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What would Jimmy Lake bring to the Buffs?

The play-caller on the Pac-12’s most consistent defense

The Colorado Buffaloes are in the midst of finding their next head football coach. We’re here to break down the top candidates and grade them based on how they would fit in at Colorado.


Jimmy Lake’s resume is light on experience and heavy on quality. He’s only been in coaching since 1999, but his trajectory has been decidedly vertical. He’s been in the Pac-12 footprint his entire career, save for a three year stint coaching DBs in the NFL. The biggest plus in Lake’s resume is how much Chris Peterson likes him. Peterson, the best coach in the Pac-12 (not named Mike Leach) and a huge developer of coaching talent, has done whatever possible to keep Lake. He went from DB coach to DC playcaller in two years.

Grade: B


He is a first-time play-caller. Washington fans seem pleased with their defense, but they also seem to acknowledge a drop off in play calling in-game this year. Given how CU’s experience with a first play-caller on offense has been, I’ll take their slight complaints. He seems to be a little more conservative than Pete Kwiatkowski.

Grade: C

Recruiting and Development

This is where Jimmy Lake shines. In his short time at Washington, he has been Washington’s best recruiter, and even more than that, he has developed talent into NFL players. He’s coached Kevin King, Taylor Rapp, Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Byron Murphy, all players are in the NFL or will be soon. And that’s just the DBs directly developed by Lake. This category is the biggest reason to look at Lake. Regardless of all other question marks, CU fans can be confident that he will recruit and develop with the best of them.

Grade: A


Jimmy Lake is like caricature of what you want a college coach to act like. Just listen to this random interview from a month ago:

Maybe I’ve been conditioned by the coach speak that we’ve been fed for the last 6 years, but I appreciate his candor and attitude. He’s a technical coach who takes his job very seriously and connects with his players. I think his professionalism also plays well to the AD and boosters alike. For a relatively young coach, he comes across as very mature.

Grade: A


Hiring a young assistant would be a cheap route for the Buffs if they’re concerned about that. Lake likely wouldn’t demand as much as other options.

Grade: A

Interest in CU

Lake has the ability to be picky with his jobs. He’s in a very good spot right now, and he may want more years as a DC under his belt before he jumps. Multiple national outlets have reported that CU is a job he would jump for, which is fun to hear as a CU fan. I would guess that if the Buffs offered Lake, he would take the offer pretty easily. As I wrote previously, this is a logically sound hire. CU is in the Pac-12. They need a coach. So they should hire the best coordinator in the Pac-12. Simple.

Grade: B+

Cumulative GPA: 3.38