DENVER (AP) — Colorado State coach Jay Norvell just heated up the rivalry with No. 18 Colorado by poking at his counterpart Deion Sanders.
On his coach’s show Wednesday night, Norvell made a reference to Sanders’ tendency to wear a hat along with sunglasses at news conferences and said that “when I talk to grownups, I take my hat and my glasses off.”
Norvell also mentioned his players had a “chip on their shoulder” after conducting interviews with ESPN in advance of the game dubbed the Rocky Mountain Showdown. The Rams are a 23 1/2-point underdog, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, on Saturday night against Colorado at sold-out Folsom Field.
“I sat down with ESPN, and I don’t care if they hear it in Boulder, I told them I took my hat off and I took my glasses off,” Norvell said on his show that aired from a restaurant in Fort Collins, Colorado. “That’s what my mother taught me.”
His words drew applause from the crowd. The Rams (0-1) have lost five straight to Colorado (2-0) in the series.
Sanders responded to the remarks Thursday at practice. In a video posted on YouTube, Sanders started out by saying: “Beautiful day, ain’t it?”
“I’m minding my own business, watching some film, trying to get ready, trying to get out here and be the best coach I can be,” he continued. “I look up and read some bull-junk that they said about us. Once again, why would you want to talk about us when we don’t talk about nobody? All we do is go out here, work our butts off and do our job on Saturday.
“But when they give us ammunition, they done messed around and made it, what?”
His team responded in unison: “Personal.”
Sanders added: “It was just going to be a good game. They done messed around and made it?”
“Personal,” his team said.
“It was going to be a great test, a battle of Colorado,” Sanders said. “But they done messed around and made it?”
Sanders has turned the Buffaloes into the talk of college football. So much so that both ESPN’s “College GameDay” and Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” will be in Boulder on Saturday for the game.
“They (Colorado) are not going to like us no matter what we say or do,” Norvell said. “It doesn’t matter. So, let’s go up there and play. That’s just how I feel about it.”
Norvell becomes the latest coach to take a perceived swipe at Sanders, who made no secret about using a ton of transfers to transform a scuffling program that went 1-11 last year. The Buffaloes opened the Sanders era at Colorado with a 45-42 win at TCU as heavy underdogs. They then beat Nebraska at home 36-14 in a game where the theme was, “This is personal.” It was a reference to not only the storied nature of the old rivalry, but the Buffaloes taking note of some critical comments out of Lincoln in the spring.
Earlier in the week, Norvell spoke about the respect he had for Sanders.
“Just to start talking about Colorado, Deion Sanders has had a lot of public critics. I’m not one of them,” Norvell said. “I really respect all head coaches and the sacrifices that they’ve had to make to become head coaches. I appreciate the path they have to go to get there.”
Norvell educated his team on the history of a rivalry that started in 1893. He also noted the last time the game was held in Boulder — Sept. 6, 2009 — the Rams won, 23-17.
“This might be the most eyes that have ever been on this game,” Norvell said. “That’s a tremendous opportunity for us and our kids.”
Norvell, who’s in his second season at Colorado State, also pointed out the significance of a matchup that features two Black head coaches.
“It holds a lot of weight,” Norvell said. “I’m really proud to be a part of that.”
“It’s just tremendous getting this opportunity and allowing the nation to see that we are more than capable of doing a sufficient and a great job,” Sanders said. “I’m happy that he pointed that out. I have the utmost respect for him.”