Throughout the seven weeks that he’s been the interim head coach of the Colorado football team, Mike Sanford has never publicly lobbied for the full-time job.

Some of his players, however, have expressed their desire for Sanford to remain at the head of the program.

Redshirt freshman outside linebacker Devin Grant posted on Twitter: “We need to keep Sanford and all of our coaches! We been through hell and back and we need a year with these concepts to master it!”

Junior guard Casey Roddick responded to a fan who graded coaching candidates (but not Sanford), with “A+ Sanford.”

CU (1-10, 1-7 Pac-12) wraps up its season against No. 14 Utah (8-3, 6-2) on Saturday at Folsom Field (2 p.m., Pac-12 Network). Athletic director Rick George is in the process of hiring a new head coach and its possible an announcement comes within the next few days or shortly after the Utah game.

A Monday report from 247Sports.com said that Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders is in talks with both Colorado and South Florida about their openings. It’s unclear if there are serious discussions between CU and Sanders, however, because CU has kept its search quiet.

Former Virginia and BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall and former Texas and Houston coach Tom Herman are among others who have been rumored as candidates at CU.

Meanwhile, Sanford is 1-5 since taking over for Karl Dorrell, who was fired on Oct. 2, and isn’t sure what the future holds for him. Nevertheless, he appreciates the support of his players.

“Obviously, it means a lot,” Sanford said of Grant’s tweet and player support. “There’s a lot of really just awesome young men that are fighting through a lot of really hard times.”

The latest rough outing was a 54-7 loss to now-No. 12 Washington. The Buffs were down 33-0 at the half and Sanford said emotions boiled over during a dismal series of mistakes late in the half.

“I would call (the end of the first half) the rock bottom with regards to the emotional toll that losing and honestly, just I think, sense of embarrassment,” he said. “I think a lot of these players are going through a lot of hard times. Not just this year. … I think it’s one winning season in 15 years. There’s a lot of toll that that takes on players and the one thing that I think that they crave, obviously, is when they feel like they have people that are in their lives on a daily basis. I think they want that continuity, but we all know it’s a business, too.”

Sanford and the current staff would provide the current players — at least those who are returning in 2023 — with some continuity. But, whether that’s the right move from a business sense is George’s call.

For now, Sanford is doing his best to lead the Buffs, but he said he’s not going to lobby for the job or ask players to promote him.

“I don’t want anything to do with that, to be honest,” he said. “I’ve kind of seen that deal before where it goes that direction where there’s people that are politicking and working and lobbying and stuff like that. And to me, that’s doing stuff that I don’t think is appropriate.”

Regardless of how the coaching search plays out, Sanford is at least grateful for the opportunity to lead a group he’s enjoyed — even through the trials.

“I think this group has really grown together this year, through adversity,” he said. “It’s a group that’s been truly forged in the fire. A quote that I think is kind of significant for us, especially being at CU is that gold isn’t gold until it’s gone through the fire. We’ve gone through the fire and we’re continuing to go through it.”

Tyson on the mend

True freshman receiver Jordyn Tyson had successful surgery last week for a leg injury he suffered in CU’s 49-10 loss to Oregon on Nov. 5. Sanford is hopeful that Tyson, who leads CU in catches (22), receiving yards (470) and total touchdowns (five), will be ready to play in 2023.

“(It was) the best outcome that we could have possibly gotten,” Sanford said. “Sometimes it’s a year recovery and he was on the much lesser side of what could have possibly happened. So I was really encouraged by that. He was too.

“I would be very surprised if he doesn’t play in the 2023 season. Play doesn’t mean start game one, so I want to be careful that I don’t misrepresent that information.”

Tyson had his surgery done in Texas but has returned to Boulder.

“He was champing at the bit to come back and be around his teammates,” Sanford said. “He wanted to be here for the Utah game and be here for the banquet on Sunday. I think he misses his teammates and he misses Boulder.”

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