Roundtable On California Football Coaching Changes

Lots of coaching changes this year it seemed.  What are people's thoughts on the coaching changes?

To recap:

Out 
Andy Ludwig, offensive coordinator/QBs (San Diego State) 
Steve Marshall, offensive line (Colorado) 
In 
Jim Michalczik, offensive coordinator/O-line 
Marcus Arroyo, quarterbacks 
Out 
Kevin Daft, receivers 
In 
Eric Kiesau, receivers/passing game coordinator 
Out 
Al Simmons, secondary 
In 
Ashley Ambrose, secondary 

Avinash:  Here are some questions to focus the discussion.

1) Do you agree or disagree with these coaching changes? 
2) Do you believe the coaching hires will be an improvement?
3) How much of an impact will it have on next season's performance?
4) If Jeff Tedford is taking a more active role in offensive and quarterback coaching, do you agree or disagree with this move?

Kodiak:  

1) Do you agree or disagree with these coaching changes? 

Ludwig out.  Agree.  I didn't have a problem with him as a playcaller - contrary to the perception that all we did was throw screens, I saw a lot of diversity and creativity.  Gameplanning was generally sound, although we seemed to have issues if our designated package for a particular game was getting well-countered.  My concerns were with regards to developing our QBs and teaching the offense.  Either we were overly complicated with so many different sets/formations/plays, or we just weren't getting it done with regards to implementing them.  I felt our execution was too often beset by unforced errors.  I was especially disappointed with the lack of improvement for our QBs;  Riley got better, but to have our backups completely unprepared for Div-I ball is serious problem.  Maybe it's just personnel and not coaching, but it never felt like the coaching made the guys better or maximized what we had.  Ludwig previously had some success at Utah developing a young QB (Johnson) and scheming to beat Alabama, so maybe there's more going on behind the scenes than we know.  Even so, the offense and the QBs haven't looked the same since Tedford went more hands-off.

Marshall out.  AGREE.  This horse has been beaten to death, turned to pet food and glue, and now stars in many clever photoshop jobs.  Worst hire of the Tedford era and rivals Holmoe and Gilbertson for historic incompetence.

Michalczik in.  AGREE.  So, we're replacing a proven loser with a proven winner?  Yes, please.  He's exactly the type of coach we need to restore our Oline to competence and eventual dominance.  Reports that he wasn't a strong recruiter are overblown.  And with the new team/region approach to recruiting, the system is in place to provide all the help he needs.  Besides, his NFL experience should provide some more street cred with prospects.

Arroyo in.  Unknown.  Played the position (QB) and had some success developing young players.  Didn't have as much success calling plays.  If he were solely in charge of developing the QBs, this would be a "disagree."  However, I think we all expect Tedford to be the main guy while Arroyo plays the role of his capable assistant.


Kevin Daft out.  Agree.  Nice guy.  Worked hard.  Probably being groomed as a future gameplanner/playcaller.  But wasn't getting the job done.  WR play has been too inconsistent - whether it's hands, routes, or knowing how to read coverages to get open.  

Eric Kiseau in.  Agree.  Another proven position coach who has shown that he can develop players of all pedigrees;  from 5* guys (Djax, Hawkins) to walk-ons (Strang, Toler), and everyone in-between. (MacArthur, Lyman, Makonnen, Jordan)  Not so sure about the "passing game coordinator" aspect as he hasn't shown any particularly impressive results as a playcaller.  But, as part of an offensive committee, it's probably okay.

Al Simmons out.  Unsure, but leaning towards a disagree.  I thought our CB play was better overall under Simmons than with his predecessor.  Littlejohn had the benefit of having a senior Daymeion Hughes, but the other players were inconsistent.  Considering that we relied heavily on two CB's this year that had no prior starting experience (Anthony/Williams), I thought the secondary play wasn't bad.  Usually, two rookie corners is a recipe for getting lit up.  I suppose the complaint was that we were getting enough turnovers.  I'm not so sure that I'd blame the secondary play as much as I'd look to our glaring lack of a dominant pass-rusher the past couple of years.

Ashley Ambrose in.  Agree.  Regardless of whether releasing Simmons was the right move or not, bringing in a long-time NFL vet who is a strong recruiter is a nice move.  Ambrose did a good job with the corners at CU.  His own career was prolonged by smarts rather than just pure athleticism, so I'm hopeful that he'll be able to share that knowledge and instill proper technique.

 
2) Do you believe the coaching hires will be an improvement?

