On the bright side, for the first time in many an offseason, we probably won’t have to worry about Tedford leaving us.
It’s kind of ironic, because before the season started, 2008 seemed like the perfect time for him to jump to healthier pastures. His youngest son was graduating. The impending retirement of Lloyd Carr and the impatience of the Wolverines subjugation to the Sweater Vest seemed to beg for the hand of Tedford to bring fresh blood to the wounded Michigan fanbase. MgoBlog prominently lobbyied for him earlier this year, although it looks like he might have to settle for Kirk Ferentz (ick). But the collapse of the past six months has left him unappealing to the major programs lacking a coach (Arkansas, UCLA come to mind). Maybe next year. It can’t get much worse than this year. Can it?
I’m wondering if this season was all some grand gambit he was trying to pull to end the coaching rumors once and for all, to settle the fact. That these six losses were part of a great strategy to say that he is bound to Cal, and he doesn’t deserve spots anywhere. Then he proceeds to lead us to Rose Bowls unchecked for the next decade…
Heh. I can’t even say that with a straight face. What a year.
As for Bob Gregory? I can’t see him coming back. The defense clearly gave up under his watch–Longshore has little bearing on that side of the ball, so the only fingerpointing can be done at the pressbox. I feel a little bad for him, because judging from the way the team has played and scorned his strategy, I doubt Gregory could have done much to stop the downturn. I know “bend-don’t-break” isn’t exactly hard knocks football, but it’s a pretty sound strategy when your talent isn’t up to par.
Look at Tennessee, who employed the exact same scheme and got progressively better as the year went on, holding the LSU offense to one TD and a few field goals and knocking LSU’s fearsome playmakers on their backs for the majority of the game. In light of how the Vols reorientation to strong defensive playmaking, the regression of Cal is mystifying, and can only be explained by a lack of heart from players and preparation from coaching.
I will be sorely depressed if Gregory returns–he’s had a good run with more physical defenses. But someone has to be scapegoated for 1-6, and it sure as hell isn’t going to be Tedford. And the thought of the majority of this defense coming back to play for Gregory doesn’t sound appealing at all.
Brief shots on the remaining coaching staff.
Offensive Coordinator/O-Line: Jim Michalzik should worry a bit; Cal fans want blood, and Tedford probably will have to cut his coordinating duties, however perfunctory they maybe. On the flip side, the O-line was strong until the final games, and he was OC only in name–he will likely return to just handling the offensive line as Cal searches for a true coordinator. This quitting business worries me though.
Quarterback: Still early to see with Kevin Daft, although he might be a casualty of Longshore’s troubles. But the early development and promise of Kevin Riley has been a pleasant surprise.
Running backs: Ron Gould has been here forever, and there doesn’t seem to be any change forthcoming. I expected Forsett to come into his role well, but his amazing workhorse production has surprised even me. Kudos to Gould, but it doesn’t get any easier–Montgomery and Best both need a lot of polish this offseason.
Wide receivers: Dan Ferrigno has produced outstanding receiver production for the second straight year, this year in spite of Longshore’s ineffectiveness. His transformation of Lavelle Hawkins into a legit NFL prospect definitely deserves props, although I wish he’d teach him to catch with his hands.
Special Teams: Apparently Pac-10 teams play smarter than anyone else. After Colquitt’s errant decision to punt to DeSean, the power of special teams died. Coverage has never been sloppier, Kay was simply average, and DeSean barely touched the ball again. Larson and Hawkins were great again, but overall just an average year for the special teams. Pete Alamar should be back next year.
Defensive Line: Ken Delgado is in danger–the D-line was expected to be a weak link, but never this anemic (76th in sacks, 109th in tackles for loss)? If Gregory isn’t fired or let go, Delgado might be the one taking the long walk.
Secondary: …no one on this defensive staff is safe.
Recruiting: This situation worries me. Cal has not had great defensive recruits in three years. The last of the old guard (Mebane, Bishop, Hughes) left us last year, and only Follett has shown signs of being a playmaker (the scheme has somewhat nuzzled him). As bad as Cal might’ve been this year, the next few years are even more troubling. A recruiting coordinator might be needed…someone like….
You know you want him here too. Do what it takes Coach. Let’s start erasing that bitter taste.
Your thoughts on the coaches this year? Anyone you want to see go?
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