CSU’s Jay Norvell calling out CU coach Deion Sanders’ style? Not smart.

Jay Norvell just stepped in his own bear trap.

Cripes, do you want them to hang 70 on you, coach? This is not the grizzly you poke. This is a teddy you sneak up on while he’s napping. Tip-toe into that cave and grab all the goodies you can before the big guy wakes up.

Norvell, CSU’s second-year football boss, just ran in there with two trash can lids and started banging ’em together like it was an Independence Day parade.

“When I sat down with ESPN today, and I don’t care if they hear it in Boulder,” Norvell said Wednesday during his weekly coaches’ radio show, “I told (ESPN) — I took my hat off and I took my glasses off.

“And I said, ‘When I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat and my glasses off. That’s what my mother taught me.’”


“Forget what they think or say about u,” Coach Prime posted on his Twitter feed early Thursday morning, “because the only thing that matters is what u think & say about yourself.”

Yeah, man.

They heard you.

The Buffs care now. Happy? After days of mostly shrugs when it came to questions about the Rammies, No. 18 CU (2-0) suddenly has a reason to give a darn. The bear was taking a nice little nap before Oregon (Sept. 23) and USC (Sept. 30), and little brother walked up and kicked it in the teeth.

Don’t know about you, but I’d prefer a Deion who’s bored and disinterested. This is the only game in September for CU in which Vegas has the Buffs coming as a heavy favorite — a 23.5-point spread is the largest for a Rocky Mountain Showdown pregame line since 2000. Nobody could blame the Buffs for having the Ducks and Trojans on the brain coming into Saturday night.

Not anymore.

If you’re going to talk trash about the guy with the turnover throne, Jay, best back it up.

Don’t do a Sean Payton. Baby Bill Parcells spent months shredding Nathaniel Hackett, his predecessor as Broncos coach, in front of any microphone he could find. Then he launched his era by called an onside kick (It failed). The Broncos blew a 13-10 halftime lead, committed 10 penalties, scored just 16 points, and lost (again) to the Raiders at home. And Payton’s team looked pretty much like a carbon copy of the ones he just trashed.

Say this much for Coach Prime: Whenever he’s talked, so far, his team’s gone out and walked it to the last. Sanders, a longtime Texan, had plenty of bulletin board material in mind for TCU before he unloaded after the game in Fort Worth. For Nebraska, he had to dig a little deeper, but they found it.

And you’re just gonna hand this one to them? Really?

Norvell seemed to follow that script carefully for months, speaking in fairly general, and even reverential, tones about the hottest football story in the country right now. Until Wednesday, when he went off-script and off the rails.

This was about 15 levels of dumb, which is weird, because Norvell is no dummy. One of his greatest career influences was the late, great Hayden Fry, a master of the psychological dig, a coach who used to twist Bo Schembechler’s brain like it was a soft pretzel. Norvell’s other great career influence was Al Davis, because nobody’s perfect.

And we get it. Sanders and the Buffs sucked whatever oxygen was left out of the room weeks ago. CU doesn’t just own the state. It owns the stinking nation. Norvell snapped. He’s got a right to be ticked off. His fans are sick of Deion. His staffers are sick of Deion.

The man’s speaking for a lot of longtime coaches, at multiple levels, who see the Prime Revolution taking off like a Patriot missile, and it scares the living heck out of them. The rules for this game are being rewritten, in real time, by the guy who wears sunglasses at night. Indoors.

The scoreboard will dictate whether Norvell’s jab was genius or madness. The eye test says it’s the latter.

Coach Prime was going to be the talk of college football whether the Buffs right now were 0-2 or 2-0. The problem? CU looks like a top-20 team, and CSU … doesn’t. CU has an NFL quarterback. CSU …. doesn’t. CU has arguably the best defensive back in the country. CSU … doesn’t.

Sanders was always going to be able to pick his score coming into this one. If he liked Norvell, he might’ve picked a 37 or a 45. Now that number feels more like 64 or 68.

Want to fire up the base? Cool. But Norvell just tossed a big hunk of red meat at the wrong stinking bear.

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