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Deion Sanders explains how Cormani McClain earned starting role

On3 imageby:Andrew Graham11/11/23


Andy Staples Week 11 Picks: Arizona at Colorado | 11.06.23

One of the top true freshmen in the nation, Colorado defensive back Cormani McClain, has had a rough go of things throughout his freshman campaign. But he got the start on Saturday in a loss to Arizona, earning effusive praise from his head coach after the game.

Sanders said he noticed a change from McClain sometime during the previous week of practice. After that continued for another week, he was ready to give McClain a chance to start at outside corner.

“He’s been a lot more focused. A lot more understanding of the expectation and what we want from him — that we’ve challenged him tremendously all year long. He stood up to the task over the last, probably, week and a half. I’m really, really proud of Cormani. I really am,” head coach Deion Sanders said.

McClain finished with a pair of tackles on the day, but his lack of statistical production was not a worry for Sanders.

He hadn’t had a chance to review any film when speaking after the game, but his early take on McClain’s day was that the true freshman corner showed some serious ability.

“He’s come a long way, just to get on the field and stay on the field consistently. And haven’t watch the film as of yet, but what I saw with the naked eye, he played a viable game. He — with his play we could’ve won,” Sanders said.

Sanders considered whether this year has been successful for Colorado

Things didn’t always look this grim for Colorado, which is currently on a four-game losing streak. And sitting at the bottom of the Pac-12 is likely not what Sanders envisioned for his first year leading the program. Still, many consider what he has done up to this point a success. But does he? According to the Buffaloes’ headman, the season is a successful one for a few reasons.

“In many aspects, certainly,” Sanders said. “I feel as though every time these fans come in the stadium, there’s an expectation of us to win. I think that’s progress. I wasn’t here last year, but I’m pretty sure.

“We have consistency in several positions that are phenomenal. And I truly feel that is progress. We have inconsistencies in some positions that we can fix. We know the problem, we identified it, and we’re gonna fix it; that’s progress because we know what the problem is, and we have the aptitude to fix it. So I really feel like we’re underachieving for my standards, but when you really look at it, I’m pretty sure you see a better football team on the field each and every Saturday; just ask the fans.”

Colorado’s 4-6 mark is better than it was at any point last season when the Buffaloes finished 2022 with just one win to their name. Still, in his eyes, while in many ways this year has been successful, it’s not entirely up to Sanders’s level of expectation. And the Colorado headman is on a mission to fix it.