offensive line struggles in loss to No. 23 UCLA

Shedeur Sanders was sacked seven times in the 28-16 loss

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 28: Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders on the sidelines during the game between the Colorado Buffalos and the UCLA Bruins on October 28, 2023, at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Colorado’s offensive line play was again a big problem in the Buffaloes’ loss to No. 23 UCLA on Saturday night.

Coach Deion Sanders said after the game that QB Shedeur Sanders had to get a painkilling injection at halftime of the loss and the coach spent much of his postgame news conference talking about the problems up front with the Buffaloes.

“The line has to improve, there ain’t no aspect,” Sanders replied to one question about the offensive line. “The line has to improve.”

UCLA sacked Shedeur Sanders seven times over the course of its 28-16 win over Colorado and the Buffaloes simply couldn’t run the football. The inability to get a running game going has been a constant theme for Colorado in 2023. Saturday night, Colorado had 24 carries for 25 yards when counting the seven sacks in the team’s rushing total.

Overall, Colorado has rushed for just 604 yards over the first eight games of the season. Freshman Dylan Edwards is the team’s leading rusher with 250 yards.

“Depth, not only depth, killer instinct, one, desire, will, athleticism,” Sanders said about the issues on the line. “The hardest thing to acquire is linemen. So when people have a good one, you rarely see linemen jump and go to different schools. I think we have some guys that is gonna be good with a little seasoning but overall we just don’t have the fight or the passion to do what we want to do.

“I’m a little biased because I’m his father, but I think we have the best quarterback in the country. I don’t think any other quarterback could put up with or stand and deliver like I always do week in and week out and taken the beating that he’s taking. And we’ve got to address that. We’ve got to address that scheme-wise, we’ve got to address that functionally with what we have on the line and we’ve just got to do a better job. We do.”

Colorado (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) has quadrupled its win total from 2022, thanks to the way Deion Sanders and his staff overhauled the roster through the transfer portal. Sanders brought in dozens of new players and replaced dozens from last year’s team as Shedeur and two-way star Travis Hunter followed him from Jackson State.

The improvements and talent upgrades that Colorado have made are undeniable. But one place where you can tell that Colorado is still a rebuilding program is up front. The Buffaloes have been bossed along the line of scrimmage a lot in Pac-12 play. And Deion Sanders was blunt when asked a “big-picture” question about the line.

“The big picture, you go get new linemen,” Sanders said. “That’s the picture, I’m going to paint it perfectly.”