Is the matrix broken, my good friends? It's not just that that same cat keeps coming around or that we beat Oregon in basketball. It's more than when Cal fired Tedford last year, I had strong deja vu. Was it 2012.....or 2001? Both the hiring of Coach Tedford and hiring of Coach Dykes seemed so similar to me. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. So, I used all my fingers to write up all the different parallels between the Tedford hiring in Dec 2001 and the Dykes hiring in 2012.
1. Nowhere To Go But Up.
Both coaches are coming off an epically disastrous season. Tedford was taking over for Tom Holmoe, who resigned after a poor 1-10 season (0-8 in the Pac-10) in 2001. Cal football had hit rock bottom at that point. Not only was there the poor on-field performance, but also the specter of NCAA sanctions due to an academic fraud scandal involving two players. Eventually, Cal would have to vacate wins from the 1999 season and would be declared ineligible for postseason play in 2002, Tedford's first season.
Dykes is also taking over a Cal team that suffered a dismal season. Cal went a disappointing 3-9 in 2012 (2-7 Pac-12), the lowest victory total of the Tedford era and the most losses in a season since 2001. Though the 2012 Bears did not hit rock bottom, at least not to the same degree of ineptitude as the 2001 team, the 2012 season nonetheless had the feel of a truly bad football team. Cal yielded 50+ points in the final two games of the season, numbers that were not unusual for the 2001 team, which gave up 50 or more points three times. (The 2001 team also had games in which it yielded 44, 44, and 48 points.)
Cal is not facing an NCAA scandal as Dykes starts his tenure as coach. But he is dealing with an off-field mess of another kind left by his predecessor. Cal's academic APR has been in steady decline, with Cal ranked a dismal 94th in the latest APR rankings for FBS schools. The academic progress (or lack thereof) of Cal's football program was a factor in Tedford's ouster and Dykes faces an uphill climb to bring the Bears to respectability in that respect.
2. Offensive Minded Coach.
This has been somewhat lost in Cal's floundering offenses of the last 5 years, but Tedford was widely considered a top offensive mind and a developer of quarterbacks. Before becoming Cal's head coach, he was the offensive coordinator for Oregon, the Pac-10 champion in 2001. In Tedford's final season as Oregon OC in 2001, Oregon QB Joey Harrington was the Pac-10 offensive player of the year and was a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Sonny Dykes is similarly concerned an offense guru. His Louisiana Tech offense was prolific in 2012. The absolute lowest point total that LaTech put up was 28 and that was a bit of an outlier. In all other games, LaTech put up 41 or more. Their max was 70 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). They dropped 57 on a tough Texas A&M team (the same TAMU team that handed eventual national champion Alabama its only loss of the 2012 season).
Another similarity: both were chosen for the Cal HC job over defensive minded coaches (or so we think). Then USC (the non-Trojan USC) Defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong was a finalist for the job with Tedford in 2001. And it is widely speculated that Notre Dame DC Bob Diaco was a candidate for the job before Dykes was hired. In both situations, the Cal Athletic Director (Steve Gladstone in 2001, Sandy Barbour in 2012) saw a weak team with poor offense and said that to win in the Pac-10(12), you need an explosive offense more than a staunch D.
3. Staff Overhaul And The Gould "Controversy"
In 2001, Jeff Tedford cleaned house, choosing not to retain any of Holmoe's assistant coaches except one. That one guy was running backs coach Ron Gould. In the Cal blogosphere of the day, some (a minority) had an issue with that. I wish I could find you a link from an old thread on cyberbears.org (dot org, dot org, dot ORG), the predecessor to Bear Insider, but my search skills are apparently not sophisticated enough to unearth one. But believe me now and listen to me later, there was some sentiment that Tedford should not have retained anybody from the Holmoecaust.
With Dykes, the controversy was the opposite. People felt we should hire ONLY coaches from the Holmoecaust (OK, no, just kidding). The real controversy was that before we learned that Gould would become the head coach at UC-Davis, we learned that Dykes decided not to retain Gould. Dykes instead brought Pierre Ingram, Dykes' running backs coach at Louisiana Tech, to be his running backs coach at Cal. A few of you were less than pleased with the decision at that time (although they may have changed their mind since:)
Gould has to stay.
Adopted by Lars
Hunter Pence is looking at you
I know this is Dyke’s team, and I know he has the right to organize his staff, but I don’t see a point to release every coach. He interviewed all of them, right?
Were they all that bad that he decided not to keep not one of them? Makes me wonder if he had the decision made up already and what he said at the press conference was just a talk.
4. The Hole In The Resume That Gives Us Pause.
When Tedford was hired in December 2001, the hole in his resume was obvious: he had never been a head coach. The Cal job was his first shot at a head coaching gig. While Cal fans held out optimism that he would parlay the opportunity into success, there was still the obvious concern that he would be learning on the fly how to be a head coach.
