TUMPKIN FEELING AT HOME IN BOULDER
san antonio» Any doubt Joe Tumpkin had about whether he was making the right move leaving his defensive coordinator job at Central Michigan to become the safeties coach at Colorado nearly two years ago was wiped away by the bone-chilling cold of a February day in the Motor City.
“I remember when I got hired (by CU) the windchill was minus23 when I got on the plane in Detroit,” said Tumpkin, who will serve as the interim defensive coordinator for Colorado in the Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma State on Thursday. “When I landed in Boulder it was 48 degrees. I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed that I had an office with a window. At Central Michigan, I didn’t have a window. I was in a basement.”
The view of the Flatirons hasn’t been the only perk for Tumpkin since he left Central Michigan in early 2015, his job status there uncertain after head coach Dan Enos resigned to become the offensive coordinator at Arkansas. There was also the opportunity to have his hand in restoring a defense that had been more Swiss cheese than stout before his arrival. Tumpkin’s hiring coincided with that of defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, who earlier this month left CU for the same job at Oregon.
“One of the the things that coach (Mike) MacIntyre said to me was: ‘You’re going to have a talented back end, and you’re also going to have some young guys to work with,'” Tumpkin said. “And there was also the challenge. I remember growing up in South Florida and going to (CU’s) two Orange Bowl games (in 1989 and 1990), standing on the sideline. It’s been a huge influence for me.”
The role Tumpkin has played in helping CU creep closer to those glory years is part of what prepared him to take over a Buffs defense that was among the Pac12’s best this season.Tumpkin, 45, set the tone when he arrived before his spring practice in 2015 by issuing a challenge to the best player in his position group.
“He had me check myself when he first got here,” said CU senior safety Tedric Thompson. “He asked me a simple question: ‘What have you done since you’ve been here?’ I thought it was a crazy question because nobody had ever asked me what I had done. I had to step back that I hadn’t really done anything since I’d been here. He basically let me know I always had to be my own biggest critic.”
Thompson responded this season by tying a school record with seven interceptions and
san antonio» The big boys from Texas on the Colorado offensive line were hopeful they could show their teammates the light this week.
Jeromy Irwin, a native of Cypress, Texas, was anxious to stake his claim that Whataburger, not the In-N-Out the team dined on after two road victories this season, is America’s real king of burger chains. earning second-team All-American honors from CBSSports.com. The ability for Tumpkin to blend motivation and understanding of the game isn’t relegated to the secondary, MacIntyre said.
“He’s very knowledgable of the front end and back end (of the defense) together,” MacIntyre said. “Some people understand
If anything, the Buffs from California, home of In-N-Out, have only dug their heels in further.
“I don’t think I’ve converted anybody yet,” Irwin said. “We went to the Spurs game and had Whataburger, but it’s at a convention center. I wouldn’t judge it completely on that. But I don’t think it’s going to turn anybody from California onto it.”
Defensive tackle Jordan Carrell, the back end and some people understand the front. He understands both, which is what you need. He gets along with the players and he also understands our scheme real well. The guys really respond to him.” who hails from Roseville, Calif., outside Sacramento, didn’t even have to try Whataburger to know he wasn’t changing his mind.
“I haven’t eaten it,” Carrell said. “I could just look at it and compare it to a Whopper — even less than a Whopper. It’s not an In-N-Out burger, that’s for dang sure.”
Colorado interim defensive coordinator Joe Tumpkin after morning practice on Dec. 27 at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Cliff Grasmick, Daily Camera