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Oregon coach Dan Lanning appreciates Deion Sanders’ impact on college football

Nature

Oregon head coach Dan Lanning’s statements before and after Colorado’s 42-6 loss Saturday reveal what happens when an enterprising coach embraces the eyes that come with competing against Deion Sanders.

Lanning allowed ESPN cameras to capture part of his pregame speech moments before his Ducks emerged from the locker room at Autzen Stadium. He took umbrage with the attention the Buffaloes were receiving before the game and used it as a motivational tool. “They fight for clicks, we fight for wins,” was Lanning’s battle cry heard during ESPN’s pregame preview.

During his weekly press conference Monday, Lanning had more to say about Sanders.

“I’m also grateful and I can clearly recognize that the attention we received this Saturday was largely due to Deion and what he’s doing to college football,” Lanning told reporters. “If anyone can’t see what he’s done for college football and how he brings excitement to college football, you’re crazy.”

Head coach Dan Lanning of the Oregon Ducks walks on the field against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first half at Autzen Stadium on September 23, 2023 in Eugene, Oregon. Lanning praised Colorado coach Deion Sanders.
Tom Hauck/Getty Images

ESPN’s video of Lanning’s comments posted on X has been viewed more than 12 million times. According to SportsMediaWatch, the game averaged a 5.2 rating and 10.03 million viewers on ABC. The site also notes that all four of Colorado’s games this season are in the top 10 most-watched in Week 4.

With all eyes on Oregon, Lanning didn’t let up. He kept his starters in the game until late in the fourth quarter. Rather than settle for a fourth-and-goal field goal with a 35-point lead, Oregon converted a touchdown. If that wasn’t enough, he went for another fourth down with a 42-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

To be fair to Lanning, he wasn’t the only one engaging in trash talk before the match. Oregon released a video showing Colorado players chatting with the Ducks before the game. Lanning isn’t the first coach to go after Prime since he began his college coaching career at Jackson State.

Several coaches, most recently Colorado State’s Jay Norvell, have failed in their attempts to win a verbal battle against Sanders. What set Lanning apart from the rest was that his team had enough talent to shut the Buffaloes down.

“We play to win the game,” Lanning said. “My guys had a certain feeling about a group stomping on the ‘O’. They had a certain feeling about the guys talking to them pregame. I’m proud of those guys because what “What they decided to do was talk with their pads.”

Coach Prime’s team is on a draw, as evidenced by the massive viewership of their matches over the first four weeks of the season. With ESPN cameras rolling in their locker room, it was impossible to tell Lanning knew people would be watching, and why.

“He did a lot for the game. He’s building something there,” the Ducks coach said. “I think it’s clear. There’s no secret to it. But it wouldn’t matter if I was playing against my 10-year-old son on the other sideline. I’m going to do everything I can to win.”