With Dykes, we don't have to worry about head coaching experience. Dykes has that. But he has never actually head coached at a Power Six conference school. His head coaching experience has been at Louisiana Tech in the Western Athletic Conference. We've seen with the Utah jump to the Pac-12 that it is much easier to dominate in these mid-major conferences. In the MWC, they were going undefeated and trying to claim National Championships. As soon as Utah moved to the Pac-12, they have been mediocre. And the Mountain West Conference was much tougher than the WAC.
If you don't think that that is an apples to apples comparison, then consider Dan Hawkins. He coached at Boise State and then went to Colorado. His jump from mid-major to Power 6 went very poorly. At BSU, he went 53-11 in five seasons, but in five seasons at Colorado, he went 19-39. It is very similar situation here and went downhill fast. I do not state this because I think it is going to happen (and I hope it doesn't). Instead, I just am saying that this is another reflection of the concern many have about a WAC coach jumping to the Pac-12.
Additionally, both didn't really coach defense. Tedford was only the offensive coordinator and had never coached defense. Dykes was the head coach at LaTech, but nominally coached defense, apparently leaving it mostly to his Defensive Coordinator. Although Louisiana Tech did win nine games in 2012, the Bulldogs had the worst defense (statistically) in the FBS. They gave up over 6 yards per play and 500 yards per game.
So, for all the excitement in the hiring of both Coach Tedford in 2001 and Coach Dykes in 2012, there were still some major concerns.
5. The Wind Is An Oakland Raider.
In both coaching searches, a former Oakland Raider was involved. In 2001, Cal was looking at potentially hiring Art Shell:
The Daily Californian has learned that Cal officials have had preliminary talks with one NFL head coach, two of the league's top coordinators and an NFL Hall of Famer.
Art Shell, the first black head coach in NFL history, is "very" interested in the Cal head coaching job, according to Danny More, Shell's representative.
"If you're going to hire somebody to coach at Cal that has absolute name recognition in the Bay Area, the obvious choice is Art," More said yesterday.
In fact, Art Shell had previously had some experience at Cal:
More said that Shell spent time helping coach offensive linemen at Cal two decades ago when Joe Kapp coached the Bears and that Shell is not looking for the Cal job as a stepping stone to another one.
Now a Cincinnati Bengals assistant, Jackson said he would welcome a call from Berkeley.
Jackson, who led the Raiders to an 8-8 record in 2011, his only season as head coach in Oakland, believes Cal's potential has a high ceiling.
"I think they can be as good as they want to be," he said.
It makes sense. Oakland is but one town over from Berkeley and there is a lot of fanbase overlap between the Golden Bears and the Raiders. Bringing in a local guy would already jumpstart the Cal bandwagon a bit and even potentially draw in some Raiders fans who hadn't given Cal much thought before.
The 49ers and Stanford have had some exchanges before with Hall Of Famer Bill Walsh and lesser Harbaugh brother, Jim Harbaugh, coming and going. In both situations for Cal, it was not to be. But what could have been? Oski wearing eye patches? The student section being renamed the Blue Hole? Multiple stabbings all throughout Memorial Stadium? What could have been!
6. The Bitter, Bitter Taste Of Rejection.
In both situations, Cal had its eye on a big name only to find itself forever alone. In 2001, that man was Marvin Lewis. He was coaching D for the Ravens (and was the defensive coordinator for the first Ravens Super Bowl winning team) and had led noted obstructor of justice Ray Lewis to his first of two Superbowl rings. Lewis was red hot and the blue and gold wanted him. But he said no!
Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis told The Sun yesterday that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the vacant head coaching job at the University of California.
Lewis' decision came only hours before he was to board a cross-country flight for a two-day visit of the Berkeley campus.
This is more awkward than Twist asking girls to prom. In 2012, the man with absolutely no Cal plan was Chris Petersen of Boise State. It appears that he also turned Cal down:
A source close to Chris Petersen has revealed that he will not be the next head football coach of the California Golden Bears. Petersen has been reported to be at the top of Cal's wish list and after firing Jeff Tedford, the University of California reached out to Petersen.
This just gets worse and worse. Somebody hold me, it hurts so much. Too much rejection! But it is OK. In 2001, we ate a gallon of Ben & Jerry's, updated our LiveJournal, and called that Jeff guy that seemed so nice. It turned out well. Now, in 2012, we updated our Tumblr with the following GIFs:
And, then we called that Sonny guy who had been making eyes at us in History class. May it work out just as well (as long as just as well includes 2004-the first half of 2007, not including 2005). On second thought, may it work out even better. As in, the kind of better where Joe Kapp gets to drink tequila.
So, what do you think? Do you even remember the 2001 hiring or were you like 8 years old when that happened?