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During a media event in Denver on Thursday, Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo joked that he hoped Colorado’s Mel Tucker was spending so much time worrying about the Air Force option offense that he wasn’t spending too much time on Bobo’s Rams.

Colorado head football coach Mel Tucker is preparing his team for Friday’s season opener against Colorado State.

Yes, Tucker and his staff have spent time getting ready for the Week 3 matchup with Air Force, but he’s not one to overlook any opponent. Right now, the Buffs are dialed in on the Rams, as the two in-state rivals will hook up on Friday at Broncos Stadium at Mile High for the season opener.

“We’ve spent quite a bit of time on CSU,” Tucker said Sunday after the Buffs’ practice to kick off game week. “We’re going to be prepared. We laid out the scouting report and the game plan is unfolding every day. We’ve got corrections we have to make so we’ll make those and then we’ll move on to the next phase of game planning. There’s been no lack of preparation for us on these guys.”

CU brings a four-game winning streak against the Rams into the game, but this is Tucker’s first time facing CSU.

“I think they’re very well coached,” he said. “I think they have some really good players on both sides of the ball. They’re physical and they play with good energy. I like the way they’re coached and I like the way they play.”

Tucker said the players were “sharp” and had good meetings and tempo in practice on Sunday.

“I really like our attitude,” he said. “It’s really going to be about our preparation and what we put into it, our attention to detail, our focus; just really focusing on knowing the game plan, knowing our opponent. It was a good start to the week.”

While preparing for CSU’s schemes is important, Tucker said the key is for CU to follow its “rules” within its own scheme.

“When you apply your rules, it basically says everything we do is sound versus every formation that they have or every motion adjustment they have,” he said. “We have rules for every coverage. It’s the same thing on offense. They may line up in something that they haven’t shown on tape, but just apply your rule to what you see and play the play.”

To this point, Tucker said he believes the players have done well in learning the fundamentals of the schemes, as well with their overall chemistry, discipline and attention to details.

“The culture of our team has really changed over this course of time,” he said. “I like where we are right now. We’re not anywhere where we need to be. It’s still a work in progress and it’s going to always be that way. We’re never going to be satisfied, but we have made progress.”

O-Line set … for now

It wasn’t much of a surprise to see CU’s first depth chart list the starting offensive line as Arlington Hambright (left tackle), Kary Kutsch (left guard), Tim Lynott Jr. (center), Colby Pursell (right guard) and William Sherman (right tackle).

Line coach Chris Kapilovic said that lineup could always change, however.

“I feel like I have the five I’m going to start with and I feel like I’m going to be able to play multiple guys in certain spots,” he said. “I think I know who I’m going to start, but I’m not 100 percent sure that’s going to be the same lineup we’re going to have two, three or four weeks from now. Sometimes you have to see what those guys do in a game situation, as well. Some kids react differently to a game. Some kids relish the opportunity and thrive, some kids it becomes too much.”

Kutsch is the only starter without much Division I experience, but he earned a starting job because of his consistency during camp.

Going into camp, there was a battle at center. Pursell started all 12 games there a year ago, but Lynott, the typical starter at right guard the past three years, won the job.

“It just seemed a little smoother with that combination like that,” Kapilovic said. “But both of them have to be prepared to go the other way. It just was a feeling for me and them and even the staff that we felt that might be the right combination at this time.”


Kapilovic said backup center Josh Jynes, a redshirt freshman, “didn’t make a great impression in spring,” but really picked up his game this month. … Walk-on Jack Shutack, listed second at right guard, has played four different spots at times this offseason. Kapilovic said that’s going to make Shutack valuable at some point this season. … Redshirt freshman Dimitri Stanley is slated to return punts. “He’s a dynamic player,” Tucker said. “He’s got really good ball skills; he’s got good speed; he’s a strong runner; he’s got good judgment, good decision making.”