BERKELEY, Calif. -- Jeff Tedford wants to concentrate on
being a head coach next season, so he's changing the structure of
California's coaching staff to give him more time to be in charge.
Tedford shuffled his assistants Sunday, most notably hiring
Frank Cignetti as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
He also hired Al Simmons as defensive backs coach, reassigned three
assistants and announced the departure of three others, including
respected defensive line coach Ken Delgado.
Tedford clearly has rethought every aspect of his program after
his most disappointing season in six otherwise successful years
with the Golden Bears. Cal finished 7-6 with a victory in last
week's Armed Forces Bowl, a dismal end to a season that began with
a 5-0 start and a No. 2 national ranking.
"It wasn't that I neglected anything," Tedford said. "I try
to keep my finger on the pulse of everything going on, but it's
hard to do it all. ... It's a good time to look at everything we do
and make sure it's fresh for the players, and upbeat."
Tedford will even cede play-calling duties next season to
Cignetti, an up-and-coming offensive coach who will stay in the Bay
Area after spending last season as the San Francisco 49ers'
"The main reason for all this is so I can be more efficient
with my head coaching duties," Tedford said. "[After being] the
play-caller and the guy buried in deep with the offense, I want to
be able to have a chance to do things with the defensive players
and the special teams."
Cignetti was unlikely to return to the 49ers after the club on
Wednesday dismissed offensive coordinator Jim Hostler, Cignetti's
longtime friend and college teammate. Cignetti was the offensive
coordinator at North Carolina and Fresno State before moving to the
49ers this season, and he interviewed for the same job at the
University of Tennessee last week.
"We missed college football," Cignetti said, referring to his
wife and three daughters. "We missed the passion and the spirit of
the college game, and also the opportunity to help student-athletes
develop their life skills. I found a great fit with Coach
[Tedford]. He has a love for the game, and I think I share the same
love as he does."
Cignetti likely is in for a quarterback battle next season
between veteran starter Nate Longshore and freshman Kevin Riley,
who led the Bears to the victory over Air Force in last week's bowl
game. Longshore's mediocre play down the stretch was among the
biggest reasons Cal lost six of its final seven regular-season
"I have watched them both on film," Cignetti said. "I'm
impressed with both of them, and I'm looking forward to working
with all the quarterbacks."
Cignetti nominally replaces Jim Michalczik as Cal's offensive
coordinator, but Michalczik's role as offensive line coach and
assistant head coach won't change much, Tedford said.
The head coach usually takes charge of the Golden Bears'
offensive game plan, but Tedford claims he'll give up some of those
responsibilities this season, just as he did in 2005 when he hired
Mike Dunbar for one season to call plays and implement aspects of a
Unlike Dunbar, Cignetti favors Tedford's philosophy of multiple
offensive sets, including extensive use of a tight end.
Simmons, a former assistant with Cal and the 49ers who coached
at Arizona State last season, will replace R. Todd Littlejohn.
Kevin Daft, who coached Cal's quarterbacks last season, was
reassigned to wide receivers, replacing Dan Ferrigno.
Tedford also promoted Tosh Lupoi to defensive line coach to
replace Delgado, who resigned to take a job at Louisville. Lupoi,
who played on Cal's line from 2001-05, was a graduate assistant
under Delgado for the past two seasons.
Jahvid Best, the touted freshman tailback who bruised a bone in
his hip during a game against USC in November, probably won't need
surgery. He's expected to be healthy for next season.