The revolving Cal football coaching door has ended its tilt for the 2015 offseason. Cal has replaced the empty spot among Cal assistants with a very experienced defensive face.
Cal has hired John Lovett to help coach the secondary as a cornerbacks coach, with Greg Burns focusing primarily now on safeties. It'll be curious to see how much of an impact Lovett will have with only fall camp to prep the cornerbacks, but with many new arrivals to the depth chart only coming in this year, there might not be too much of an adjustment period to his coaching style.
Lovett is coming off two years with Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was demoted to scout duty after two last place and next-to-last place finishes in the NFL in pass defense. He knows Art Kaufman through a year of coaching together at Texas Tech, and he's also been a defensive coordinator at multiple stops, including Auburn, Cincinnati, Miami (FL), and Clemson over the past two decades.
As for outside wide receivers (the position vacated when Pierre Ingram had to leave the program), Sonny Dykes has taken over direct control of the position, much like Tony Franklin has done with the running backs. Dykes has had plenty experience at coaching wide receivers--he coached the position at Kentucky under Hal Mumme and at Texas Tech under Mike Leach for over half a decade. However, I imagine that while Dykes will do some direct coaching, this move is probably happening due to the relative strength and experience of the wide receiver position. I also imagine Burl Toler (offensive assistant and active recruiter after the Ingram debacle) and Jacob Peeler (inside receivers coach) to play active roles in coaching up receivers.
I imagine there will be plenty of fundamental shifts this upcoming offseason, but for now, what do you think of this hire?
More from the official CalBears press release (part of it below).
“We are thrilled to be able to add someone with John’s level of experience and expertise to our coaching staff,” head coach Sonny Dykes said. “He is a proven coach who has had success at the highest level of football. His addition to our staff certainly makes us better as a unit.”
“I’m excited to be joining a Cal program on the rise and a tremendous coaching staff led by Sonny Dykes,” Lovett said. “I’m also looking forward to working with Art Kaufman again. We have worked well together in the past and it’s exciting to renew our relationship.”
Lovett’s hiring allows Cal to have five full-time coaches on its defensive staff and two coaches in the secondary with Greg Burns now being able to focus on the squad’s safeties. Dykes will provide instruction for the team’s outside receivers, a position he coached for nine seasons (1999-2006) including his final two as a co-offensive coordinator at Texas Tech.
“By hiring John it allows us to put needed resources into our defensive coaching staff to work with a young group of players that we know we need to continue to improve,” Dykes said. “I am especially excited to have a pair of highly-respected coaches like John and Greg working together with our defensive backs. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the improvements our defensive staff has already made in our defense and hiring John should help us speed up the process even more.”