At Kent State, Sean Lewis’ offense was cleverly called, “Flash fast.”
Now that he’s at Colorado, he calls it “Buff fast.”
Regardless of the name, Lewis’ goal is the same. He wants an up-tempo, high-powered offensive attack.
“We’re going to go fast,” Lewis, CU’s new offensive coordinator, said during an interview posted by Thee Pregame Show on YouTube. “We’re going to make sure our kids can play with confidence, that they can think fast, know fast, do fast. And, they’re gonna have a swagger about them and a way in which they carry themselves because they know that what we do works and the amount of work that they have put in is going to give them conviction to carry themselves a certain kind of way.
“We’re gonna light up that scoreboard, we’re gonna set those fireworks off and it’s gonna be a lot of fun here.”
CU’s offense has been anything but fun the last couple of years, which is a big reason why Lewis and first-year head coach Deion Sanders are now in Boulder.
The Buffs had one of the worst offenses in the country in 2021 and actually got worse this past year. CU finished the 2022 campaign with 15.4 points per game – the lowest average in the 12-year history of the expanded Pac-12. In those 12 years, only two Pac-12 offenses averaged less than 302 yards per game: the 2021 Buffs (257.6) and the 2022 Buffs (281.3).
Enter Lewis, 36, who spent the past five seasons as the head coach of Kent State, where the Golden Flashes had one of the fastest offenses in the country.
This past season, Kent State averaged one offensive play for every 21.7 seconds of possession. CU was nearly five seconds slower, at one play for every 26.4 seconds.
Although Kent State didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard, at 28.4 points per game (fifth in the MAC), that was the Flashes’ lowest scoring average in four years and they’ve gained more yards per game than any team in the MAC the past three years.
Lewis now has the task of teaching and installing that offense to the Buffs, who will have a plethora of new players on offense this spring.
“It’s critical,” Lewis said of his first spring in Boulder. “I’m a big proponent that work works. We’ve got to show up and we’ve got to put in the work and that starts in the foundation of winter conditioning and doing hard things together, to get to know each other.
“The only people that you really trust in this world are people that have been tested with you, that you’ve gone through some adversity with, so we’re going to create some adversity. We’re going to present some challenges and some tests so that we can know and figure out who we can trust as we shape this culture and as we build it in coach Prime’s image.”
It’s also an offense that will be led by Sanders’ son, Shedeur, who spent the past two seasons as the star quarterback at Jackson State. Now a junior, Shedeur is at CU and expected to start for the Buffs.
“I think one of the greatest things you get to do in this profession is to work with highly motivated and eager young men who want to grow and really become craftsmen of what they do,” Lewis said. “The brief interactions I’ve had with (Shedeur), I can tell that he’s detailed-oriented, I can tell that he’s super competitive and I can tell that he loves to work. Those are the things that, to me, make elite players.”
As for Lewis, this was an opportunity he did not expect, but could not ignore. He didn’t have a relationship with Sanders before he got a call last month. Now, he’s all-in on a new challenge.
“Through mutual friends, he reached out and started the conversation,” Lewis said. “I had been tempted and courted by other people during my time at Kent State as the head coach and nothing was right, but something about this one felt right. The more I got to know coach Prime, the more we dove into the conversation and our philosophy aligned. It was an opportunity me and my family couldn’t pass up.”