Monday, January 24, 2011
Staff changes afoot for Cal
By ESPN.com staff
Most California fans have had mixed feelings about Bears offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, so his departure to San Diego State probably won't inspire much gnashing of teeth.
Multiple sources -- here first and here second and here third -- are reporting Ludwig's departure to join new Aztecs coach Rocky Long.
Ludwig, 46, has bounced around. In addition to Cal, he's been the coordinator at Utah (2005-08), Oregon (2002-04) and Fresno State (1998-2001).
Ludwig's departure, as Jonathan Okanes notes, probably explains the delay of the much-anticipated announcement of Jim Michalczik's return as the Bears offensive line coach.
There are no mixed feelings about Michalczik, who was a member of coach Jeff Tedford's first staff in 2002, serving as assistant head coach and co-offensive coordinator, in addition to line coach, before he bolted to Washington (for a few weeks) and then the Oakland Raiders. He was widely credited for the consistency of the Bears blocking -- run and pass protection -- which fell into decline when he left.
Of course, the Bears also seemed to drop off in line talent over the past two seasons, so it doesn't seem completely fair to dump on Steve Marshall, who is now at Colorado.
There are a few different issues now at play here.
- Michalczik could become line coach and offensive coordinator, but would he also call plays?
- Might Tedford take over play-calling duties again?
- Or might Eric Kiesau, another old Cal assistant returning for a second go-around, call plays. His title is "passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach."
- And who's the QBs coach, which was Ludwig's responsibility?
So intrigue abounds!
Suffice it to say, there's been a lot of change in Berkeley this offseason, with four assistants leaving -- or being pushed out -- and new ones arriving. But with recruiting surging, most of the changes have felt like upgrades.
Still, the biggest question this spring will be finding a new starting quarterback and rediscovering a program's offensive mojo. This major reshuffling only makes those issues bigger.