Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Under the direction of Bill Belichick for the past 19 seasons, the New England Patriots have been known for their ability to find the weaknesses of the opponent, adapt the game plan and attack.
New Colorado head football coach Mel Tucker aims to take the same approach, especially with the Buffaloes’ offense.
Tucker is a long-time defensive coach and when asked about his ideas for the offense, he said, “I know what gives defenses problems, and I think you have to be multiple. I think you have to be able to run the ball on your terms, I think you have to be able to make big plays and be explosive. Most importantly, you have to do what your players can do.
“Identify who your best players are, find out what they can do best and do that.”
Tucker said he won’t be tied to a specific scheme or type of offense because each game might dictate a different approach. That’s part of what has made the Patriots so successful.
“You have to be able to play the game that you need to play,” he said. “You can’t be (tied to a scheme). If you look at Bill Belichick, I’ve coached against him and one of the great things they do, they identify where you’re weak and they take advantage of it. If they need to run it 40 times, they run it 40 times; if they need to throw it 40 times, they’ll do that. It’s whatever they can do to put their team in the best position to win and that’s my philosophy.”
It’s a philosophy that Tucker said will be used on defense, as well, because there will always be different ways to defend the opposition. Being able to adapt and play different styles from week to week will be important, he said.
“I think that puts your players in the best position, where your players have confidence in the game plan for that week,” Tucker said. “You can show it to them and map it out: This is what we have to do; this is who we have to stop and this is how we’re going to stop them. This is where they’re weakest , where they’re strong and this is the plan. We’re going to practice it and know it inside and out and then we’re going to go out there and play.”
Tucker, hired just last Wednesday, has not had much of an opportunity to evaluate CU’s roster, but said he will do that in the coming weeks.
“I plan on watching every play from the season — offense, defense and special teams — as part of our self-scout analysis and scheme analysis,” he said. “We’re going to do a lot of that once I assemble the staff and finalize that.”
Tucker’s first team at CU will, of course, be filled with players recruited by former head coach Mike MacIntyre. Tucker said he made it clear to the team, however, that he will never view those recruited by MacIntyre any different than those players he recruits to Boulder.
“When you have a coaching change, it’s a stressful situation for the players because the people that recruited them or coached them, they’re in limbo and they don’t know who is going to come in and that type of thing,” Tucker said. “They say, ‘Well, if he didn’t recruit me, maybe he doesn’t care about me.’
“I told them, ‘Listen, everyone here has a clean slate with me. As of right now, you’re all my guys and I’m going to treat you just like my two boys. You’re my guys, you’re going to get a fair shake. I’m going to get the best out of you.'”
Tucker said he told the players he wants them to excel academically and make school a top priority, because it’s a priority for him to see them graduate.
On the football side of things, he told the team, “I’m going go do everything I can to help you reach your full potential and my door is always open. I wanted those guys to know that.
“I know that I have to build their trust.”