The Colorado Buffaloes are projected to finish last in the Pac-12 South according to the preseason media poll released on Wednesday. A short eight months after Mel Tucker took over as the head football coach in Boulder, he gave some insight to the state of the program nearly one month away from the start of the 2019 football season.
MEDIA: You’ve been around some serious athletes. How does Laviska (Shenault) compare? What signs do you see in him that he could be elite?
TUCKER: Yeah, he’s a rare athlete. The thing I like about him the most is he’s a great young man. He’s a high-character guy. He’s very humble. He’shard-working. He’s a lead by example type of guy. But from a skill-set standpoint, height, weight, speed, there’s very few guys like him.
I mean, he can do it all. He’s got excellent ball skills, runs great routes, very competitive. He plays— he’s tough. He’s contact tough, and he’s got some leadership ability. He’s a guy that is a privilege to coach. It’s not every year that you get a chance to work with a young man like that.
MEDIA: Do you feel like harder to teach coaches to teach it right than to teach kids? Most coaches played in a different era. Is it easier to show the kids, or is it easier to get the coaches on board with not having it so aggressive?
TUCKER: Well, it’s been a change. I remember a few years back in the NFL where it was a really strong campaign to take the head out of the game, and we all had to make some adjustments in terms of how we teach blow delivery, how we teach tackling. It’s made the game better.
It’s made it safer. Our coaches are all bought into that. I feel really— I feel confident that we are teaching those tackling and blow delivery techniques properly, and our players will be— they’ll be prepared and they’ll be better off for it.
MEDIA: Does it take a certain amount of time for a coach to put his stamp on a program, or do you have high expectations as soon as fall camp starts?
TUCKER: We have high expectations right now. Our goal is to be the best football team we can be, and we started that process from day one. My first day was December 5th, and we laid out to the players what type of program that we need to have to compete for championships. And it’s a daily process, and we’re.
MEDIA: Mel, the conference has discussed playing noon Eastern kickoff times. It would be 9:00 a.m. here, 10:00 Mountain. Would you be in favor of Colorado doing that, and how much do you think that would help exposure back East?
TUCKER: Well, I know that’s part of the plan. We’re talking about that. But for me as a coach, I just want to play ball. Put the ball down and let’s go play. So whatever the schedule is, the timing, the kickoff time, the opponent, it’s really not an issue for me. I just need to know when we’re going to kick off, and then I’ve got to get my guys ready to go.
MEDIA: So you played and coached in the Big Ten, you’ve coached in the pros, you’ve coached in the SEC; how are you combining all that experience into what you’re going to plan to do here at Colorado?
TUCKER: I’ve taken a little bit of something from every place that I’ve coached. At the end of the day, I have to be myself, and the team is going to be a reflection of me and how I believe the game of football should be played. But the experiences I’ve had have been a tremendous asset for me moving forward. There are going to be some things from Alabama, from Georgia, from Ohio State that I’ve learned and that I’m going to install in Boulder.
MEDIA: Coming from a situation where resources were as vast as they were in that conference, what are the advantages coming from that and what are the disadvantages?
TUCKER: Yeah, well, recruiting is the key. Obviously good players make you a good coach. At Alabama and at Georgia, we recruit every day. We recruit every day, but we do the same thing at Colorado. We have what we need from a resource standpoint to recruit at the level that we need to recruit to.
I feel good about where we are in recruiting. Our coaches are relentless. They understand that you have to recruit every day and you have to recruit at a high level. You’ve got to be willing to fight and compete for the best players, so that’s what we’re willing to do.
Colorado opens the season against Colorado State in Denver on August 30 at 8 p.m. MT. Tickets for the Rocky Mountain Showdown start at $35 and can be purchased at CUBuffs.com.