What are your early assessments of the new California Golden Bears coaching staff? Who has impressed you the most?
Ruey Yen: Obviously, the Cal coaching staff gets all the kudos for transforming the defense. Given the defensive background of head coach Justin Wilcox, I will give credits to both Wilcox and the DC Tim DeRuyter. Barring injuries, the Cal defense should improve more with time to take in more coaching and invaluable experience. More importantly, the team has been able to make changes at the half that the Golden Bears have decisively won the second halves of all three games; that's a clear sign of great coaching.
Kevin Wu: Beau Baldwin has completely changed our offensive mindset. He's maxing out our players' potentials in all positions on the offensive side of the side. We're seeing such a balanced run and passing attack - something the previous coaching regime never executed well. I also love how I'm no longing thinking "Oh crap!" whenever Cal goes for it on 4th down - great play calling and execution are giving Cal fans hope again!
HydroTech: I am impressed with the coaching staff so far. But I do not think that I am quite "on board" with the coaching staff (yet) as every other Cal fan seems to be though. Not just one week ago, everyone was lamenting Cal's narrow and embarrassing win against Weber State. For some reason, despite Cal's narrow win last week (which should not have been as narrow), there was very little criticism of the coaching staff by Cal fans. There probably should have been more criticism.
Now, this week, after beating Ole Miss, it seems as if everyone and their mother is singing praise for this coaching staff. Oh how we quickly forget. It seems like a double standard to me.
Let's be honest here. Cal did beat Ole Miss, and while the Cal Defense was phenomenal through three quarters, the Cal Offense was pretty darn lackluster. Cal averaged 4.9 yards per pass attempt which is pretty bad. Cal also averaged 4.3 yards per rush attempt which is okay but not great. Ole Miss also shot themselves in the foot about 100 times (16 penalties for 113 yards, and 3 turnovers). If Ole Miss wasn't so busy tripping over themselves, they might have won the game and Cal fans' tunes would be much different.
Look, I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but this team still needs to improve. A lot. Cal isn't going to beat USC with another lethargic offensive performance. Cal needs all three phases of the game to click next week. A 3-0 start to the season is great, and I do think that the coaching staff is doing a pretty good job. But the way I see it, there was an inexcusably narrow win against a FCS team which spoils their coaching record a little bit. That's where I am still hung up, and I'm surprised that more Cal fans aren't still hung up there more either. But hey, winning cures all, right?
Nik Jam: It looks the team, Cal football alumni, and the fans have bought into Justin Wilcox. That already is an improvement, and hopefully we will start seeing the fruits of this with attendance and season and day-of-game tickets over the next season and a half. The fact that we can already start dreaming of having a real successful football team again, after just 3 weeks, is what has impressed me.
boomtho: Oh man, this is a really tough one - the team has been really damn impressive so far. My first instinct was to say DC Tim DeRuyter since our defense has VASTLY outperformed expectations, given last year's dumpster fire. However, Wilcox is certainly very involved here as well, so it's hard to give all (or even most) of the credit.
Given that, I would say Gerald Alexander as the DB's coach has done a phenomenal job. He's uncovered some talent (Cam Bynum anyone?!) and has guys making wonderful plays on the ball. Obviously the Weber State game was not a great look, but overall the progress among the DB's has been nothing but awesome.
atomsareenough: I get what Hydro is saying, and to an extent he's right. We shouldn't have struggled as much as we did with Weber State, and the consistently slow starts on both sides of the ball are a troubling pattern. But at the same time, turning around a football program is a process, not a light switch. We have a lot of inexperience on offense, so there are going to be growing pains this season as we start to figure out this new system and playbook. Likewise, an absolutely terrible defense last year isn't suddenly going to be dominant; there are going to be some breakdowns, especially against talented opponents. So the fact that we've managed to pull off a 3-0 start, even with some growing pains, is on balance pretty damn hopeful in my opinion. I don't blame Cal fans for being excited about the staff. The things we are looking for are mostly there, and that gives me confidence that they'll be able to fix the things that still need fixing. Anyway, to get back to the question, Wilcox and DeRuyter have impressed me the most. Wilcox for his mostly judicious decisions and DeRuyter for implementing a great scheme and our ridiculously improved linebacker play.