Following a four-season stretch in which his Bears averaged 5.5 losses a year and finished no higher than fourth in the Pac-10, Jeff Tedford is entering what might be a true make-or-break year for his tenure in Berkeley. Given those stakes, you'd expect Tedford to either work hard to maintain some level of coaching continuity or break the bank in an effort to overhaul his staff with the very best coaches available.
Though things can still change, at this stage it looks like Tedford may do neither. Bears offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig became the fifth Cal assistant to leave this offseason Monday when he took the same position on Rocky Long's staff at San Diego State , ending his two-year stay with the Bears. If replacing more than half of his staff wasn't already enough of a shake-up for Cal, consider that the new offensive coordinator will be the team's fourth in five years after Jim Michalczik departed in 2007, Frank Cignetti lasted only one year in 2008, and Ludwig stayed for all of two seasons himself.
Then again, maybe it'll prove to be only three in five years since Michalczik is reportedly in line to return to the position he left three seasons ago. But according to the Mercury News, Tedford may be considering other options as well:
So, to recap, the three possibilities Tedford is weighing for the Bears' 2011 play-calling are:
Michalczik was Cal's offensive line coach under Tedford from 2002-2008 and was offensive coordinator in 2007, although he didn't call plays. He spent the past two seasons on Tom Cable 's staff with the Raiders.
Another scenario could have Tedford return to his role as the primary play caller on offense. Tedford has alternated over the years between calling plays and allowing his coordinator to do it. He hasn't called plays full-time since 2007.
Another possibility is new wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator Eric Kiesau , who spent the past two seasons as Colorado's offensive coordinator.
1. An offensive line assistant who left Cal once already in 2007 and hasn't called plays for at least the last nine seasons
2. Himself, despite the fact that he hasn't called his own plays for three years and that the last time he did, his team finished 3-6 in the Pac-10 and a mediocre (by Bears standards) 50th in the country in scoring
3. The ex-Colorado assistant who helmed the nation's 104th- and 79th-ranked offenses the past two years.
Tedford's a smart coach who may be able to pull together something functional (or even better) despite what looks like a difficult situation on paper. But in being unwilling (or unable) to prevent Ludwig from taking what seems like a backwards step to the Aztecs, he's also made a huge roll of the dice in a season where he may not be able to afford coming up snake eyes.