The University of Colorado’s next football coach will be a former Chicago Bears coordinator, just not the one you might have expected:
Barring a late change, #Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker should be the next #Colorado coach. Tucker coaches today in the SEC championship against #Alabama. Our latest story at https://t.co/Y2XYMmBcNU. https://t.co/bH2c1K6Xxa
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 1, 2018
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reports that Georgia Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker is expected to be Colorado’s next head coach. And yes, that is the same Mel Tucker who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014 under Marc Trestman.
Things have been better for Tucker since leaving Chicago after two historically awful seasons in which the defense finished 30th and 31st in scoring defense. Tucker found a soft landing coaching Alabama’s defensive backs in 2015 (including Eddie Jackson!) before taking over as Georgia’s DC the last two seasons. In the last three years, Tucker has found a niche as a recruiter, coach, and coordinator, which has elevated his coaching profile. Good for him. We wish him luck on his future endeavors.
Tucker getting the job in Colorado means it won’t be going to current Bears OC Mark Helfrich. Shortly after it was announced that Mike MacIntyre wasn’t returning to coach the Buffaloes, Helfrich’s name popped up as a potential candidate for the gig. In addition to his work with Mitch Trubisky’s development this season, Helfrich has ties to Colorado (he was the school’s OC and QBs Coach from 2006-08) and owned previous head-coaching experience in the Pac-12, which made him an intriguing person of interest for this position and possible other openings that could come down the line.
However, it doesn’t sound like Helfrich has much of an interest in going back to the college game at the moment.
“I think all of those things are just rabbit holes to dive down,” Helfrich said when asked if he wanted to coach at the college level again, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s a great byproduct of being on a good team. The same could be said of a lot of different guys. I know that this is the place we are at, and there’s no good answer for that that serves anybody – other than, I’m extremely lucky to be here and very excited to get after the Giants.”
While that denial is as vague as it gets, it still counts as one. Maybe there is a job that piques Helfrich’s interest that isn’t open yet or won’t be open until sometime down the line. If that’s the case, it’s not hard to imagine Helfrich sticking around as the offensive coordinator and rebuilding his coaching résumé at the pro level.
We’ll continue to monitor the rumor mill to see if other teams show some interest in the Bears’ OC, especially if this offense continues to put up points.