Cal Football HC Justin Wilcox’s biggest decision this offseason was to determine who would take over control of the offense.
It seems like that decision has finally been made. Journeyman NFL offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has been reported to be the new hire. The hiring process was done with the utmost secrecy, with no names, interviews, or leaks being reported since former OC Beau Baldwin left to become the head coach at Cal Poly. The only real rumor/report coming out on the evening of January 2nd.
SOURCE: Former Broncos OC Bill Musgrave has emerged as a strong candidate for the #Cal’s offensive coordinator vacancy.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 3, 2020
Then merely hours later escalated into this:
SOURCE: Former Broncos OC Bill Musgrave is expected to become the new #Cal’s offensive coordinator.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 3, 2020
If the report holds true, the Bears should have their new OC signed and ready to go before the team gets back from winter break.
We now go to our own Piotr Le has a quick analysis on the scheme and stats of Musgrave’s recent career
Piotr T Le’s quick analysis: From the looks of it, Bill Musgrave is capable of producing good to elite levels of offense in the NFL. Now translating the NFL stuff into college ranks is different. In the NFL the players’ only focus is the playbook, whilst in college the NCAA’s restrictions decrease the amount of time student-athletes can put into their craft. He coached under Jim Mora and Joe Gibbs, and played for Mike Shannahan and Gary Kubiak during his time as the Broncos back-up QB.
Back in 2016 the Oakland Raiders posted the NFL’s 8th Offense in DVOA (4th in passing, 16th in rushing) (DVOA stands for Defense-Value adjusted Over Average, which is the best single metric of effectiveness analytics has on offenses). Jack Del Rio nonetheless fired Bill Musgrave thinking that he had a future wunderkind in Todd Downing then QB coach who was rumored to be getting OC offers from around the league.
In 2018 he was let go after a season as OC with the Denver Broncos in the wake of the firing of HC Vance Joseph. His offense was 14th in DVOA, up from 31st the year before when he was QB coach and interim-OC after the firing of Mike McCoy in week 10 .
On the bright side, if you look at the stats for the 2016 Raiders you will see a pass heavy offense (57.9% of the time it passed the ball) that averages 2.11 points per drive (10th in the NFL) with a score-rate of 38.7% (9th in the NFL). One key data point in the details is that the Raiders produced this line with 3 RBs who had 400+ yards on 80+ carries and 2 1,000+ yard receivers.
From the looks of it he will bring in a form of a Erhardt-Perkins system with zone blocking runs (which Cal OL/RBs are comfortable running since the last season leaned heavily on those concepts) (more on Erhardt-Perkins here and here). He also has shown the ability to adapt to different types of QBs (see Mike Vick and Matt Schaub as his two pupils). However, QBs are one beast, whole offensive systems, concepts and principles trimmed down enough for college time frames, but not neutered to the point of incoherence is another.
And let’s not forget to mention that last time he had to recruit was in 2001 during his stint in Virginia.
Christopher_h also weighs in on the hire
Christopher_h: Bill Musgrave has had a long career as an NFL offensive coordinator and QB coach, and he played a large role in the development of quarterbacks like Matt Schaub, Derek Carr, Michael Vick, and Matt Ryan. Musgrave has typically employed a variant of the West Coast Offense-- think a short passing game (quick slants and swing passes) to stretch the field and open up longer passes and runs. Musgrave offenses have relied on a zone running game, which require a running back with good vision to find a seam for big runs. His passing offenses involve running multiple passing concepts out of the same set. It’s the type of offense to attack whatever a defense will give them. Mobile quarterbacks (like Vick) have had a lot of success in his offenses, because it allows the offense to be even more multi-dimensional, running a variety of play-action or naked bootleg plays, or force defenses to respect the run with an empty set. This hire feels like a good fit considering the strengths of our offensive stars and the offense Musgrave likes to run.