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Two defensive assistants to remain with CU Buffs

Tyson Summers, Brian Michalowski retained by new head coach Karl Dorrell

Defensive coordinator Tyson Summers was in his first season at Colorado in 2019. He will be retained by new head coach Karl Dorrell.
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Defensive coordinator Tyson Summers was in his first season at Colorado in 2019. He will be retained by new head coach Karl Dorrell.

Under the direction of Tyson Summers, the Colorado defense was vastly improved from the start of the 2019 season to the end.

Summers will get a chance to continue building the Buffaloes’ defense next season.

Buffzone confirmed through  multiple sources Wednesday that Summers and Brian Michalowski will be retained by new head football coach Karl Dorrell, who was hired on Sunday.

Summers will return for a second season as the Buffaloes’ defensive coordinator. He also coached safeties last year, but he might coach inside linebackers next year instead. Michalowski will return for his second season as the Buffs’ outside linebackers coach.

Decisions on receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini and running backs coach Darian Hagan were not final as of Wednesday evening.

Tight ends coach Al Pupunu and cornerbacks coach Travares Tillman will not be retained.

Summers was hired by former head coach Mel Tucker on Dec. 11, 2018, and he played n integral role in CU’s in-season improvement on defense, despite a rash of injuries and player defections – especially in the secondary.

After giving up 34.9 points and 486.9 yards per game in the first eight weeks, the Buffs allowed an average of just 25.8 points and 352.0 yards the last four games.

“There’s a lot to be excited about moving forward to the future,” Summers said in December. “We’ve got a team that is hungry, a team and a defense, in particular, that’s very hungry to prove they can do it all year. I think we’re in as good a spot as we can be defensively.”

This will be the first time in Summers’ career that he’ll have a chance to coordinate a defense for a second season.

Summers, 39, was promoted to defensive coordinator at Central Florida in 2014, but at the end of that season he was hired to run the defense at Colorado State. After one season at CSU, he was hired as head coach at Georgia Southern.

Summers ran a 3-4 base defense with the Buffs last season. Dorrell said during his introductory press conference Monday that he likes the versatility of the 3-4 against the offenses being run in college.

“We’re kind of built for the 3-4,” Dorrell said. “I think it’s a good foundation for our defense.”

Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Outside linebackers coach Brian Michalowski will return to the staff under new head coach Karl Dorrell.

While Summers will remain in charge of the defense, Michalowski will get a chance to continue his work with the Buffs’ outside linebackers.

Hired by Tucker on Jan. 7, 2019, Michalowski was in his first season as a full-time assistant coach at the FBS level in 2019. Despite the relative inexperience, Michalowski, 30, was widely praised by players and Tucker for his role in the development of the outside linebackers. Tucker also praised Michalowski’s role as a recruiter.

Four other assistants from last year’s staff have already moved on to other jobs.

Tucker, who left CU for the head coaching position at Michigan State earlier this month, brought three Buffs’ assistants with him: linebackers coach Ross Els, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jay Johnson and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic.

Defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh left CU for Tennessee, where he was named co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach.

On Monday, Dorrell didn’t discuss particular coaches he would have on staff, but emphasized the desire to have great teachers on his staff.

“That’s the quality in mind that sticks out, whether it’s the college level or the professional level,” Dorrell said. “I kind of will use my own intuition as to the style of coach I’m looking for as a teacher. I think I have a good background of looking at talent for that and we’re going to build it to make sure that those qualities are in place, whether it’s professionally or from the college level.”