With Ron Gould being let go, we should talk about our memories of Gould and his running backs with Cal.
What are your favorite memories either of Gould or his unending stable of running backs?
Kodiak: I used to love the fumble and sit rule. It really emphasized accountability and sent a message that the most talented players were still held to the same high standards. That's one of the things I was sad to see go by the wayside over the past few years. But back to dwelling on the positives...
Justin Forsett is perhaps my favorite embodiment of the perfect Ron Gould back. Sure, I appreciated JJ's amazing burst, Marshawn's Beast Mode, Jahvid's ridiculous speed, and Vereen's balance. I liked seeing Isi deck blitzes twice his size, or see how CJ improved from a backup to a bonafide starter.
But what made Justin Forsett special is that hard work plus fantastic coaching developed every ounce of talent he had into a legitimate NFL player. He was a complete back in every sense of the word; running, receiving, and blocking. There is no doubt in my mind that Forsett wouldn't have made it without Gould's tutelage. That's the sign of a great coach.
TwistNHook: Marshawn is my favorite Cal player of all time (and by extension my favorite football player and athlete of all time). So, when you are talking about the coach who helped develop Marshawn into what he is today, you are talking about an important figure in my Cal fandom.
Yet, oddly, I don't feel quite that bad about him not returning. I think he would be great, but I also think that Dykes deserve the opportunity to bring in his own guys. I hear rumors that Gould may become the head coach over at UC Davis and that is great. Keep him in the UC family, right?
Let's look at some rushing stats from our great players under Gould:
Lynch's Career Rushing Stats
Forsett's Career Rushing Stats
Igber's Career Statistics
Year Att Yds Avg TD Long 1999 148 694 4.7 2 55 2000 195 901 4.6 5 80 2001 94 399 4.2 2 39 Totals 437 1994 4.6 9 80
RUSHING G Att Yds TD Lg Avg/C Avg/G 2007................ 10 29 221 2 64 7.6 22.1 2008................ 12 194 1580 15 86 8.1 131.7 2009................ 9 141 867 12 93 6.1 96.3 TOTAL............... 31 364 2668 29 93 7.3 86.1
Those are just some of the players whose career stats were easy to C+P off of their official Cal bios. It is not a full array of all the great young men that Gould helped mold into The Next Great Running Back At Running Back U. I hope that Bigelow, Lasco, and others can carry on these great lineage under the new administration.
unclesam22: I'm sad to see Gould go, but like everyone else, I understand that it's part of how it goes. I thought he might have a chance to stay given his track record of success, but maybe it is time for a chance.
To me, what stood out was that there just never seemed to be much of a drop off from one year to the next. I remember thinking that our RB would be terrible after Arrington left and obviously Lynch made me consider not thinking anymore. And so it went. Just when you thought the stable was empty, the next guy would step up, whether heralded or not. So like everyone else, I think I'll remember Gould as the guy that really kept the line going and has to bear much responsibility for making all of the RBs into stars. Tedford had the reputation as the QB guru, but Gould was the RB Whisperer.
Avinash Kunnath: Ron Gould put six straight running backs in the NFL. One special back who's among the candidates for best in the NFL (Marshawn), another one who had the potential to be special (Jahvid), two who are part of solid playoff rotations (Shane and Justin), and two more who had solid, satisfying moments (Echemandu & Arrington).
Six straight running backs in the NFL. Most people don't have eight great days at their job. Gould had eight great years where his running backs were second to none in the Pac-12.
Those running backs were the engine that propped up our average to mediocre quarterback play and kept Cal winning at a near eight game clip every season. JJ and Marshawn torched the conference in 2004; Marshawn and Justin did a lot of the same in 2005. In 2006 it was mostly Marshawn and Forsett running things down in garbage time. In 2008 the offense was pretty much handing Jahvid the ball (and Shane a couple of times too) and letting them do things. In 2009 Jahvid proved he was feature back material before Shane did plenty of his own heavy lifting. It's just a ridiculous stretch of football excellence that most of us took for granted.
Ron Gould was Tosh Lupoi without the baggage and the scumbaggery. Here is a list of players Gould recruited to Cal outside of the running backs:
And I'm missing all the guys he directly recruited before 2006. Gould found high quality Bears that took the mantle and made Cal what they were for the majority of the Tedford era.
Ron Gould was the master mentor. Five points of pressure. Secure the football, keep that ball pressed between your shoulder and the side of your body away positioned away from the defender. Fumble, and you were riding pine. He instilled discipline in his unit that was constantly lacking in too many other groups on this team.
