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Football: Ludwig to SDSU

By Jonathan Okanes
Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 10:39 am in Football, off-season stuff.

Rivals.com is reporting that Cal offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig is leaving to take the same position at San Diego State.

This could be why there has been a delay in the expected announcement that Jim Michalczik is re-joining Cal’s staff. Michalczik could be coming back as offensive coordinator as well as offensive line coach.

Michalczik was the offensive coordinator in 2007 at Cal, although head coach Jeff Tedford called all the plays. If Michalczik is indeed going to become the OC again, might Tedford return to play-calling duties? Or might new wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator Eric Kiesau become the offensive coordinator?

We should find out soon. Tedford has been declining interview requests until Signing Day, but hopefully the athletic department will release something soon.

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  • GoldenFlash

    Why do I feel so optimistic about Cal’s future? Ludwig’s spread never worked at Cal.

  • milo

    Kiesau would be my choice to call plays. I’d like to see JTed call plays again but he might be too busy.

  • David

    Ludwig’s spread? What spread.

    Kieseau as OC sounds intruiging, but my money’s on Michalczik.

  • David

    Ludwig’s spread? What spread.

    Kieseau as OC sounds intruiging, but my money’s on Michalczik.

  • rollonubears

    I kind of liked ludwig. I felt like the playcalling was balanced. We just didn’t have a qb who could throw, nor a line that could protect him, nor receivers that could get separation. I just hope we don’t revert to the old “run, run pass” of frank cignetti. It didn’t work for us, it didn’t work at pitt, and it won’t work at rutgers.

  • ScottyBear

    Shake it up! All good. Where is George Cortez?

  • Juancho

    Those are good points by JO. Maybe it looks like Michalzik or Kiesau will call plays.

  • Juancho

    After re-reading the blog entry. It makes me wonder if Tedford calling the plays isn’t the best option.

    Maybe Tedford is just one of those personalities where if he isn’t the one doing it – he gets too involved and messes with the OC’s playcalls. It’s getting fishy that not a single OC under Tedford (who called the plays) has been successful.

  • milo

    I didn’t think Ludwig was bad, he just had limited options and his o-line caved all the time. You’re not going to get offensive production if your QB is consistently hurried…regardless of the other aspects of the position. I think Ludwig would have lit up the score board if all things were working properly.

    Despite this, I think getting Michalczik and a decent o-line is the fundamentally sound way to go, especially if Cal continues to desire a balanced offense.

  • milo

    Juancho – agree that it’s weird no OC has been able to mesh with JTed…and it keeps happening.

    Maybe the way to go about this is let Michalczik have more head coaching duties and let JTed call the plays.

  • LR

    Neither of the new hires will be performing in the role of OC. Coach M will be in charge of the line, and EK will essentially be a QB coach. There’s little doubt JT will be a virtually full-time OC…And this, it would appear, is a good thing.

  • David

    LR, have you sources to cite?

    what about the one coaching vacancy?

  • bobsac

    Scotty Bear asked a good question above, what happened to George Cortez? To add to this, Cortez had been with Tedford in the past, & was the OC for the 02 thru 05 seasons. He then “left”, with little information as to whether he was pushed out. Those were the great years for the Tedford era Cal offense, with 05 being an understandable drop-off in QB play in the year after Aaron Rogers & the year before Nate Longshore. It would be great to learn what Cortez is doing now, & if he is available to come back.

  • LR

    David,

    No, JT and I didn’t sit down and discuss this over drinks. It’s just a hypothesis I share with a friend of mine who works in the AD and basic deduction if you’ve observed Cal’s O over the last 3 or 4 years.

    JT has a coordinator’s mentality and very likely put in more than his 2 cents when it came to offensive player development (particularly QBs and receivers) and offensive game planning. Ludwig seemed pretty passive about all that, but the sense I got from Dunbar and Cignetti (having heard them speak on various topics) is that they didn’t.

