The University of Colorado has made it official. Mel Tucker is the new sheriff in the town of Boulder. So now that the I’s have been dotted and the T’s crossed (or maybe your eyes are a little crossed at this point, following a forgettable season), it seems like a logical time to discuss whether Mr. Tucker is indeed the right man for the job.
On the plus side, from everything that has been written about his past few years in the college coaching world, particularly as Georgia’s defensive coordinator, Tucker seems like an absolute home run hire when it comes to recruiting. All it takes is a brief glance at the recruits he had a hand in landing while in Athens to tell you that this guy knows what he’s doing when it comes to schmoozing in the living rooms of big-time high school kids. The stars after these kids’ names could make for a crowded galaxy.
Another big feather in Tucker’s cap is the success he has had coordinating defenses, particularly in the NFL. With the exception of his time as the defensive coordinator for the Bears, his resume is rock solid. He’s also very highly regarded both within the coaching fraternity and among the players he has coached.
Now come the concerns.
First and foremost, Tucker has never been a head coach, aside from a five-game stint as the interim HC of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 following the firing of Jack Del Rio. With his now-former boss, Kirby Smart, being a notable exception, most successful head coaches at the top levels of the profession have had success in other stops as the top dog.
Another area of possible concern for the new Buffs coach is the fact that he has no experience whatsoever with either the PAC-12 in general or Colorado in particular. Tucker has shown he can recruit with the best of them when he’s in the fertile football ground of the Southeast and representing a blue blood program like Georgia, but how will his salesmanship work in the West and Northwest? Does he have the connections necessary to make it work at Colorado?
Finally, and I’m probably nitpicking here, there is the issue of coach Tucker’s longevity, or lack thereof, in terms of his many stops along the way in his career. He’s seemingly never been in any one place for more than two or three years. Now I realize constant moves are the way of the world as far as football coaching careers are concerned, but do the truly great coaches have that vagabond aspect in their resume?
I think Mel Tucker has a lot of the best qualities that an FBS school could want in their football coach. I really do.
I also really do have concerns about the hire. But all of those concerns can be put to bed with a little success, starting now in the recruiting game and continuing into next fall.
Winning can cure a lot of what ails you.