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Tedford’s coaching changes official

Well, it’s not exactly what had been rumored, but the changes have been officially announced:

  • Frank Cignetti Jr is replacing Michalczik as offensive coordinator, as well as taking on the QB coach responsibilities, giving Michalczik a slight demotion back to primarily being the offensive line coach as well as keeping the titles of assistant offensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
  • Al Simmons will come on board to be the new defensive back coach, replacing Littlejohn, who it is unannounced if he is leaving the program, but one would assume so.
  • Kevin Daft will move from QB coach, a responsibility being taken over by Cignetti, to WR coach, displacing Ferringo who is leaving the program to “pursue other opportunities”.
  • Former player and graduate assistant Tosh Lupoi is taking over as defensive line coach, to replace Ken Delgado who has accepted a position at another school.

For the most part the rumors was accurate as to what positions were in play although the individuals coming in were wholy wrong.

Of course the key name to know moving forward is Frank Cignetti Jr.. He’s been working his way up through the college offensive coordinator ranks over the last 5+ years with 4 at Fresno State and 1 at North Carolina. He’s done a number of stints before that as QB coach and last year he took a detour from the OC jobs to be the 49er QB coach. He seems like a good find but I must admit I don’t know much about him.

The other change of key interest to me at least is Lupoi taking over as defensive line coach. This is a unit that has been under performing the last couple years and I think a lot of that has to do with coaching. I really don’t know how good of a coach Lupoi is but he was a pretty good player when he manned the line. This was particularly true of his technique and technical talents, which, more so than talent, makes for a potentially good coach.

The final key is that Tedford will be giving up play-calling, which I think is a very good thing. He’s going to have a REAL offensive coordinator instead of a O-Line coach that was really the assistant offensive coordinator to Tedford. I think that will leave him much more free to be the great head coach he is and notice things liike… oh, I don’t know… that his QB can’t hit the broadside of a barn and it’s time for the backup to get another shot.

Here’s looking at a good 2008!

Rumors about coaching changes

I generally like to stay away from the rumor mill because 9 out of 10 times they end up being… well… just rumors. But these rumors are worth passing on.

The main link is to WildWestSports that suggest that Ferringo and Littlejohn (WR and DB coaches respectively) were fired and that Michalczik was pseudo-demoted back to offensive line coach from offensive coordinator but will keep the title of assistant head coach duties. It is speculated that Trent Dilfer will come in as the new OC and QB coach while current QB coach Kevin Daft will move over to WR coach leaving only the DB coach spot unfilled.

There are no official announcements yet so I won’t give analysis on rumors. What I will do is state what I think the changes that need to be made:

  • Tedford needs to give up play-calling responsibilities to someone who is of the same mind as him to free him to be a head coach and observe his players instead of being overly focused on play-calling.
  • Offensive line need to be main focus of Michalczik, probably including being on the sideline during the games. It seems too much of a coincidence that the first season his duties were split is the first season the OL struggled in a long while.

While there are other areas of the team that I think need improvement, specifically the defensive line and the QB to WR communication/route-running, I’m not so sure that coaching is the problem. I think the first item on my list (Tedford not calling plays) is key to a lot of things, including that QB/WR communication as our QB guru Tedford is too busy designing/calling plays to be working with his QBs.

Fire Tedford. Are you NVTS!?!

There’s a great line from movie “History of the World, Part I” from the Roman Empire period:

Oh you are nuts. N-V-T-S – NUTS!

That’s the way I feel about anyone who thinks it is time to dismiss Tedford. Apparently these people don’t know about the alternative and just how hit and miss a new coach can be, and that’s not even taking into account the GUARANTEED short-term downsides in recruiting and other problems the loss of continuity causes. So for those of you who think stupid thoughts, here is a quick list of things to remember:

  • Number of Coaches a winning record in every one of their seasons (3 seeason min.): 1 – Jeff Tedford
  • Tedford’s winning percentage rank (3 season min.): 4th behind Andy Smith, James Schaeffer and Pappy Waldorf
  • Number of 10 win seasons outside of Tedford’s 2: 5 and only one since 1949
  • Number of coaches who have had any success in getting new facilities since the 20s: 1 – Jeff Tedford

That last one is the kicker for me. For a moment lets pretend that Tedford is a horrible coach who somehow managed to use Holmoe’s recruits (snicker, snicker) to do well and will now fall on his face. Even if that was true, he’s in the middle of building something (quite literally) that’ll have a larger impact on the longterm success of the program that any coaching staff could ever have: renovating the facilities.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but the most important game of the 2007 season in my opinion was not played on Saturday. It was played in the court room during the week. We don’t have the official answer yet but it seems that the worst case scenario is a delay of game penalty and not a loss. Hopefully we’ll hear soon that it won’t even cost the University a delay but assuming there is a delay, we need to keep this good thing rolling long enough to cut down the trees and break ground on the SAHPC.

Tedford is a great coach. Yeah, 2007 wasn’t his shining hour, in fact nothing has matched his most shining season of 2004 yet, but I have full confidence in his ability to learn from this season’s mistakes and improve in the future. He’s got a great eye for talent and continues to put together good recruiting classes despite the sub-standard facilities (unlike Oregon and UCLA) and and lack of a long term tradition of winning (unlike USC). Down years are part of the experience of college football. Sometimes it’s a key injury. Sometimes it’s the lack of talent at a position or two. Sometimes it’s losing the moral of the team. What sets good coaches apart from bad ones is their ability to retool and rebound in future years.

I have full faith in Tedford to be able to do so.