    JT needs to stop hiring paper tigers and just take the reigns. Mike Martz has proven you can be the offensive braintrust of a team and its HC at the same time. Sure, he didn’t replicate the success he had as a coordinator, but I think 14-2 and a Super Bowl berth is pretty impressive. In our case, Pendergast in charge of D and JT in charge of O sounds just fine to me. Everyone else is a role player.

  • Esquire Joe

    This is entirely my opinion, but I truly hope that Tedford doesn’t become the de facto OC or resume play calling duties. My impression of coach Ted’s play-calling was the same as that of Ludwig’s play-calling. Both seemed unable to respond to in-game events and adjust their play calls accordingly.

    An example would be the Nevada game this year. It was clear early on in that game that Cal was running the ball at will, and that its liability was the QB. However, Ludwig seemed to have too much allegiance to the “balanced play calling” idea, such that he couldn’t exercise Cal’s only hope of staying in the game (running the ball down Nevada’s throat).

    I think Tedford had the same problem for a different reason (i.e., being preoccupied by other in-gamed duties as HC/play caller). Either way, though, I would be much more confident that this offense could live up to its potential if we had a full time OC to both scheme and call the plays.

  • milo

    EJ – the problem with the Nevada game was that Cal got behind early and had to play catch-up, i.e., throw the ball to make up time/yards.

    Ideally if the D could have shut Nevada down a bit and then O could control the clock, it would be all good…in theory. That said, Nevada finished at #15…they weren’t chumps in any way, shape or form and of course their offense scored in bunches.

  • uh oh

    Remember that first play during the JT era? A halfback option pass for a long touchdown?
    Maybe we get back some of that early offensive zing, risk-taking, and leave the wildcat behind (for instance).

  • Bears07

    Esquire Joe, if Ludwig (or Tedford or any other OC) had switched to only running plays (or even 80% running plays), the Nevada defense would have put even more men in the box and made the running game less effective. We had 500 yards of offense that game (277 of which was from passing actually) so I don’t think it’s fair to say the Nevada loss falls squarely on the Offensive Coordinator’s shoulders. In no particular order, I would put the UNR loss on our receivers’ dropped passes and the defense’s inability to defend against the pistol / Kaepernick.

  • ET

    I just never had a good sense that Ludwig added much to Cal. All of the possibilities discussed sound good. UH Oh, glad you brought up that first play. Awesome!

    I have been missing, creative playcalling and, almost more important, effective halftime adjustments for awhile.

  • Steve W

    I think we’re putting way too much emphasis on the impact of the OC on Cal’s play. Cal was pretty darned good on offense through several OC’s. It all pretty much stopped when Nate Longshore hurt his ankle at then end of the 07 Oregon game.

    Then, all of the OC’s suddenly lost or never found their mojo. I agree with some previous posters that “it’s the quarterback, stupid.” If Cal finds a decent quarterback who can see the entire field and effectively check down on secondary receivers, it will be good on offense again. Simple as that. It took Aaron Rodgers less than half a season to absorb Tedford’s supposedly complicated schemes and become the “it” quarterback.

    Cal is in the dumpers with UCLA because neither program has found a quarterback with the intangibles needed, while Arizona (Foles), Stanford (Luck) and USC (Barkley), most certainly have.

  • T-Dawg

    Good points being made by all. My two sense is whatever happen to JT being a “quarterback developer”. It just isn’t happening any more for him. Any thoughts on that guys? My thoughts on looking at QB play in general, is I watch how comfortable a QB is at throwing before the receiver breaks. Yes, there has to be a comfort and trust between the QB and receivers, I understand that, but after 2 to 3 yrs of a QB playing with some of his receivers, I’m just not seeing this out of Cal QB’s. JT, his QB coach and O/C need to develop this in their QB’s. All these 3 and 4 star QB’s we have been getting, ultimatley have meant nothing at the end of their careers cause they just don’t develop! Have at me guys. All in good conversation. Go BEARS!!!

  • caferay

    Got to agree it was so very frustrating to see so many bowl game quarterbacks running their teams, making passes, scrambling, playing the game, leading, what have you,just plain playing quarterback for so many really only so so good teams that played those dozens of pre- January 1 bowl games. I agree, CAL has not had even a decent QB since early Longshore. Why? And don’t tell me that Tedford is ruining qbs. They just aren’t that good even to ruin.

