TwistNHook: Well, it's official, Art Kaufman will be our new DC. What are your thoughts on this hire here?
Nick Kranz: He's going to play 4 men on the line and 7 in the secondary so that we can call his defense the AK 47, right? GUN PUNS
Nam Le: Am already gathering an arsenal full of Art-related puns.
Berkelium97: If his defense is as bad as Buh's (i.e., nonexistent) I'm going to start calling him Art Vandelay.
Vlad Belo: Or Andy Kaufman
Berkelium97: Kaufman's addition to the staff gives me more optimism heading into next season. He had great defenses at Cincinnati and North Carolina, although he inherited great defenses there. More important to us, he showed that in a single season he could turn Texas Tech's defense from one of the worst in the nation to a respectable unit. That's a good accomplishment considering the variety of potent offenses in the conference. While his defenses at Texas Tech were not dominant against conference foes, they often kept the game close enough for the team to be in a position to win. With the type of offense Dykes hopes to run at Cal, that is exactly what we need.
I'd like to know a little more about why Tuberville let him go. Was his recruiting really bad enough to warrant replacing the coordinator of one of the nation's best defenses? Or was there something else...? He's also an unusually itinerant coach: this is his 8th stint in the past 15 years. His accomplishments on the field make these concerns mere afterthoughts, but they are nonetheless questions worth keeping in mind.
Leland Wong: I'm not in love with the thought of staying with the 4-3 against the Pac-12 offenses, but if that's what Kaufman thinks is best, then so be it. More importantly, his two nominations for the Broyles Award (for the top assistant coach) and his ability to quickly turn-around defenses at Cincinnati and Texas Tech give me some hope that we may see some defensive improvement in 2014. On the other hand, this may just be the eternal off-season hope of every Cal fan.
Scott Chong: Before Cal fans everywhere panic because Kaufman plays a 4-3, let's take a step back from the ledge.
Both of the teams in the national title game played 4-2-5 as their base. Michigan State had the top defense in the country which included wins over a power team (Furd), and a spread team. (Ohio State) Amazing how they did that with the lowly 4-3 playing cover 4. (Which was also the base D that Cal installed in the spring last year)
4-3 vs. 3-4 is a bit outdated and oversimplified. There are so many different offenses out there that most teams have hybrid or multiple looks to their base.
Kaufman has already said as much.
"We're very multiple because of all the offenses you see, from empty sets to three-back sets, and you've got to be able to adjust to that.
The ability to play zone coverages, blitz, to be able to go from nickel to dime to big personnel. And it's got to be something that's flexible, and that's the one thing that within our system we've developed through the years."
Personally, I think having the right personnel for your scheme matters more than the scheme itself. And along with that, the ability to teach your guys to execute their assignments without hesitation or uncertainty. With regards to last season, I had more of a concern with how players were coached up and developed than the schemes themselves.
The jury is still out on our personnel. We have a lot of question marks throughout the lineup because we'll be relying on youngsters to improve or guys to make it back from injury.
But Kaufman's ability to improve defenses in a short time frame suggests that he's a good communicator and teacher. That works for me.
LeonPowe: What Scott said: players and practice matter more than scheme.
Vlad Belo: This is a good hire. Time will tell if it's a home run hire or just a bunt, but I don't think a reasonable Cal fan can look at this and say that Coach Dykes didn't deliver a proven coordinator. Kaufman is a veteran coach with a wealth of coordinator experience. Not only that, he has been successful. He had even been successful turning bad defenses into good ones in a short period of time. That is encouraging because we were about as bad as could be last season on defense.
This is just one step in the journey to recovery as a program. But it's a good start. As for what Kaufman will run schematically, I don't really care right now. He has proven he knows what he is doing. So let him do his thing.
Golden Bears, what are your thoughts on the Kaufman hire? Let us know in the comments below!