Colorado didn’t play a football game last week, but head coach Mel Tucker was still pleased with how his team performed.
“We had a very productive bye week,” he said Monday as the Buffaloes (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12) got back to work in preparation for Saturday’s home finale against Washington (6-4, 3-4) at Folsom Field. “We made the most of our bye week and we’ve been efficient and effective in our operation and our preparation. That’s part of our culture is to make the most of our opportunities, to be efficient, don’t waste time and work to get better each and every day and I feel like we’ve done that.”
The Buffs snapped a five-game losing streak in their last outing, a 16-13 win against Stanford on Nov. 9, and Tucker hopes they can continue the momentum against the Huskies on Saturday (8 p.m.; TV: ESPN).
“Our guys are working hard so we can put our best foot forward,” he said.
For a number of reasons – including the late start time, which wasn’t announced until Sunday; and the start of the Thanksgiving break – ticket sales are down for this game. As of Monday afternoon, CU had distributed about 42,000 tickets and will likely fall well short of this year’s average of 50,563. CU has had at least 48,913 at each home game.
Tucker is hoping the fans will step up and create a good atmosphere for senior night.
“Our fans have been tremendous throughout this entire season,” he said. “Our stadium has been rocking; just an electric atmosphere. Buff Nation is so strong. Our players are energized by it and we look forward to playing at home.
“It’s very, very impressive to our recruits and their parents. Everyone who sees us in action at Folsom just comes away with a strong understanding that the Buffs are serious about football and this is a football town. I just encourage everyone to come out and support our team.”
Tucker expects it to be an emotional night, as 17 seniors will play their final game at Folsom Field. It will also be the last public appearance at a football game for Ralphie V, who has retired and will not run. And, former quarterback Kordell Stewart will be on hand as he’s recognized for the 25th anniversary of the “Miracle at Michigan.”
“It’s going to be a big day for the Buffs,” Tucker said.
During the bye week, Tucker and his staff hit several states – including Colorado, California, Louisiana and Texas – on the recruiting trail. They visited roughly 20 schools and “saw a lot of good football players.”
“It’s always good to get out and interact with high school coaches and talk a little ball, talk about their players, whether it’s in our state or outside of our state,” Tucker said. “The lifeblood of our program is the high school coaches. They do a tremendous job.”
Washington quarterback Jacob Eason is in his first season as the starter for the Huskies, but he’s no stranger to Tucker.
Eason was the starting quarterback at Georgia as a true freshman in 2016 and began 2017 as the Bulldogs’ starter before a knee injury in the opener. Tucker was Georgia’s defensive coordinator in those years, going against him routinely in practice.
After losing his starting job to Jake Fromm in 2017, Eason transferred to Washington, where he had to sit out the 2018 season. He has thrown for 2,472 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Tucker said he doesn’t believe it’s an advantage having been on the same team as Eason because it was “too long ago” that Eason played, but he had high praise for the Huskies’ quarterback.
“I just know that he’s a tremendous talent, he’s a very hard worker,” Tucker said. “He’s just a great teammate, a team guy. He’s a winner and he plays to win.”
Tucker said the Buffs were “very focused” on Monday and had a strong practice. “I felt like we got better today,” he said. … Eason is 14-9 as a starter, going 8-5 at Georgia and 6-4 at Washington. He is 7-8 in conference games. … The season finale at Utah, on Nov. 30, has been selected for a six-day notification for kickoff time by the Pac-12 TV partners. Game time will be announced on Sunday. Other games in that situation are Notre Dame at Stanford and Oregon State at Oregon. The order of selection for those games goes to ABC (5:30 p.m.), Fox (2 p.m.) and then the Pac-12 Network (2 p.m.).