Which position group do you see making the most strides with the new coaching assignments (Beau Baldwin with the tight ends, Peter Sirmon with the inside linebackers, Tony Tuioti with the defensive line, or Burl Toler III with the running backs)?
TwistNHook: I love Burl Toler III. I think he was a great Bear. I am hopeful that we will see him do great work with Patrick Laird and the other running backs. Aaron Rodgers was happy he got the job and if A-A-Ron is happy, I am happy!
Piotr Le: Sirmon. I have a feeling that coaches who take steps down from what positions they previously held have a great potential to make impacts on the field. What I mean is the fact that Sirmon has experience as a DC and now as a ILB/Asst. Coach is now aware of what ILBs do not just in the context of the front seven or shallow-zone coverages, but also in the terms of the whole scheme. After thinking on a macro level of a defense vis-a-vis an offense, he can coach the ILBs to not just “do their job”, but also to understand the scheme in the context of the Cal defense and even in the context of the opposing offense. (PS. personally I am not a fan of OCs/DCs also coaching positions since it has the potential of being stretched too thin at too many positions, so TEs coaching could suffer. Alas, it all comes down to the coach et al.)
boomtho: If it’s measured in purely YoY change in productivity, then I’d have to guess it’s the tight ends—both because Baldwin has more personnel options now (with Ray Hudson back and the younger TEs growing in the system) and because it seems to be the key to unlocking his “multiple” offense. I’m glad the DL will be getting some (more?) TLC, but I’m not sure we have the raw talent at that position to see a large jump in production next year. And despite the injuries (and lack of a consistently dangerous pass game), Patrick Laird was pretty damn efficient and productive last year, so I’d guess we’re unlikely to see another jump there.
Nick Kranz: I’ve never been super comfortable trying to assess the impact position coaches have unless they have a really strong multi-year track record of player development. Baldwin and Sirmon are more noted for coordination and recruiting, respectively, and Burl Toler is too new in his career for me to say anything intelligent. I think tight end is the position group most likely to improve this season, but that’s more down to returning talent from injuries than any anticipated coaching nous.
Really, what you see in Cal’s coaching hires is a renewed emphasis on the value of recruiting, which is something that will take a couple of years to (hopefully) bear fruit.
Rob Hwang: The group that needs the most coaching help will be the defensive line. The losses of James Looney and Tony Mekari will need to be compensated by some of the younger guys. The development of the underclassmen will need to come about this season as well. Linebacker and defensive back have experience and depth, so the front line could end up being the determining factor of how good our defense is this year.