BOULDER — Deion Sanders re-wrote the CU Buffs rulebook with a blowtorch and a jackhammer. But there was one commandment, sacred and true, that he left untouched.
“Coach Prime doesn’t like us wearing red in the facility,” freshman wideout Omarion Miller told me during the Buffs’ fall sports media day. “I didn’t know it was that bad. No red in the facility.”
Coach Prime, football’s greatest showman, often leaves his best stuff on the cutting room floor. Until he needs it.
The genius flies below radar. It sleeps in the margins. For all the slogans, YouTube feeds, cowboy hats and hype, a little Bill Belichick burns deep within Sanders — this streak of clever, cold and stubborn, grinding away in the darkness.
You see, what’s personal to you, what was personal to Buffs icon Bill McCartney, is personal to Prime now. And this one’s kind of personal to Miller, too, truth be told.
Omarion — “O” for short — was this close to wearing red, Cornhuskers red, himself.
Big O de-committed from Nebraska last December when the Big Red cut ties with former interim coach Mickey Joseph, with whom Miller had forged a deep bond while the former was coaching at LSU.
“Coach Box (CU recruiting director Darius Darden-Box) hit me up (last fall), got on the phone with Coach Prime (and) we built the relationship right there,” Miller recalled. “And once I did that, I already had my mind set on coming here.”
Once he got to the Front Range, Big O hit the ground running. And flashing. CU’s official “X” account last week posted a 16-second practice video of the freshman wideout high-pointing a fade in the left corner of the end zone, extending to the clouds and crashing down for six.
A shout over the cheers ends the clip: “He is DIFF-ERENT!”
“(Miller is) a talented young man … that is learning the craft of playing wide receiver at this level,” Buffs offensive coordinator Sean Lewis said of Big O, who was ranked by ESPN as the No. 44 wideout in the nation among the Class of ’23. “But (he) has size, has length (and) has a desire to be great. And again, after (the opening) two days (of camp), he’s flashed a little bit and (we’re) looking for him to continue to grow.”
Coach Prime’s making darn sure of that.
“Oh, it’s going to be crazy,” Miller laughed. “Just me knowing some of the people from Nebraska, getting them back, (being) lined up against them. So I’m ready. I’m going to bring it on.”
Especially after the loads of, you know, courteous, reasoned and wholesome reactions he got from Big Red Country after his Christmas Eve commitment to CU.
“I ain’t going to lie. They hated me,” the freshman laughed.