  • caferay

    How about UCLA dumps Norm Chow just now, whom Neuheisel rubbed in the “pistol” offense this past season, some oc guru, eh? Some head coach, Neuheisel, eh? Talk about a broken program, the Baby Bears!

  • Eric

    Bears07 @18 – you are 100% right. The failure to run when it is clearly working, and keeps the opposing the offense off the field, has haunted Cal since the 2004 Holiday Bowl. Last year, we beat UA and Furd simply because we did run A LOT. We didn’t this year, and lost multiple winning games, including Nevada, because of it.

  • RT

    Is there any chance Tedford bringd in Norm Chow?

  • Mr. B

    EDIT: Cortez spent last season with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL; he only recently signed with the Bills under their new head coach Chan Gailey.

  • Mr. B

    EDIT2: No wait, just kidding! Not like anyone cares, but I can’t reconcile the fact that we are in 2011 now.

    Cortez was with the Bills for 2010. He was a 59-year-old “rookie” coach in the NFL.

  • Mr. B

    EDIT3: OK, now I’m just messing with JO and the board…if Moron won’t come out and play, someone has to do it.

  • Dave T

    Several Pac-10 HC’s have performed essentially one duty and handing off the other to a competent Coordinator. Kelly is essentially the OC at Oregon, Harbaugh did much the same at Stanford, Carroll was the defacto DC at USC. In each case, there was someone on the other side the HC felt good about (Aliotti, Fangino and Sarkisian).

    I actually felt Ludwig’s play calling was okay (our offensive failings more a lack of execution than effective play calling IMO) – but his title also included QB coach – and this is probably where he fell short.

    Riley was inconsistent – and it was clear how unprepared our back ups were once he went down.

    If we can keep Pendergast as DC for awhile with the kind of recruits we landed last year and likely this year, our D is going to consistently be one of the top in the conference.

    If JT can then start developing another string of capable QB’s – the future looks bright indeed!

  • http://yahoo.com Robert

    How many coordinators and other coaches does Tedord have to go through? There have been so many since he has been at Cal. I like the way he turned the program around when he took over, but their have been so many coaches. There is no stability at the coaching level, and it starts at the top.

  • milo

    The reality is you only get a top level QB (that can carry a team) every 8 years or so and even then you need the rest of the supporting cast. Some schools like $C luck on but then they cheated too.

    For now, at least Tedford is building a good defensive core (D win championships)…but in his system, yeah, you need a good QB. If he has one, it rips. If not, you get the past 2 or so years.

  • wehofx

    Now this is an interesting thread. Fun to read. Good points.

    I kinda hope JT goes back to play calling. It seemed like JM was a great sounding board when they were putting the game plan toegther during the week.

    As far as run vs pass, when JT was calling the plays, we were usually 50/50.

  • NorCal Scott

    On one hand, as a loyal Bear fan & season ticket holder I am oh so very happy to get rid of Ludwig. On the other, as a San Diego State alumni I am pissed off.

    I will give Ludwig & Riley a little benefit of the doubt due to the poor O-line play… but, I saw plenty of bad play calls, no successful halftime adjustments, and bad passes.

    As for Cal, I hope that JT does take charge and calls the plays, makes the game plans, etc etc. Better yet I hope he has more HANDS ON coaching with the QB’s than ever before. With a stable of young talent they need to be coached up when their time comes to start, or come off the bench. Obviously, nothing was being done like that as bad as Mansion played in relief.

    I keep hearing about Maynard being a possible starter. Well, if he was that good why was he stuck in Buffalo? Young talent like Hinder & Bridgford were high recruits and need to be developed, as well as the new kid from Mitty. They are Cal’s future.

    Here’s looking towards Signing Day!

  • former QB

    Everyone moans about losing to Nevada. They blame the play calling, Riley, Tedford, the O-line. The reality is that Nevada had a better team than Cal this year. They went 12-1 and beat the #3 team in the nation. Quit moaning and give them the credit they deserve.