Clarity is beginning to emerge regarding Colorado's search for their next head football coach.
Initially we heard this search cast a wide net. We understand Rick George and Lance Carl (CU assoc. AD) have spoken with a number of potential candidates, but of late the search seems to be narrowing down to defensive-minded candidates. Many coaches we have spoken with expected a defensive-minded coach to get the job in hopes that he would retain current co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini, who most feel is the key guy to keep in order to hold recruiting and the base together.
With that said, initially we were told Jim Leavitt's departure from CU two years ago left a bad taste in Rick George's mouth. While we understand that is the case, we also hear the two have discussed the job and have moved the relationship forward. Several CU powerbrokers believe Leavitt, a known quantity from his time there as defensive coordinator for Mac, is the right answer. However, George wants to sit down with Mel Tucker before making this decision we understand.
That leads us to Tucker, Georgia's defensive coordinator and potentially the least well-known of the candidates to those in Colorado. Tucker has been with Kirby Smart since joining Nick Saban's staff for the 2015 season, then followed Smart to Georgia as his defensive coordinator. Prior to joining Saban, Tucker had spent 10 seasons in the NFL most notably as defensive coordinator for the Browns, Jaguars and Bears. He also previously coached at LSU and Ohio State prior to his time in the NFL. Having spent some time with Tucker at Georgia, I can share he's an extremely personable coach. Leadership is not something he is lacking. In speaking with a few coaches last night, phrases such as, "He is fantastic in home visits"; "Kids play so hard for him, they love him."; and "Positive energy guy" were heard throughout the night. Tucker, we are told, is scheduled to visit with CU search leadership after the SEC Championship this weekend.
Sources familiar with where the search currently stands described Tucker and Leavitt as a strong candidates to FootballScoop.
The other name that has been connected to the search for a while now is Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason. The former Stanford defensive coordinator knows the Pac-12 well.
All along we had heard Washington defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake mentioned as a candidate. If George and company are focused on "positive energy" defensive oriented coaches, Lake definitely meets that criteria.
Stay tuned as this one feels like it is heading towards closure following Saturday's conference championship games. And as always, hit The Scoop for all the latest coaching job information.