Tim DeRuyter definitely has plenty of experience to be the California Golden Bears defensive coordinator, but his most recent experience was being Fresno State Bulldogs head coach. DeRuyter had a good start but a rough finish.
We interviewed Josh Webb of Athlon Sports to learn more about DeRuyter’s time. Webb has covered Fresno State the past few seasons. This is part two of the interview.
What types of recruits was he able to bring in? Did he primarily recruit offensive or defensive players? What geographies, if any, was he more or less successful in?
Texas. Get used to Texas. He recruited the hell out of Texas and completely ignored California unless they were five-star players that Fresno had no chance of landing. As I stated above, his attrition rate was scary bad. He recruited high-risk players and refused to give them the support they needed. His starting quarterback up and quit without saying a word, but many sources told me that he was simply tired of the abuse from the coaching staff and that they lacked any direction.
As for the type of recruits, it was hit and miss. DeRuyter got some quality players in there, but the staff wasn’t able to stick around and see out their development. I will say that there were a lot of questionable recruits, even for Fresno. They were recruiting kids with offers from Lamar St. and Southwest Texas St., but were calling them recruiting wins. They also had kids like Chason Virgil and Kurt Scoby and Michael Lazarus, all of whom were on bigger radars, but of those three only Chason stuck around.
Recruiting California is different than recruiting Fresno State, but DeRuyter doesn’t have a single high-profile recruit that I can think of, he wasn’t the primary on Von Miller. Here’s to hoping that Tim realizes Texas isn’t the end-all, be-all and opens it up, but I have a feeling you’ll be seeing him go after a decent number of kids from Texas. He rarely recruits offensive players unless they are high-value targets.
What attributes best sum up his coaching style? What do/would his players say about him?
Regimented best describes his playing style. Some players loved him, some players celebrated the day he was fired. He’s a guy that either succeeds or doesn’t, there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground with him. He does seem to be far better suited as a defensive coordinator, though. I wouldn’t worry about too many schools trying to steal him away as a head coach, he will probably give Cal several solid years. That said, if an SEC school comes calling for him, you can kiss him goodbye.
Ultimately, do you think he will succeed at Cal? Why or why not?
I think he can succeed at Cal because he doesn’t have all of the responsibility he had at Fresno. As I wrote in my Athlon article, he isn’t head coach material. He shouldn’t be a head coach again. He’s a coordinator and that’s okay. He’s a damn good one when he’s the one calling the shots. The first year with Fresno he was more hands on and they had the nation’s 22nd or 23rd ranked defense and led the nation in turnovers. That’s the type of imprint he can have, and that’s what I probably expect out of him at Cal.
What do you consider DeRuyter's finest performances at Fresno? What were the games or signs that showcased his greatest weaknesses?
DeRuyter’s finest performance probably came in 2012, the year he first took over and Fresno took a share of the Mountain West. That team may have gone 9-3, but they were better than the team that went 11-2 the following year. They were more sound on the defensive side of the ball and they were better on offense. The 2012 team was just mean across the board. By any measure, that team had the greatest impact of any team he coached.
The loss to Wyoming in 2014 is probably the lowest point of DeRuyter’s career. That was when things began to fall apart for the team and he lost control of the locker. I’ve littered this Q&A with things he’s done wrong, so I don’t want to keep harping on stuff I’ve already said. I will say that I think Cal is the break that DeRuyter needed. Pac-12 defenses tend to give up a lot of points and yards, it’s just the conference. Cal hasn’t exactly been known for their amazing defense and CTD (Coach Tim DeRuyter) has the chance to come in and improve two reputations at once. I think it will be fun and interesting to see how he adapts to Pac-12 ball.