Coach M - Yes.
Coach Kiseau - Yes.
Coach Arroyo - Unknown.
Coach Ambrose - Unknown, but a hopeful yes.

 
3) How much of an impact will it have on next season's performance?

Because we're breaking in a new signal-caller, the play of the offensive line will have a huge impact on the success of our offense.  I would doubt that the quarterback's coach position will have much of an impact because he's solely in a support role.  Passing game/WR's might have a noticeable impact, but only if our QB can deliver the ball accurately without getting clobbered first.  Depth at CB is thin and we'll have new safeties, so the success/failure of the secondary coach will have a significant impact.  Ambrose will need to get the true frosh ready to contribute early.

 
4) If Jeff Tedford is taking a more active role in offensive and quarterback coaching, do you agree or disagree with this move?


I absolutely agree with this move.  It's his strong suit and it's what got him the head coaching job in the first place.  If he could hire a top-flight assistant, it might be different.  But, rather than be somewhat involved and not get the results you want, it's time to be committed and make it work.  I think he has enough strong personalities on the coaching staff to keep an eye on team chemistry, morale, and the overall pulse of the players.

 

TwistNHook:  

1) Do you agree or disagree with these coaching changes? 

I agree, especially with the change at offensive line.

 
2) Do you believe the coaching hires will be an improvement?

Yes, although I am not entirely certain how well we will do.  We have a difficult schedule in a new facility, having lost a lot of talent.
 
3) How much of an impact will it have on next season's performance?

Could it be worse?
 
4) If Jeff Tedford is taking a more active role in offensive and quarterback coaching, do you agree or disagree with this move?

I agree.  I think that our offense has struggled since he took a CEO role after 2007. 


LeonPowe:  I think without intimate knowledge of what's going on at practice - or even on the field, knowing who is at fault - players or coaches is difficult, but at the end of the day the job of the coaches is to put their players in positions to succeed.


Obviously last season was the worst of the Tedford era, and we did not live up to expectations in number of areas. So if Coach Tedford feels that in in order to right the ship, these are the changes that need to be made, then I'd trust his judgement here.

But most especially the offensive line, because the failures of the o line over the Marshall era were most visible - and we're bringing back a coach who presided over Tedfords best offensive lines. So, yes, I agree.

 

HydroTech:  

2) Do you believe the coaching hires will be an improvement?

I think the hiring of Coach Kiesau and Coach Michalczik will be huge improvements.  Those two coaches have proven records of developing talent from both highly regarded players and lower regarded players.  Seems to me that Tedford is going back to guys he knows will produce results.  


 
3) How much of an impact will it have on next season's performance?
4) If Jeff Tedford is taking a more active role in offensive and quarterback coaching, do you agree or disagree with this move?

If he is, then I think we can all agree with this.  Tedford is the single most important QB coach on the coaching roster.  For him to not take a heavy role in the development of the QBs would be a huge waste of his talent.  


Kodiak:  I think we also shouldn't overlook the potential impact of replacing Coach Krazinski with Coach Blasquez for strength and conditioning.  True or otherwise, there's been the perception that our guys have been getting pushed around on the field, or were wearing down the past couple of years.  The players really seem to like the new workouts.  If Coach Blasquez can help instill toughness and a winning attitude, that could be just as valuable as some of the changes in the position coaching.

Berkelium97:  Coach Blasquez might be one of this season's unsung heroes (assuming we do well).  As soon as he showed up players were raving about the intensity and productivity of their workouts.  I'm looking forward to the work he can do with the offensive linemen.  Blasquez and Michalczik should quickly be able to turn this unit from one of the worst in the conference to one of the best.

HydroTech:  What I find so surprising about the Blasquez change is that the players have seemingly noticed the difference so quickly.  Within a matter of days we were hearing tweets raving about how his workouts were much more intense than what the players were used to under Krasinski.  If these tweets have any truth to them, then I think we will see a significant improvement in the conditioning and athleticism of our players next year.  

TwistNHook:  Did you believe there were problems with strength and conditioning in previous teams?

Berkelium97:  We did have that unusual case of cramping against Oregon...

 

Avinash:  Very good point. That was probably the last straw for Tedford, seeing our Cal players not able to cope with all that Oregon speed. If only those Ducks wouldn't take advantage of that loophole for player substitutions, we still might have Coach K as our S&C coach right now.

Phil Knight is contributing to the unemployment problem in this country. 

LeonPowe:  In all seriousness, I never thought we were out conditioned or outpowered. It always felt like a matter if scheme or failure to execute - but if our players are saying they feel stronger, I guess they're the best judge of that

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