Mel Tucker Named Colorado Head Coach After 3 Seasons as Georgia DC

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 5, 2018

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 01:  Georgia Bulldogs defensive coordinator Mel Tucker looks on before the 2018 SEC Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Colorado announced Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was named the school's new head coach on Wednesday. 

The 46-year-old Tucker has coached in the pros or collegiate level for 22 seasons, including three years as Georgia's defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. Of note, Tucker was also a seven-year NFL defensive coordinator for three teams and was the interim head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, earning a 2-3 record.

A former defensive back at the University of Wisconsin, Tucker's last two Bulldogs defenses have been lights-out, ranking fourth and ninth in defensive efficiency in Division-I FBS, per Football Outsiders.

Georgia has gone 24-4 in that span, making the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship and reaching the SEC title game in 2018. Tucker also coached two 2018 NFL draft picks in linebackers Roquan Smith and Lorenzo Carter, who were taken eighth and 66th, respectively.

Tucker has some work to do in Boulder, although he does have a few things working in his favor. 

After starting 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-12, Colorado's season fell off the rails with a seven-game losing streak. The defense notably faltered as the Buffaloes allowed 33.6 points per game during that span. Head coach Mike MacIntyre was let go with one game remaining.

Tucker must find backfield replacements with quarterback Steven Montez and running back Travon McMillian finishing their senior seasons.

However, the Buffaloes' top three wideouts should be back, and the same goes for the team's sack leader in defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson and tackle leader in linebacker Nate Landman.

The new CU coach also has an edge he wouldn't have in most seasons, as the Pac-12 is in the midst of a down period. No team was ever a serious threat for the College Football Playoff in 2018, while 10 of the 12 teams had four or more losses when Pac-12 play officially concluded.

With Tucker in charge, the pieces could be in place for a turnaround in Boulder if the defense tightens up and the new backfield works out.

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