New Cal defensive coordinator Art Kaufman is beginning his 33rd season coaching college football, and he still has the energy for the job because he knows how to get a good night’s sleep.
“By the time I get home, I’ll chill down for 30 minutes or an hour, then crash and get up and go get it the next day,” Kaufman said of the routine that keeps his batteries charged.
Inheriting a defense that allowed 45.9 points per game last season would be enough to disrupt anyone’s REM cycle. After being hired last winter, Kaufman said he didn’t bother to review 2013 game tapes because he’s not here to fix last season but to build from the ground up.
Still less than a week into fall camp, Kaufman is just getting to know his personnel and said he’s installed perhaps 40 percent of his defense. But he has drawn some early conclusions.
Three things contributing to sweet dreams:
1. “The big thing is our kids have some pride about what they’re doing. They want to be good, and they’re willing to do whatever we ask.”
2. “They’ve got some intelligence as far as understanding what we’re doing. I’ve been where we’ve been able to do some pretty good things, and I’ve been where we couldn’t do a whole lot because we didn’t have anybody who could line us up. We’ve got guys who can do that.”
3. “These guys have a chance to be physical. I’m waiting to see that, but if we can be physical at the line of scrimmage and with our second-level people — a safety, a ‘backer, a corner — that gives you a chance.”
Three concerns that could leave Kaufman with restless nights:
1. The Bears were decimated by injury last season, especially on defense. “The big thing is we’ve got to make sure we stay injury free.”
2. “How well do we match up with the people we’re playing? Anytime you go into a new league — and this is my third league in three years — you don’t know how you match up. That’s the unknown.”
3. “How we will handle adversity? We may have adversity the first play of the game, but we will have it in every game. Don’t worry about the last play, play the next play. I don’t think you can know that until you know who your leaders are. Right now I don’t know.”