BUFFS

Coach Prime tasks former NFL tackle with fixing Buffs awful O-Line

Dec 6, 2023, 11:17 PM | Updated: Dec 7, 2023, 8:51 am

The Colorado Buffaloes offensive line was bad at just about everything in 2022, and head coach Deion Sanders has a new man for the gig.

According to BuffZone, the Buffs have hired Phil Loadholt will be the new coach of CU’s offensive line, replacing Bill O’Boyle. O’Boyle bolted with Sean Lewis and Darian Hagan to San Diego earlier this week.

Loadholt was an analyst at Oklahoma and played for the Minnesota Vikings for six seasons. Loadholt played for the Sooners after a strong prep career at Fort Carson High School in Fountain, Colorado. Loadholt was listed as 6-foot-8, 345 pounds during his playing days and earned first-team All-Big 12 with the Sooners. He blocked Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford’s blindside as well as two 1,000-yard rushers during the 2008 season that ended with a BCS Championship game loss. A year later as a second-round pick, Loadholt helped the Vikings to the NFC championship and blocked for all-time great rusher Adrian Peterson.

Mike Zimmer’s impact on Sanders staff persists, as his former offensive coordinator in the Twin Cities Pat Shurmur is likely to have that role full-time in Boulder. And of course, Loadholt played for Zimmer and briefly overlapped with Loadholt before an Achilles injury ended his playing days. Zimmer is a friend of Coach Prime and was rumored to be on CU’s staff at one point, instead, his nephew Andrew is the only Zimmer currently working for the black and gold.

Loadholt’s job will be a tough one. He’s taking over an offensive line that allowed the most sacks and led to the fewest rushing yards in the country. On top of that, CU has already lost two of their starters on that line to the portal in Van Wells and Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan.

What Loadholt does or doesn’t add will be under the watchful eye of Coach Prime, who will hope to protect his son, quarterback Shedeur Sanders, better in 2024. Sanders broke school records but broke his body in getting CU to 4-8 and it’s he who will likely be a top-five pick in the 2025 NFL Draft.

Prime’s friends at Thee Pregame Show shared a video on Wednesday where the coach said he had already hired an offensive line coach but didn’t reveal who it was.

“Offensive line position has already been filled,” Sanders said in the vlog. “A guy with plenty of experience, plenty of wherewithal, able to communicate to all the kids from top to bottom. Track record is wonderful. Where he derived from is a tremendous Power 5, and I love everything about it. When he interviewed with me, he knocked it out of the park. He’s ready and prepared. As a matter of fact, he’s already in house.”

A recruit accidentally tagged Loadholt in a Twitter post, sharing the news of an offer on Tuesday. So it appears Loadholt is targeting his first part of the job, getting some bigger and better body up front.

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