A little role play. You’re Justin Wilcox. What’s on your mind going into this offseason?
HydroTech: Top decision of the off-season: what the heck to do about Cal’s terrible offense. Beau Baldwin’s magic has worn off quite quickly. I do think Baldwin hasn’t had a lot to work with on offense in terms of game-breaking ball-handlers, but a good offensive coordinator will find ways to make his offense productive regardless of whether he has that game-breaking RB, WR or QB.
Berkelium97: If I’m Wilcox, the first thing I do is lobby for massive raises for everyone on the defensive staff. The defensive coaches need to be rewarded for engineering an incredible turnaround that has far exceeded expectations. And they also need raises so that we can prevent other programs from poaching our staff. DeRuyter is a former head coach, Sirmon is a former D coordinator, and Alexander is a hot commodity, so they’ll probably have opportunities to take promotions elsewhere this offseason. The defense is the heart and soul of this team, and we cannot afford to let any of these coaches go.
On the other hand, figuring out what to do on the offense is a much more difficult task. The easiest decision is letting go of QB coach Marques Tuiasosopo. He was hired with a great track record of recruiting and a mediocre record of developing QBs. His coaching has obviously been underwhelming. The best game we have seen from any of our QBs was Ross Bowers’ debut; he did not appear to improve over the course of 2017 (and arguably 2018, given that he struggled to earn the starting job over Garbers and McIlwain) and Garbers hasn’t seemed to improve much this season. In addition to poor development of the QBs, Tui hasn’t had much of an impact on the recruiting trail. I think it’s time for him to go.
And what to do about Baldwin? I know he’s a great coach who can develop a lethal offense (just ask Wazzu), but he has been underwhelming with our personnel. The offense was inconsistent to start the 2017 season, but it ultimately developed a run-heavy identity that was good enough to generate decent production. This year’s offense has been a mess, however. We never seemed to find a rhythm within a single game, let alone over the course of the season. Baldwin was put in a bind by a lack of playmakers to stretch the field vertically, but too often we seemed unable to adjust to adapt when things were not working on offense (how did it take that long to figure out that McIlwain was not a viable starting QB? how many times are we going to ask Garbers to throw 20 yards downfield on 3rd and 6? ). Baldwin will likely land on his feet somewhere and he’ll probably turn out to be a great offensive coordinator for a program. But we are obviously not that program.
ragnarok: It’s all about the offense, right? Do you have the right scheme, given the athletes you have on the roster, and do you have the right athletes to execute the scheme you want to? The defense is good enough to keep you in the game against any Pac-12 competition; how do you upgrade the offense to win more of those games than you lose?
Of course, Wilcox should be looking over the entire program to find anywhere he can grab an edge, whether that’s recruiting, strength and conditioning, technique coaching, schematic advantages, statistics, advance scouting, whatever. Nothing about the program is so elite that it can’t be improved, and two years after a coaching change should offer enough data regarding what is working well, what’s working “well enough”, and what needs improvement immediately, to recommend likely areas for change.
MT: Throw out a few more hail mary’s from a recruiting standpoint. Staff-wise, I’d like to see if Tee Martin is available to aid or replace Tui in the QB room. He’s a great recruiter (not a great play caller IMO) and has developed some studs over the years. I also make sure that Gerald Alexander is protected at all costs.
Joshua Morgan: Tui has got to be gone, and same with Edwards most likely. Then, a decision has to be made on Baldwin. Do I think he can be a superstar OC? Yeah. Despite lacking talent, why has he been outright awful? Who knows. If Wilcox determines its a coaching matter, then he has to go, but if it is something else, then maybe give him one more year. I know this is role-playing, but the only person who can make this decision is Wilcox.
Other than that we just need to keep our defensive coaches. If DeRuyter, Alexander, and Sirmon are still around for next year, I will feel good about the defense.
Rob Hwang: I’ve got some decisions to make. Is it the lack of talent due to attrition that occurred this past offseason? Is it the coaching that’s unable to get the most out of the talent we have? Or is it just one of those anomaly years where nothing seemed to go right for that side of the ball? I think it’s a mix of the first and last options. So if that’s the case, the offensive staff stays to build continuity but you considering letting go of one of the assistant coaches on the offensive end to bring in a bonafide recruiter or coach at the skill positions. For Beau Baldwin it makes sense he stays, He had a solid offense last year with pretty much the same skill position players. If he were to struggle to create even an average offense, that could be the big factor in letting him go next offseason after his contract runs out. It could just be a solid and timely decision. He has shown what he can do via his first year, and his second year was kaput. You have to see if he can bounce back.