With the Oregon Ducks under coach Chip Kelly, offensive line coach Steve Greatwood helped establish the most explosive offense in the Pac-10. Greatwood was at Oregon for decades, and now will get a chance to make Cal’s offense flow freely.
Let’s chat with Alex Rider at Addicted to Quack to learn more about Greatwood! Rider was part of Oregon’s team as a defensive analyst in 2013, and he provides some perspective on the type of offensive linemen Greatwood wants and the schemes he can execute.
1. What scheme does Coach Greatwood prefer? Zone blocking, man, a hybrid?
Greatwood definitely goes with a zone scheme. There's a little bit of man in terms of the pass protection, and that's where with the young guys over the last few years there were some holes in the coverage. But in terms of the run game it's essentially all zone. The goal is always to stretch the defense and rely on the running back to find the gap.
2. What types of OL best fit his scheme? Bigger/stronger, smaller/quicker, or something else?
It seems like towards the end of the tenure it started to get a little more towards the bigger/stronger type. Maybe this had something to do with the many years of the talk of Oregon "not being strong enough for the big boys". But regardless, Greatwood's ideal guy is tall and can move. There's a great emphasis on the lateral quickness and the ability to get out in space and lead block.
3. How successful was Coach Greatwood recruiting, both in the OL and then more broadly the rest of the team?
I would say that Greatwood in my opinion put in one of the best recruiting efforts on that coaching staff. That might not be saying much seeing how that spiraled downhill, but he was always working his way. I still think that John Neal was the best recruiter on the staff, but I'd place him second. He played a big role in getting Arik Armstead to Oregon, obviously he wanted him to play offense but he still played a big role in getting him to Eugene. He also had a great deal of success in the transfer/juco market, most notably Kyle Long.
4. What attributes best sum up Coach Greatwood's coaching style? What do/would his players say about him?
I would say his coaching style is a tough one to gauge. Some weeks he was really hands on and tough on the players and other weeks he was hands off and let the GA's do the work while he stood back. I think he takes the personality based on the leadership that he has on the line and how they take control. Anyone you ask from the line though would tell you he is one of the greatest teachers they've had. He doesn't put up with anything but at the same point will be there to pick you up when you're down.
5. We've seen some pretty cool stories about Coach Greatwood looking out for his players off the field (grabbing them from the bars). Did you see any other instances of this behavior that you can share?
I've got to be honest, I was shocked with that story! That's not something I really could envision coming out of Greatwood, I know he cares about his players but that's taking it a whole new step! Unfortunately I don't have any crazy stories along those lines.
6. Who are the biggest success stories for Greatwood in terms of his players? What do you think was his best coaching job?
Honestly I think his best coaching job might have been last year. Sure, there were plenty of bumps but looking at that lineup there was often times where four redshirt freshmen were taking the field when Tyrell Crosby went down with an injury. That group really started to settle down towards the end of the season and found a way. Otherwise I find his best success story to be most recently Hronis Grasu. He's a guy who might be a little undersized, especially for the next level but he coached him up into an all conference player and one that has an NFL roster spot.
7. Ultimately, do you think Coach Greatwood will succeed at Cal? Why or why not?
No doubt, he's one of the great position coaches in the Pac-12 in my opinion and I was sad to see him go. I see him as not only a great fit working with that coaching staff and offense, but recruiting that territory.