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Cal Football: Q+A About New Cal Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh

We reached out to Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal about recent Cal hire and former Nevada Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh and he was kind enough to answer our questions about Andy's time at Nevada. Thanks to Chris for the great answers and taking the time to gives them to us!


1) Statistically, it looked like Andy Buh improved the Nevada D during his tenure. As fans, what is your feeling with regards to his impact on the defense?

Chris Murray: Coach Buh's defenses were markedly better than the defenses put forward by his predecessor (Nigel Burton), but it is important to note that the talent and experience level from those two teams were vastly different. Burton brought in a ton of talent but those guys were freshmen and sophomores playing for him. Under Buh, those same players were juniors and seniors. On Buh's 2010 defense, the Wolf Pack had eight players who at least reached NFL camps, so it was a talented group. Buh clearly had a positive impact, but it's important to note his players were much more prepared in 2010 and 2011 than they were in 2008 and 2009 when they were just getting their feet wet before his arrival.

2) How would you characterize Buh's style? Aggressive? Bend but don't break?

Chris Murray: It's a solid style. Buh's teams didn't blitz a lot at Nevada. With the Wolf Pack, his units weren't great, but they were average (which was a big step forward since Nevada's defenses are usually below average). Bend but don't break is probably a good description of his units at Nevada.

3) From a scheme standpoint, do you feel like Buh did a good job of maximizing his available talent?

Chris Murray: Yes and no. Buh did a great job of using Dontay Moch in 2010. Moch, a third-round draft pick by the Bengals, was an undersized defensive end at Nevada and Buh did a good job of using him in a variety of situations to enable him to get to the quarterback. In 2011, his two best players were linebackers (James-Michael Johnson and Brandon M. Marshall, who were both draft), but rarely did these players blitz. I would have liked to see a little more of a gambling, big-play style in 2011.

4) How was Buh about making in-game and halftime adjustments?

Chris Murray: Buh is a good tactician. He was good with in-game and halftime adjustments. The 2010 Boise State game is a good example. The Wolf Pack allowed 24 points in the first half and just seven in the second half.

5) Did you feel like Buh did a good job game planning against the opposition's strengths?

Chris Murray: The philosophy at Nevada was basically to "Do what we do well" and not really worry about the opposition. That's not to say that Buh didn't game plan well, but the focus was on keeping the game plan simple and just executing your offense.

The Wolf Pack Football Insider - Andy Buh (via WolfPackAthletics)

6) Is there anything about Buh's defenses that always made you cringe? Any glaring weaknesses you can point to?

Chris Murray: I would have liked to see more blitzes that fall into zone packages. In 2010, Nevada did a solid job of disguising blitzes and providing pressure from different areas. In 2011, the Wolf Pack tried to blitz Oregon in the season opener and looked lost. After that, it seemed like Nevada didn't really blitz anymore as if it was scared that a repeat of the Oregon game would occur.

7) How was Buh as a recruiter? Did he do a good job identifying and developing talent?

Chris Murray: Buh was here for such a short period (two years) that he didn't really leave much of a recruiting footprint. He was employed by Nevada to go down to Texas and get some recruiting inroads in that prospect-rich state, but he didn't have any huge gets at Nevada.

8) Does he favor zone or man coverage? Or, does he like to mix it up?

Chris Murray: He mixes it up, but Buh played more zone than his predecessor Nigel Burton, who often left his cornerbacks on islands. Buh tried to give his corners a little more help than Burton, which was a good move.

9) Does he believe in covering the tight end?

Chris Murray: Yes.

10) Why did Buh leave a DC position at Nevada for a position coach gig at Wisconsin?

Chris Murray: Coach Buh didn't return my calls after leaving Nevada so I never got to ask him that question. Piecing things together, it appeared that there was somewhat of a conflict with coach Chris Ault. Coach Ault is a hard man to work for, especially if you're a defensive coach. He's very demanding and sometimes he wears out other coaches. In the case of Buh, I believe this is basically what happened. Buh did get a nice raise at Wisconsin, but Ault said the move wasn't about money. He said Buh thought it was best for his professional development, which turns out might have been accurate since he landed a coordinator job at the Pac-12 level.