Colorado held its first spring practice of the Prime Era on Sunday. Before anything, head coach Deion Sanders and his staff spoke to the team with a clear message: “It’s time.”

Sanders had the team repeat after him as he said it over and over. Then offensive coordinator Sean Lewis took over, telling the team they have three options with their time: spend it, waste it, or invest it.

There was certainly no wasted time on Sunday. Sanders and his staff put the Buffs through a fast-paced workout, a tempo that appears to be one that’ll define Sanders’ teams at CU.

“We don’t take breaks,” Sanders said. “It’s no idle feet and you can’t walk between the lines. Everything is running. Everything is station to station, drill to drill … By the time we hit the field in game time, we’ll have a tempo that is out of this world because that’s the expectation of practice.”

Sanders wanted a sense of urgency from the opening workout. A 1-11 football team a year ago, Sanders doesn’t want to slow-play this rebuild. He wants the team performing at their best and the message seems to be sinking in. He asked the group afterward to grade themselves on Day 1.

“The kids gave themselves a ‘C’,” he said. “They gave themselves a C because they felt like they could do better understanding the tempo, the thought process, the commitment to excellence, the consistency just staying involved. That was a fast-paced practice. We got a lot of work done. Got a lot of reps. I’m excited. I really am excited about what I saw today. And they competed tremendously.”

CU will have an interrupted spring practice schedule before its annual spring game on April 22. Spring break will fall in the middle of the period, and Coach Prime is less than pleased about that.

“It’s not a positive,” Sanders said. “It’s like, when you love something, do you want a break from it? You don’t want a break from it and then come up and try to recant where you left off at. Take a break on your honeymoon, then come back and try to make it happen. It ain’t the same.

“These are young men. Different maturation levels. Some people you tell don’t go out there and do A, B, C, and D and they do it anyway because you told them not to. They gotta touch the oven and see if it’s hot. Some guys are gonna work their butts off and stay in shape and lift and make sure they come back prepared because they know it’s a lot at stake for this spring for them personally.”

It is most definitely time, and Sanders is preaching urgency right out of the gates.

You can see more from Sanders’ first practice below: