Cal football coach Jeff Tedford has been making sweeping changes in his coaching staff, trying to rebound from his first losing season with the Bears.
Not all of the departures have been announced as firings, but you can be certain that those who have left voluntarily did so because they were encouraged to do so by Tedford.
The most significant moves are probably the departure of offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and offensive line coach Steve Marshall.
Marshall has already been replaced by Jim Michalczik, who is a familiar face, having spent seven years with the Bears before leaving to do the same job for the Raiders the last two years. He did a terrific job this past season, transforming a weak unit into one of the strengths of the Raiders as they broke their streak of seven seasons with double-digit losses.
Ludwig’s replacement may be named today but, whoever he is, he won’t have all the responsibilities that Ludwig had because Tedford has announced that he’ll be calling plays at least part of the time next season.
Tedford was hired as head coach at Cal because he had been an outstanding offensive coordinator at Oregon. He continued to call plays for the Bears through the 2007 season, and the Bears were known for their quick-striking offense.
That has not been the case since Tedford took his hands off the wheel. The Bears have become increasingly predictable on offense, though some of that was because of inconsistency at the quarterback position.
Obviously, Tedford is hoping to reverse that trend.
There were other changes that had to be made. Cal’s wide receivers have been talented, but inconsistent in recent years, so receivers coach Kevin Daft was fired.
Defensive backs coach Al Simmons left to “pursue other activiies.” Again, the secondary has been a consistent weakness in the last three years. A change had to be made.
One of the hallmarks of Tedford’s years at Cal has been his willingness to change. Most college coaches tend to get further away from their players as their time in the job lengthens, but Tedford has made an effort to get closer, scheduling individual appointments with each player before spring practice.
He brought in Ludwig as offensive coordinator in 2008 because Ludwig seemed a perfect fit. He had been known as a good quarterback tutor from the time he had made David Carr a top quarterback at Fresno State.
But for whatever reasons, Ludwig and Tedford did not make a good combination for the Bears, so Tedford is moving on.
You can be sure, too, that whoever the new offensive coordinator is, it will be Tedford who works most closely with the quarterbacks in spring practice, trying to find the one player who can lead the Bears back to bowl territory.
There will be seven quarterbacks in spring practice, including the two who played last season, before and after Kevin Riley was knocked out, Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney.
Tedford will put them in game conditions early because he knows he must find one who can step up and take charge. If not, all his coaching changes will be for naught.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.