Colorado defensive coordinator Charles Kelly believes legendary Alabama head coach Nick Saban and first-time Power Five head coach Deion Sanders are similar — sharing the opinion that “there are a lot more similarities than there are differences.”
“The thing I tell people is there are a lot more similarities than there are differences,” Kelly told me during a guest appearance on “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 105.5 on May 4. “When I say that, first of all when I talk about them as people, what kind of men they are, both of them are very good men. They are both strong men of faith, No. 1. The standard they set for what they accomplish is second to none.”
Kelly, who spent the last four seasons as the associate defensive coordinator under Saban before being hired as Sanders’ first defensive coordinator at Colorado, spoke to the standard both men have set for themselves.
“Everything (Deion’s) done in his life, he has set a high standard,” Kelly said. “It’s impossible to reach some of the things he’s done unless he has that. Coach Saban is the same way. The standard he sets for the people around him, his program, what he wants to accomplish. Sometimes people aren’t made to live up to that standard. That’s OK.”
Charles Kelly on Nick Saban & Deion Sanders Differences
Kelly did make sure to note that there are clear differences between the two coaches during his May 4 Mobile radio appearance.
“They have their own way of doing things,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed working for coach Saban. One of the best experiences of my life. I was glad I had an opportunity to do that. I’m just happy to work with Coach Prime. He’s been a good friend. We’ve been friends for a long time. I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
AL.com’s Mark Heim sees the clear difference in the two coaches’ characters that make them work together for their shared television advertisement campaign with Aflac.
“You see them both on Aflac commercials,” Heim prefaced before saying, “One is stern and reserved. The other is more flamboyant. It might be why Alabama coach Nick Saban and Colorado coach Deion Sanders work so well together in the ad campaign.”
Paul Finebaum Feels Deion Sanders Can Replace Nick Saban
On the January 23 edition of The Paul Finebaum Show, the SEC Network host claimed that Sanders could one day replace Saban at Alabama — with one key caveat being that he sees success at Colorado.
“I think the expectations at Colorado are significantly lower (than most),” Finebaum said (h/t 247Sports). “I think if he can go out there and prove that he can handle one of the worst programs in college football, he can put himself in position to get any job he wants, including Alabama.”
There will be an uphill climb for Colorado to contend in the Pac-12 during the 2023 season, however, given the 52 total transfers from Boulder since Sanders took over. 43 of those transfers bolted the Buffaloes following their April 22 spring game.