When he came to Boulder three months ago, newly hired Mel Tucker inherited a talented group fresh off a deflating end to the 2018 season that saw them lose seven straight games. One would’ve thought that would bog the team down in the long run, but getting a new head coach has given them a breath of fresh air.
Coming from the SEC, Tucker has a no-nonsense, tough, style of coaching. Thus far, the players have embraced his demeanor, understanding that it’s aimed at making everyone better.
“Just overall I am impressed with the way they are receptive to aggressive coaching,” Tucker said. “Any time we ask them to do something, they do it. It is a yes sir group of guys, which is a credit to their character.”
The groups ability to take constructive - and sometimes brutally honest, criticism shows a willingness to get better and a sense of trust in the new coaching staff that they’ll bring the best out in their players.
Aside from employing a different style of coaching, Tucker has also extended the winter strength and conditioning season from the typical four-five weeks to nine weeks in a lead up to spring ball. After preaching the importance of physical toughness, he’s putting his money where his mouth is in terms of making sure guys are as strong as possible before they even start the football aspect of things.
“In the past they had maybe worked out four or five weeks then started spring ball. I wanted to push spring ball back as far as possible to give us time to get in shape.”
The extended conditioning season shows the new regime’s incredible attention to detail. Rather than treating the S&C aspect of things as just another part of the spring program, Tucker is ensuring that guys are in tip-top physical condition before they even start the fundamentals portion of things.
In years past, Pac-12 teams such as Utah and Washington that’ve employed the “doghouse” SEC mentality that involves building in the trenches, playing stellar defense and running the football have enjoyed great success. By showing a strong commitment to sheer strength and fitness, the former Georgia defensive coordinator is bringing a similar model to Colorado.
Sometimes, players will get themselves in a coach’s doghouse and stuck at the bottom of the depth chart. Others will become complacent once they earn a starting role and start to slack off.
The good news for the former and bad news for the latter, is that when a new coaching regime comes to town typically everyone starts from square one. While he watched film on the returning players, Coach Tucker is making it clear that regardless of what happened in the past, he’s coming in with a open mind where everyone will need to earn their role on the team.
“I want these guys to have a clean slate, a fresh start. The past - we’re going to let it go and start clean.”
Quality Control Coordinators Announced
Before his press conference kicked off, Tucker announced that Will Peagler would be the offensive quality control coordinator, Bryan Cook would handle quality control duties on defensive, and Reid Helm on special teams. Additionally, outside linebackers coach Ross Els will double down as the special teams coordinator.
Peagler spent the previous two seasons as a assistant offensive line coach with Tucker at Georgia. He’s coached tight ends at Valdosta State, the offensive line at Coffeyville Community College and Itawamba College, and quality control at Louisiana-Lafayette and Minnesota.
“He’s a great coach - attention to detail, he’s a loyal guy, and he can really help us out on offense in a lot of ways,” Tucker said.
An former offensive lineman at Clemson, Peagler reinforces Tucker’s mentality of toughness in the trenches.
Cook comes to Colorado with nineteen years of coaching experience. Last season he was the quality control coordinator at Georgia Tech in his second stint with the Yellowjackets. The year prior, Cook was the offensive coordinator for current Buffs DC Tyson Summers when he was the head coach. He’s also coached quarterbacks at Georgia Tech, and was the co-OC at Cal Poly.