FanPost

There is much snickering in UC Eugene tonight

JTLight was so kind as to write up a FanPost on new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig.  Ludwig served as the OC for UC Eugene after Tedford from 2002- 2004. 

So, you guys got Andy Ludwig! Have some fun with that! I hope that Best can survive 2 games after running it up the middle 30 times a game.

OK, that probably won't happen, but in all seriousness, Andy Ludwig is the worst offensive coordinator of the Mike Bellotti era, and there have been a few. We had Al Borges for a few years, Jeff Tedford, Gary Crowton, and now, Chip Kelly. One thing you need to know about Mike Bellotti is that he gives his coordinators A TON of responsibility. In fact, I think Tedford is trying to emulate Bellotti now with how he's moving towards general management, away from calling plays, etc. Mike Bellotti has been doing that for years. It has given all his offensive coordinators a chance to shine, and some have, very brightly. And this is how Ludwig drew the ire of Oregon fans.

Before getting into Ludwig more, let's dispell some myths.

Oregon fans really despise Ludwig. His time at Oregon was terrible. But he could have improved as a coach and playcaller over the past few years. This isn't written on his time at Utah, but at Oregon. I hope for your sake he learned from his Oregon experience.

Next, you cannot believe what you hear from the likes of Ted Miller, who gives us this gem:

While Ludwig struggled a bit trying to set up a spread-option offense at Oregon -- per orders from head coach Mike Bellotti -- he has a good reputation working with quarterbacks, which is exactly what Cal needs.

First of all, Ludwig NEVER ran ANY sort of spread offense. He was pushed out/resigned in 2004-05 because his offenses were getting worse, and Bellotti wanted to move to a spread system. Ludwig resigned, and Gary Crowton (now at LSU) was hired.

Second, I don't know what "reputation" for working with QBs Miller is talking about. Do you remember Jason Fife? I doubt it, though he was on the cover of SI a few years ago after Oregon knocked off UM in 2003. But for us, he was somewhere north of Ayoob. He was never Ayoob terrible, but he was not good. He fell apart in 2002, and helped lead us to 6 straight defeats to end the season (oh yeah, the Oregon late game slide started with Ludwig at the helm). Ludwig also coached Kellen Clemens for 3 years (through Clemens junior year). Clemens regressed from his sophmore to junior year, when he should have improved, and only improved when the spread came in his senior year. At no point at his time at Oregon did Ludwig have any noticable positive impact on QB play.

But where he really got to Oregon fans was playcalling. Now, yes, we were used to Jeff Tedford, who had led Oregon to some amazing creativity, from the throwback to Joey in the Holiday Bowl to effective use of the tight ends and fullbacks. This seemed to end instantly. To me, there was a drive that summed this up. Oregon was playing ASU in 2004 and was already 1-2 after an embarassing loss to Indiana and then a loss at Oklahoma, and were opening conference play. Down in the 3rd quarter by two scores, this happened:

 

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This drive was 9 minutes long, and the game was soon out of reach. This drive was uninspired, plodding, and painful. This was the essence of Andy Ludwig at Oregon. Every yard was scoring drive was tough, nothing came easy.

And the stats bear this out. In Ludwig's years, while total offense went up (though never cracking 400 yards per game), the ppg went down. It started at 32.1, then dropped to 27.4 and 25.6. The next year, with the spread being implemented, the offensive production (with almost all the same players) went up to 34.5 ppg and total offense of 438 per game.

Ludwig's failures at offense at Oregon have little to do with flash, as some commenters have suggested. It was simply that his offenses couldn't score. And under Bellotti, for Oregon teams to be successful, this was a necessity, because defenses at Oregon are ususally rather average. In fact, those 3 years were our worst because our offenses would fall apart for long stretches. While we had defensive deficiencies those years as well, the offense was known to be the strength of the team, and failed time after time. In my mind, offensive play led to the late season failures in 2002 and 2004.

Now, what does this mean for Cal? I don't know, Ludwig is 5 years removed from his time at Oregon. His offenses at Utah have seemed competent, though I wasn't real impressed by them for most of the year.

And honestly, he could be much better. But my experiences have been scarring, and I'd be wary, especially with QB and WR development being essential for success next year.

The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.

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