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Art Kaufman, Cal defensive coordinator candidate

Marvin Sanders is also being courted.

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Cal defensive coordinator candidates: Ron English Greg Robinson Todd Orlando

Before Cal announces their defensive coordinator (which can come at ANY MINUTE, says someone), we missed out on a few coaching rumors. One of them involves former Cincinnati defensive coordinator Art Kaufman.

Cal: Among the coaches on the Sonny Dykes' short list are former Cincinnati defensive coordinator Art Kaufman and former Nebraska defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders, a source tells CoachingSearch. Sanders is currently the head coach at Loyola HS in Los Angeles.

I don't think Sanders is being considered as anything other than a defensive back coach, so let's focus on Kaufman. Since the decision might be coming at any moment, here's a quick write up!


1983-1986: Northwestern State (linebackers coach)
1987: Northwestern State (defensive coordinator & linebackers coach)
1988-1992: Ole Miss (outside linebackers & defensive ends coach)
1993-1994: Louisiana Tech (defensive coordinator & linebackers coach)
1995-2000: Ole Miss (defensive coordinator & linebackers coach)
2001-2002: Arkansas Tech (defensive coordinator & linebackers coach)
2003-2004: East Carolina (defensive coordinator & linebackers coach)
2005-2007: Middle Tennessee State (linebackers coach)
2008: Southern Miss (defensive line & special teams coach)
2009-2010: North Carolina (linebackers coach)
2011: North Carolina (defensive coordinator & linebackers coach)
2012: Texas Tech (defensive coordinator)
2013: Cincinnati (defensive coordinator)

So in case we wanted a coach who needed to take on two responsibilities as both defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, there we go. (NOTE: I doubt Andy Buh would stick around if this was the choice, and I'm not sure if he's sticking around anyway.)

Film study

From Cincy's blog Down the Drive.

This is what Tuberville's philosophy is.

We are more gap control and we're vertical. Attack the line of scrimmage. These kids are loving it. We want you that way; we want you to hit the guy in the mouth, play aggressive. Took them about a week to be keying the ball, moving.

Take a look at what Texas Tech's 2012 defense did against Baylor's offense.

Advanced stats

Down The Drive did some charting of blitzes mid-season and how Kaufman has adjusted through the season. At the beginning he played a lot more base, but after awhile he started sending the pressure (and did so quite well).


Note: The black line is the number of blitzes in a given game, the red line is the total of the defenses sacks and tackles for loss in the same game.


The Bearcats aren't just blitzing more, they are blitzing better and their success rate* is much, much higher. Through the Miami game UC had successful outcomes on 37 per cent of the plays where they sent pressure. In the three games since then the Cats have had a success rate of 53 per cent on blitzes, which is a huge jump.

*Success Rate is exactly what it sounds like. The rate at which a defense gets a successful outcome from a play, with a "successful" play being one that ends with zero yards gained for the offense, be it a stuffed run, or an incomplete pass or yards lost for the offense via sack or rush.

Cincinnati seems to struggle with defensive personnel this season, which forced a bit more blitzing than Kaufman was probably comfortable with putting out on the field (he'd much rather rush four and drop everyone else into coverage). I wonder what philosophy Kaufman would adopt if he was put in charge of Cal's defense.

Inside the numbers

Here's what Berkelium has to say about the coaching acumen of Kaufman.

He made big strides at Texas Tech, but his solid defenses at UNC and Cincy were inherited. And his resume has that Steve Marshall-eqsue oddity of never staying at one place more than a few years.

Kaufman at Cincy in 2013
21.0 ppg (18.5 ppg, 2012)
315.6 ypg (388.1 ypg, 2012)
52.94% red zone TDs allowed (42.5, 2012)
33.15% third down conversions allowed (38.76%, 2012)

Kaufman at Texas Tech in 2012
31.8 ppg (39.3 ppg, 2011)
367.3 ypg (485.6 ypg, 2011)
62.96% red zone TDs (72.88%, 2011)
40.43% third down conversions (47.09%, 2011)

Kaufman at UNC in 2011
24.8ppg (23.2ppg, 2010)
365.2 ypg (338.5 ypg, 2010)
47.83% red zone TDs (45.1%, 2010)
44.85% 3rd down conversions (39.25%, 2010)

Recruiting: Well there are some not-so-encouraging quotes here. If you want to wonder why Tuberville let go of Kaufman...

"We’re going in another direction on coaching and recruiting"

"The defense played well. This is more about recruiting. I always start with recruiting."

Now the big knock on Pendergast was his inability to recruit effectively, but he made up for that by producing some top defenses during his first two years at Cal. But it's also pretty important to sell prospects on your defense, or otherwise it becomes much more difficult to implement any sort of strategy.


Kaufman was coaching under Tommy Tuberville, and anyone who is familiar with Tuberville-type teams is that he generally is the coach who implements his own philosophy on defense. So it's hard to see if his recent success is tied right into Tuberville's or not.

Also, there are concerns about his familiarity with the Pac-12. It's impressive to shut down passing games in the Big 12, and there's clearly a lot of that to worry about against  Pac-12 at schools like Washington State and Oregon State. But is he ready to handle the Oregons and the Stanfurds of the world?

That being said, he's clearly a very capable candidate with strong coaching chops. What do you think of Kaufman?