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Who is Steve Marshall? A CGB Investigation!



Who is Steve Marshall, and why does he look like he wishes I'd stop breathing?

Our discussion of our offensive line from yesterday wouldn't be complete without talking about our new offensive line head coach. We were all concerned in losing Coach M this offseason. He was a valuable part of Cal's offensive foundation, and he will be very missed.

With hardhitting Steve Marshall from the Browns taking over though, we should hopefully still see a return to the norm for hard hitting Cal offensive lines. Ohio Bear had some info on Marshall's most recent stint with the Browns at the time of his hiring.

The Browns were 26th in the league in rushing at 100.3 ypg. (BTW, the NFC Champion Cardinals were dead last at 73.6 ypg.) But the Browns also had the 9th fewest rushing attempts in the NFL this season — that’s what a 4-12 season will do to you, I guess.

In 2007, the Browns were 10th in the league in rushing, when Jamal Lewis had a much better year than he had this year.

dballisloose added really good perspective on how Marshall will impact the younger ones in the O-Line.

In this day and age when all the players seem to respond to coaches with street cred and who can relate to them and their ambitions, I think Marshall is a good choice; he’s coached in the NFL which gives him some cred with the players, and he’s coached a lot of younger guys in particular. And, his selection helped in some way with recruiting this current class of refrigerator-sized OL like Hasiak and Brazinski…I think both of them made reference to the new OL coach in their interviews.

How concerned are you guys with moving from Coach M to Steve Marshall? What do you think will be the positives and what will be the negatives?

Some more info on Steve Marshall from his stint with the Texans (you know that time when David Carr was sacked 76 times? Yeah....) after the jump.

Now, the biggest problem with trying to figure out what type of coach Marshall is his that his tenures with his former teams are so short. The longest time he's spent with any team is six years with Virginia Tech back in the 80s. His most recent stint with the Browns was two seasons long.

I had a talk with the Texans SBN blog, Battle Red Blog, about Marshall's time as Houston's assistant O-line and then O-line head coach. It was his longest stint with any team in the NFL.

1) Steve Marshall might be well-qualified with his experience, but it's noticeable that with a Jeff Tedford coached pupil under his stead in Houston, his offensive line gave up over 200 sacks to David Carr. How good is he in teaching his o-linemen to pass protect?
BRB: Don't read too much into that abysmal sack total. The Texans' offensive line, though much maligned, was not given any help by the fact that David Carr had a penchant for assuming the fetal position anytime a defender was within five yards of him. And not to broach what could be a sore subject, but Tedford QBs haven't exactly lit it up in the NFL.
The Texans weren't a very good team in pass protection under the tenure of Marshall and Joe Pendry, but they showed some improvement. It's tough to say whether their shortcomings were more a result of the coaching or Charley Casserly's horrible personnel acquisitions. Chicken-egg.
2) Marshall took over as an assistant line coach with Houston during the expansion season. How much do you guys feel that starting with a roster of young draft picks and veterans cobbled together might have hindered Marshall and the original O-line coach (don't know his name?) from developing the players they had in place to being a better unit?
BRB: As I mentioned above, I think it's definitely a factor. For example, despite being "drafted" to hold down left tackle for the next several years, Tony Boselli never played a snap. Other high-dollar veteran acquisitions like Todd Wade were complete busts. Rookies drafted to make a difference, like Seth Wand, never lived up to the hype. It's not like Marshall had any voice in who the Texans brought in; that's squarely on the shoulders of Casserly, who loves to blame all the terrible signings on Dom Capers. Marshall had to make due with a bad lot.
3) What were his strengths and weaknesses as an O-line coach, and how do you think those traits translate to the college level?

BRB: I honestly can't answer that. Very little was ever written or publicized about Marshall during his time in Houston, and I wasn't privy to the inner workings of the team. All I know is that I'm digging our new offensive line coach (Alex Gibbs) a whole lot more than I ever did his predecessors.

Four years there, and even the Texans don't know what type of a coach he really was. The intrigue thickens.

Finally, a last word from the football expert among us, The Bear Will Not Quit, who left his first thoughts on the hiring.

Finally, the guy's picture alone speaks volumes. Um, perhaps don't take any more pictures of Marshall unless you're behind some plexiglass. The man clearly has the sense of humor of a rabid dog. Cal's o-line needs a coach like that. It's not enough to be aggressive and intense as an o-lineman. You need to be petty and bitter. It's more than just beating your man. You need to take some dark pleasure in taking a guy out with a vicious hit, maybe stepping on a hand here or there, or blindsiding a linebacker. The Cal line had that in 2003-2005 with ROC, Merz, Robertson, etc, but since then, other than Mack relishing pushing a guy into the ground and then laying on the fatty and driving his legs, I have seen that attitude diminish a bit among the rest of the linemen. Got a feeling Marshall will restore some of that.

After all of this investigating...we're down to analyzing his picture. Speculation abounds with this mysterious man giving me a stare reserved for someone who's hitting on his daughter.

It appears Coach Marshall will remain an enigmatic figure to everyone looking from the outside-in. At least until the games kick off, that is.