Julia StumbaughJune 8, 2023

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Since Deion Sanders took the Colorado football helm in December, over 70 players have left the program.

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in May that this mass exodus “looks bad on college football coaches across the country,” per Brandon Marcello of 247Sports.

Sanders responded by saying Narduzzi was mad at “the situation,” not at him.

“What was his situation when he came to Pitt? He had a different situation than me,” Sanders said, per 247Sports‘ Carl Reed. “He is not mad at me. He is mad at the situation in football now that allowed his best player to leave a year ago. He’s not mad at me. He’s using me to shoot bullets at another coach who he has an issue with. I don’t know who he is; if he walked in here right now, I wouldn’t know him.”

Narduzzi and Pitt lost star wide receiver Jordan Addison to USC through the transfer portal last spring.

“I think sometimes people forget how they got where they are,” said Narduzzi about Addison’s transfer in July 2022.

Narduzzi was similarly blunt in his comments regarding Sanders’ overhaul of the Colorado roster after the Buffaloes went 1-11 last season. Sanders is taking advantage of NCAA rules that allow first-year coaches to free up as many roster spaces as they want, as long as cut players are given the opportunity to retain their scholarship.

“That’s not what the rule intended to be,” Narduzzi said. “It was not to overhaul your roster. We’ll see how it works out but that, to me, looks bad on college football coaches across the country. … I don’t know how many of those 70 that left really wanted to leave or they were kicked in the butt to get out.”

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Sanders warned his players in their very first team meeting in December that they should get “ready to go ahead and jump in that portal.”

Since then, dozens of players have transferred, fulfilling Sanders’ plan to keep Colorado under the cap of 85 scholarship athletes while adding a new crop of transfer players.

When 247Sports noted to Sanders that he had made a lot of roster changes, Sanders responded: “Necessary changes. Say: ‘Necessary.'”

“You are talking about a situation in which we inherited a team that was 1-11,” Sanders told 247Sports. “And everyone knows there are going to be some changes. I don’t understand how you would think that the coaching staff is the only thing that deserved a change. Now when you rid yourself of the entire coaching staff, you think you are going to keep all the kids? That doesn’t make sense to me.”

Four out of every five of Colorado’s scholarship players could be newcomers when next season kicks off, Schrotenboer reported.

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