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CU Buffs coach Mel Tucker to players: Be physical or don’t play

Colorado head coach Mel Tucker was pleased with the physicality of Wednesday's practice
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado head coach Mel Tucker was pleased with the physicality of Wednesday’s practice

Colorado head football coach Mel Tucker has made it very clear to his players that physical football is the only option if they want to play for the Buffaloes.

“We won’t put anyone on the field that’s not going to play physical football, because you can’t play football like that,” he said. “I’ve told these guys every day, ‘If you’re physical and you’ll run and you’ll hit, you’ll probably find a way on the football field. If you don’t, no matter how talented you are, if you won’t hit, if you’re not physical, then you will not play.’ That’s just our program.

“There’s only one way to play the game of football and that’s just all-out, physical football.”

Tucker was pleased with the physicality of Wednesday’s practice — at least in the early going.

“We weren’t as physical towards the end, so we need to work on our conditioning and our mental disposition at the end of practice to strain and finish, but I thought we made progress today in terms of being physical,” he said.

Special teams

Tucker said the Buffs have spent a lot of time on special teams this spring, and he’s pleased with that work.

“I think (assistant coach) Ross Els has done a great job organizing our special teams,” Tucker said. “We’re very efficient and effective when we work and it’s a huge emphasis for us. We devote a lot of time to it in the meeting room and on the field. Depth on offense, defense and special teams is huge for us.”

The Buffs are trying to get as many players as possible game-ready and special teams helps with that goal.

“As many guys that can have a role as possible is better because you have better morale on your team, you have a deeper team,” he said. “We need guys to really step up on special teams. We had really good competition today in some of our drills.”


Tucker said he’s been very impressed with work ethic and coachable nature of the players. … With the tempo being established at practice, Tucker said, “We get a lot done in a short period of time.” … The Buffs will have their first scrimmage of spring on Friday. “I want to see who can take it from a practice setting — a normal practice and meetings — to a live scrimmage, in terms of being able to play fast, execute your assignments, be physical, sustain, strain, knowing who can win the one-on-ones and who can make plays,” Tucker said. “Then, we’ll go from there.”

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or

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