Tag:Eric Kiesau
Posted on: January 23, 2012 1:11 pm

Washington shells out $2.73M for assistant staff

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With hires like new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi (pictured), Steve Sarkisian has put together an overhauled Washington staff that -- on paper -- ranks as one of the best in the Pac-12, and maybe the country. But not surprisingly, that overhaul has come at a cost.

The Seattle Times reported this weekend that thanks to the substantial raise for coaches like Lupoi over their predecessors, the Huskies are now spending more than any other public school in the Pac-12 on their assistants' salaries. The total bill comes in at $2.73 million, more than any other league school save -- probably -- USC, which is private and not required to release salary information.

Wilcox will make $750,000 this coming season, with escalators in his contract that could pay him as much as $850,000 in 2014. (The salary is an increase on what even his previous SEC-based employer, Tennessee, was paying him.) New offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau will earn $375,000 and Lupoi $350,000--a staggering figure for a position coach outside of the cash-flush Big 12 or SEC, but one likely necessary to pry the coach considered by many the best recruiter on the West Coast away from Cal.

So where is all this cash coming from? In a release, Husky AD Scott Woodward doesn't shy away from the source (emphasis added):

"As we've done since (Sarkisian's) arrival, we are seeking and signing the nation's best coaches, and we are willing and able to do it at market value. Our student-athletes deserve the best leaders and the best facilities to create the best environment to win championships. The expenditure on salaries for football's assistant coaches is a prudent investment of that additional money from the Pac-12 new multimedia contract, into the program that gives the biggest return to all Husky athletes."

By snatching away Tupoi and offering weapons-grade money to Wilcox, the Huskies may have just fired the first shot in what could prove to be the same kind of Pac-12 salary battles the SEC -- see the there-and-back-again journey of Alabama assistant Lance Thompson -- has been waging for years. The only real question is which of their conference rivals is going to issue the next one. 

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 7:13 pm

Tedford to take Cal play-calling reins ... again

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When Andy Ludwig bailed on the Cal offensive coordinator's job in January, we wrote that Jeff Tedford had three options when it came to naming a new play-caller: 1. replacement coordinator Jim Michalczik, who hadn't called plays for a team at any level of football in nine season 2. new receivers coach/passing game coordinator Eric Kiesau, who oversaw two dreadful offenses under Dan Hawkins at Colorado 3. Jeff Tedford.

And though Tedford's last season as primary play-caller didn't end well -- in 2007, the Bears finished 3-6 in the Pac-10 as Tedford's offense ranked 50th in FBS scoring -- it's no surprise that with his Cal tenure at a critical juncture following last year's 5-7 disappointment, he's elected to go with the option he trusts most ... himself:
"I did it the first three or four years here, then went back and forth," Tedford said. "You've got to be all in or out, one of the two. There's got to be a role you play. You get to set things up, have a good feel for things."

Tedford has something of an uphill climb; the Bears languished at 90th in FBS total offense in 2010 and must replace longtime starting quarterback Kevin Riley.

But the reason anyone's interested in discussing Cal football in the first place is, of course, Jeff Tedford's offensive acumen, the driving force behind the Bears' rise from the Pac-10 basement to (occasional) title contention. If anyone knows the best way to turn the ship in Berkeley around, it's probably the guy who stopped it from dragging the conference floor in the first place.

Posted on: January 25, 2011 1:40 pm

Tedford, Cal hiring a new OC ... again

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

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:

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.

So, to recap, the three possibilities Tedford is weighing for the Bears' 2011 play-calling are:

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.

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