Jeff Tedford has been around the game of football for a long time. Most coaches with his resumé and experience are dead-set with their coaching philosophies and believe there is only one true way to do something. When Tedford and the Cal Bears face off against Lane Kiffin -- a former colleague of his when the two were at Fresno State -- and the USC Trojans, fans should expect two different styles of play calling.
As Gary Klein from the LA Times explains, despite once having similar strategies in terms of offensive play calling, Tedford and Kiffin have gone separate ways in recent years:
USC's head coach doubles as the Trojans' sole play-caller, an increasingly rare combination in major-college football. But Kiffin does not foresee passing off play-calling responsibilities.
"I kind of think I would get bored," he said. "I just don't know what you do all day if you don't do Xs and O's."
Kiffin will be on the sideline Thursday night, laminated play sheet in hand, matching wits with mentor Jeff Tedford when USC plays California in a Pacific 12 Conference game at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
And as for Cal's head coach?
Tedford, like Kiffin, once called all the plays for his team. However, after the 2004 season he began delegating that responsibility.
Then came a 5-7 record in 2010, his first losing season in Berkeley, prompting Tedford to go back to being intimately involved in what he describes as a collaborative play-calling process.
"The problem is, I never really let it go," Tedford said in a phone interview. "Every third play I'd say, 'How about this?' It's never completely gone away."
Hey, old habits never go away, I suppose.
Now, Tedford said, three coaches share game-planning and play-calling.
"We call them as a staff," Tedford said. "There's so much familiarity there, I really feel good about the way it's going right now."
The Cal offense certainly looked strong against Oregon in the first half and the team will look to carry that momentum into this week's showdown against the Trojans. Their secondary has been torn apart by Arizona and Arizona State in recent weeks and that could happen once again if Tedford and his staff have the team prepared for the Pac-12 showdown.
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