Ron Gould's running backs were the pride and joy of California Golden Bear football. They sustained excellence and gave us pride in being Bears. I'll be rooting for him to do great at Davis.
I have never had one bad thing to say about Ron Gould. And I doubt I ever will.
JahvidKnowsBest: Although I am sad to see Gould go, I understand where Dykes is coming from. I can see how he would want a clean slate before trying to rebuild this program. That being said, is there a better running backs coach in the country than Gould? He was able to continuously give us some of the best running back recruits in the country-the list of names goes on and on. Lynch, Forsett, Best, Arrington, to name a few.
Last season, I admittedly would have liked to see the ball in the hands of Bigelow a bit more, and I would have liked to see more singularity at running back instead of splitting carries between many guys. I also wonder if Dykes didn't want to keep Gould on because he didn't think Gould was good at coaching running backs in the spread offense. Running the ball from a spread formation like Oregon or Arizona does is an entirely different game than running the ball in the prostyle offense like USC or Stanford.
Anyways, I really hope he is given that Davis head coaching gig, I think he would do a great job there as they are a strong up and coming program.
OhioBear: As much as I believe (and am firmly on board with the concept) that Coach Dykes has the right to choose whom will be on his coaching staff, including the running backs coach, I am at the same time sorry to see Coach Gould go. He was a fixture on the Cal football coaching staff and was our most consistently good assistant coach over the last decade. It seemed that you could count on Coach Gould to get the best out of our running backs unit. For the most part, we had nothing to worry about at that position for the last 11 years. Each of Cal's #1 running backs from the 2003 to 2010 seasons was drafted into the NFL: Echemandu (2003, 7th round pick in '04 draft), Arrington (2004, 2nd round pick in '05 draft), Lynch (2005-2006, 1st round pick in '07 draft), Forsett (2007, 7th round pick in '08 draft), Best (2008-2009, 1st round pick in '10 draft), and Vereen (2009-2010, 2nd round pick in '11 draft). That's quite a parade of running backs from Cal to the NFL and Gould deserves some credit for that.
Gould's track record of developing running backs is probably a reason that Cal fans were so frustrated by the 2012 season. With the trio of Isi Sofele, C.J. Anderson, and Brendan Bigelow, there was enough talent there for us to expect more than what we got out of the running game. Sure, the offensive line might have had something to do with the struggles, and it is at least a debatable question whether Cal should have gotten the ball into Bigelow's hands more. But as we reflect upon Gould's time at Cal, I prefer to look at what he did for the 15 years before 2012, particularly as part of Coach Tedford's staff. Gould was a valuable member of the coaching staff and there was a hardly anything we could second guess him about. He will be missed.
I am so happy for him that it appears he will get a head coaching gig at UC-Davis. With Gould at the helm, rooting for the Aggies will be easy!
LeonPowe: I don't have to re-list all of Coach Gould's accomplishments. That's what waiting until the end to go gets me - so I'll just talk about my reaction. Unlike everyone else, I am glad that Coach Gould is getting his opportunity to be a head coach - instead of continuing to be our running back coach. Sure I would've liked for him to stay, but honestly, I think its not a terrible thing to make a complete break with Tedford's staff - no matter how excellent a Coach one might be - this shows our players that its a new day and a new regime and there's no holdover. I am 100% fine with this decision and I hope UC Davis gets themselves and excellent Head Coach and they win lots and lots and lots of games.
Berkelium97: What I found most impressive, particularly during the second half of his tenure, was his ability to turn the next guy into a solid starter. Heading into the 2011 season many of us were concerned about who would fill in as starter behind Shane Vereen. Vereen was a workhorse, so we did not see much of Sofele in 2010. The transition was nearly seamless: Sofele was a solid, reliable back who ended up putting up over 1300 yards. Despite his diminutive stature, he proved to be a solid all-around back, from pass protection to durability. He kept improving as the season progressed too, particularly his vision and patience. Of all the RBs Gould developed during his time at Cal, the development of Sofele was the most impressive to me.
No matter what our concern was when replacing a starter, Gould's backs always picked up where their impressive predecessors left off. Despite concerns about Best's fumbling and ability to run 20+ times per game, he proved to be a solid starter in 2008 and 2009. Forsett was a workhorse after finally getting his shot to lead the RBs in 2007 after Marshawn's departure. Every time we had a new starter, he hit the ground running.
The tremendous disappointment in losing Gould is softened by the fact that he'll be coaching up the road at UC Davis. I'm glad to see him get that opportunity and I look forward to seeing what he can do with the Aggies.