Andy Buh hot seat: Does the Cal defensive coordinator deserve this much blame?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Is firing Andy Buh a bad idea? Is firing Andy Buh a good idea? Please justify yourself rationally.

Leland Wong: I'm not big on the idea mid-season firing, barring some super terribad scandalous scandal or some nonsense like that. In most cases, I feel it disrupts the system and the players more than is gained, unless there is a problem that will be removed with all certainty. Buh is definitely underperforming, but there's no guarantee a replacement could come in and fix the defense in such little time.

I try to grade Buh on a curve because there is no doubt we've been ravaged by injuries and lack of depth cannot be blamed on a first-year coach. We're making some progress with every game, but we're still struggling with football fundamentals, like proper tackling technique and taking the correct angles in pursuit of the ball carrier.

We all saw Buh as a questionable hire. He was basically fired from Stanfurd based on his performance (his previous experience in the Pac-number), he was a linebacker coach immediately before we hired him, and he admits that he's only really familiar with one defensive style. Imagine if this were any other job in any other industry. A company hires an executive who was let go from his last position at that level, his previous job was at a lower level of management, and he's only really knowledgeable about one business strategy. It's the kind of hire that must perform brilliantly to prove he was worth the risk and Andy Buh hasn't proven that.

Berkelium97: Firing Andy Buh is a bad idea because we'd then go back to the same discussions we've been having about poor O-line play, lousy red zone offense, and issues at RB.  We've been talking about these same issues for years and I'm tired of discussing them and reading about them.

Seriously, though, I have no confidence in Buh as a defensive coordinator.  I recognize that the team has struggled with unprecedented injury issues.  That is not a good enough excuse.  The team regularly seems unprepared at the start of games.   Every single opponent has scored on its opening drive, with the longest drive spanning only 7 plays.  The Bears have been outscored 86-31 in first quarters.  Even more horrifying, we have given up more points (225) in the first five games of this season than we did during that disastrous five-game losing streak at the end of last season (212).

This is more than an injury issue.  These guys are not playing fundamentally sound football.  Players are consistently out of position, overpursuing, and/or taking bad angles.  When our DBs keep stride with opposing receivers, they have their hands all over them and frequently draw PI penalties.  Randy Stewart looks like he's preparing these guys to be future TSA agents.  We also seem to have great difficulty tackling players.  The defensive line, full of talented, highly acclaimed players, cannot seem to generate any pressure on opposing QBs.  I understand that we're playing many young players, but these issues look less like inexperience and more like bad coaching.

I wouldn't fire him midseason, but I would strongly consider replacing him after the season.

Sam Fielder: I think it is a bad idea. Midseason coaching changes, especially in the case of a first year coach, don't seem like a good idea to me. Not insignificantly, Cal's defense has been ravaged by injuries, which doesn't explain the poor tackling, bad pursuit angles, and dumb penalties, but I do think it should allow for at least one full season. The transition back to 4-3 has to be factored in as well, so I just don't see how firing Buh fixes any of that. Plus, who exactly is going to come in and take over mid-season? It isn't like Nick Saban is out there looking for a job, so if a change needs to be made, which it might, I think it needs to come after the season.

I'd prefer to wait it out and see if the young players grow some, if the inexperience begins to wear off as players get more playing time, and if the major issues like tackling, pursuit angles, and penalties improve.

atomsareenough: Hiring him may have been a bad idea, and firing him may well be a good idea at some point. That point isn't now though. At this point he's literally running out of players, so I don't know that even if we magically replaced him with Kirby Smart tomorrow, our results would noticeably improve over the next few weeks over Buh. Look, I certainly haven't been impressed with his work so far, but at the same time he's been dealt a pretty lousy hand. At this point, I'm just going to look for any signs of improvement from the players we have left and maybe some guys returning to health, and we'll see where we are at the end of the year. We're not in contention for much of anything right now, and firing Buh wouldn't help anything. We're not going to get anyone obviously better as DC mid-season, and firing someone after 5 games with the mitigating circumstances we've had with injuries isn't the sort of thing that will attract talent, so we might as well treat Buh as a sunk cost at least for this season.

Vlad Belo: If the question is whether to fire Buh midseason, I don't think it's a good idea. Judge him on a body of work for the entire season. Buh has been placed in an unenviable position of having almost none of the guys he expected to have. As bad as the defense has played, I don't think you can lay all the blame upon Buh as a COORDINATOR, from an X's and O's standpoint. The Cal D has suffered from errors of execution even more (IMO) than errors in game planning or scheme. Does that fall on coaching? Absolutely. But nor is that all on Buh.

Evaluate Buh after an entire season.

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