The Colorado Buffaloes are a little behind this spring. Even though the staff got finalized recently and the roster still doesn’t have a definite number or shape, the Buffs are only halfway through winter conditioning. This is a sharp contrast from the Mike MacIntyre era the last six years. Usually, the Buffs were one of the first schools in the country to start spring football. it probably helped that they only had to play December football once in those six years.
This change in schedule is one of the more concrete examples of Mel Tucker’s stamp on the program. The offseason was shortened magically by the new coach hire and the scramble to signing day. The three months from the end of the season to February flew by. Now that Tucker and co. have settled into Boulder and the recruiting has shifted to 2020, the news has calmed.
Before spring football begins, we at the Ralphie Report thought it would be helpful to organize all of the information that pertains to spring football. This post is mostly for me to get all my ducks in a row before the real football starts to start, but it might be helpful to you, too!
Jay Johnson - OC/QB coach
Johnson should shift the offense to a more run-based unit that puts more bodies on the line of scrimmage. Spring will tell us a little more about the balance he hopes to strike and how much he actually wants to use the tight end. Expect the pistol.
Tyson Summers - DC/Safeties coach
Summers was brought in to run Tucker’s D. He has plenty of DC experience himself. Tyson is a plenty aggressive play caller, but spring will tell us more about who he likes at the safety position and the rest of the D. It’s possible that the starting safeties aren’t on campus yet.
Chris Kapilovic - OL coach/run game coordinator
The highest profile hire for Mel Tucker, a lot of the excitement around the new look Buffs revolves around how Kapilovic can transform a dreadful OL unit. He will have enough big bodies to work with, but inexperience will be a hurdle.
Al Pupunu - TE coach
This is pretty much a blank slate for Pupunu. He has talent in his unit, but the baseline expectation for TE production is as close to zero as you can get.
Brian Michalowski - OLB coach
The biggest question mark on the coaching staff will be under a microscope during spring practices. The young coach has never held an on-the-field role on a P5 team before, so Colorado took a chance on him to recruit and to coach.
Travarres Tillman - DB coach
A similar situation to Michalowski, TIllman is a complete unknown. The potential, and the bust potential, is high. Luckilly for TIllman, he has a coach in Mel Tucker that specializes in his position group. Spring will say if the players like him more than anything.
Jimmy Brumbaugh - DL coach
Brumbaugh has the most impressive resume on the defensive side of the ball, but questions still remain about his effectiveness. Kwahn Drake was a revelation last year, can Brumbaugh build on his success with a new-look DL roster
Mel Tucker - Head coach
This is the most intriguing part of spring ball. Tucker already completely revamped the schedule and the S+C side of the program, but we will see if Tucker changes the on-field coaching as drastically. he seems to be more of a hard-nosed coach than Mike MacIntyre, and spring ball will be our first hint to see if that holds true.
Darrin Chiaverini - WR Coach
Darian Hagan - RB coach
Ross Els - ILB coach
Laviska Shenault - shoulder
KD Nixon - surgery
Jake Moretti - surgery
Chris Miller - surgery
Jared Poplawski - surgery
This is by no means a full list, and I doubt CU will release a full list of injured players until they have to. This is a list of players that we know are injured from social media and offseason articles. Shenault and Nixon injured may be a blessing in disguise; they need as much time as possible to rest, and they’ve already proven themselves. Their reps can now go to some more unproven receivers that are learning a new offense.
It is worth noting that Jaunta’vious Johnson, the grad transfer NT that had to leave unexpectedly, may be back for spring.
Starts March 18, practices every other day (mostly)
The spring game is on April 27, which is pretty late across all college football. This gives Drew Wilson nine winter weeks with the players before the practices starts. It also means that CU avoids March Madness, St. Patrick’s day, and other distractions that take attention away from meaningless football practice.