Despite Injuries, Wyoming’s Buck Coors Says He Won’t ‘Pull Up’
LARAMIE -- Five surgeries.
That's what Buck Coors has endured since strolling onto Wyoming's campus in the fall of 2020. First came the left forearm. He has the nasty three-inch pink scar to prove it, too. A broken wrist followed. Then came the thumb -- twice.
"All of them are holding together well," the sophomore said with a smile.
The last one was the most painful. Not necessarily figuratively, but mentally, emotionally. Just two weeks before the 2022 opener at Illinois, his left ankle, along with three ligaments, snapped. Coors attempted to make a tackle out of the Cowboys' secondary. His cleat stuck in the turf. Two teammates converged.
"It's unfortunate, but he'll be back next year," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said after sharing what he called "heartbreaking" news. "... One of the things that did hurt about losing Buck, I mean, beyond his name, which is a Wyoming guy through and through -- not that I drink Coors beer -- I mean he was really making great strides and that's part of the walk-on program."
X-rays revealed the extent of the damage. Coors was told initially he would miss six months. That means the entire season. That wasn't acceptable. He sought another opinion.
The Loveland, Colo., product said he traveled to Minnesota where he was under the care of the same surgeon that fixes up the Minnesota Vikings. Former Alabama quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, also visited Dr. J. Chris Coetzee. He played 20 days after going under the knife.
It took Coors just eight weeks.
"He got it all fixed up," he said. "I think I got like a plate and like 12 screws, and then two TightRopes through the middle. But he got me all stitched up and ready to go."
That's when the pestering began.
Coors swung by Bohl's office maybe a few times. He was there to not only update his coach about his progress, but to let him know he'd be ready to play by late October.
He circled Utah State.
Bohl had his doubts.
"He had all kinds of different screws put in there," he said. "He was on a mission. He was in my ear (saying), 'I can be doing this, I can be doing this, the doctor said I can be doing this and that.'"
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Coors said his reasoning for the comeback is simple.
"I just love the game," The 5-foot-11, 197-pound walk-on said. "I love playing football. I love the contact. I love the speed. I love just how quick it happens. I love everything about it, so, you know, I missed not being out there with my team.
"... We came to a good resolution."
Coors didn't quite hit his deadline. He was a week late. It didn't matter. He made it.
Did he ever contemplate just giving up the sport after so much misfortune?
You're kidding, right?
"Absolutely not. No," Coors said emphatically. "It's always tough. I mean, I like to play fast and hard and I'm never going to pull up. So, you know, when I'm running into guys that are a lot bigger, things like that happen. So, it's never fun, but it doesn't change the fact that I still love to play, and I'm still going to play 100%. That's not going to change, so you just roll with it."
Fast forward to Monday afternoon and Coors is wrapping up his fifth practice of the fall. He's healthy. Like, fully. That's a first. He had never gone through an entire offseason program unscathed.
He is also in a transition phase.
Last season he lined up at the nickelback spot behind Keonte Glinton and Wrook Brown. Now, he's listed as a free safety, backing up Wyett Ekeler.
"He's doing well," Bohl said earlier in the week. "You know, there's some things that we can continue to look at, whether at nickel or safety. Last fall, he was emerging, on a fast track and then he got hurt. Coach (Jay) Sawvel (defensive coordinator/ safeties coach) is really excited about him and we're taking a hard look at integrating him."
Coors is often asked if he is part of the famous Colorado beer family. He is.
He doesn't just wear Cowboys across his chest, either. He's the real deal, a roper by trade. He left the rodeo arena to focus on football.
His unique name is always a topic of discussion, appearing on "All-Name Teams" on social media. Fans openly joke about the NIL deals Coors could rake in. Perhaps selling a certain brand of beer at a local bar that shares the same first name.
That, of course, isn't an option. Players can't profit off alcohol. That's OK, Coors jokes, he doesn't drink anyway.
"I can only think my parents for that," he said, referring to his name, which is actually Roy Buchanan. "... I've just gone by Buck my whole life."
Coors has appeared in just seven games during his three-plus seasons in Laramie. It's been painful, helplessly watching his teammates from the sidelines. He wants to contribute. Coors said he's not worried about scholarships or being a starter, those decisions are in the coaches' hands.
He just wants to win.
"I'm going to show up to practice every day and play as hard as I can and let the chips fall where they will," Coors said. "I trust God because I know He's got a plan for me."