Keeler: CU Buffs QB Shedeur Sanders says if Cam Ward can tear up Pac-12, so can he. “Bro, it’s the same thing.”

Son Of Prime doesn’t do worried. But he does his homework. The CU Buffs’ celebrated new QB1, Shedeur Sanders, made it a point recently to ask his old Texas pal, Washington State signal-caller Cam Ward, what to expect from the Pac-12 as a first-timer parachuting in from the FCS.
“Bro,” Ward replied, “it’s the same thing.”
Same chaos.
Same song.
“The speed’s a little faster,” Ward continued.
“You’ve got a little bit better defensive ends. The skill players (are) the same thing.”
Same dudes.
Same party.
“He was just verifying,” Sanders shrugged, “what I already knew.”
We know the Buffs will probably go as far in Year 1 A.D. — as in, After Deion — as the younger Sanders can carry them.
The situation with Dad — as in, Coach Prime — has no absolute precedent at a modern Power 5 program, which is why nearly every college football lifer has one eye on whatever they’re supposed to be doing and the other on Boulder. It’s a wild-card hire at a wild-card campus, the sort of college football rocket that could take off in any direction — or crash headlong into Longs Peak.
Like the younger Sanders, Ward is one of those smart, strong, lithe, athletic Texas QBs who could throw a deep out before they could walk. Like Sanders, Ward began his collegiate eligibility at an FCS power (Incarnate Word), where he absolutely tore it up — 71 TD passes and just 14 picks over two seasons (’20 and ’21) — before taking his talents to Pullman. Like Sanders, Ward jumped at the chance to elevate a traditional Pac-12 also-ran.
The best slice of hope for Buffs fans? Ward took his opportunity last autumn with the Cougs and ran with it. Or rather, threw with it, tossing eight touchdowns over his first three games at Wazzu en route to 23 for the season against nine picks, posting a 130.6 passer rating along the way.
Context: CU hasn’t had a starting QB put up a passer rating of at least 130.6 since Steven Montez pulled it off in 2018. Three head coaches ago.
“I’m a fan of (Ward’s) playing style. I’ll say that for sure,” said the younger Sanders, who threw for a Ward-esque 70 touchdowns against 14 interceptions over two seasons at FCS Jackson State.
“He’s a different type of player. He’s not the traditional quarterback — he can make so many throws that it’s just inhuman. I’m a big fan of his game and I watch his game and I like how he plays. And I just ask him just about stuff in general, like just about being in the Pac-12 and the difference (from the FCS) and stuff like that.”
Same intent.
Same standard.
Sanders has more multi-TD pass games on his resume (15) over the last two falls than the Buffs have produced, as a program, during the previous four seasons (13). The SWAC has got some dudes, as our old buddy Steve Addazio likes to say, but Alcorn State’s defense, with all due respect, isn’t exactly pulling its putters from the same bags as USC, Utah, Oregon or Washington.
“Cam Ward just came from the FCS to Power 5, right? And he has a group of good players around. We’ve got the same thing,” the younger Sanders continued.
“So how can you compare our (situation) — because of our head coach, because of my dad, and people want to see it fail — and how can you say we’re going to do this, but they (were) able to go out there and do that?”
Man’s got a point. Ward led Wazzu to a 7-6 mark and bowled in his first season. If the Sanders family debut resembles anything close to that, given a September fight card that features TCU, Nebraska, CSU, the Ducks and Trojans, the narrative is going to flip from the sizzle to the steak, from hype to honest-to-goodness hope.
“There’s no pressure,” the younger Sanders said. “You’ve got to look at the teams who make the playoffs in the NFL. It’s about the quarterback. It’s about how he does. Of course, it’s about the team, but it’s just about the quarterback, taking responsibility and taking ownership of the team, for them to be comfortable.
“Whenever … y’all (in the media) say stuff, I’d already thought about that and (was already) just getting myself mentally ready for the season.”
Same mission.
Same dream.

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