Cal Football Coaching Staff: Who Will Be The Offensive Line Coach?

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Who will Sonny Dykes hire to be the next offensive line coach for the California Golden Bears? We list some potential candidates who could be good fits.

Who are potential Cal offensive line coach candidates?

Many smart people in college football will tell you the two most important hires a new college football coach will make are his defensive coordinator and his offensive line coach. Sonny Dykes is one for two so far.

Andy Buh seems like a solid enough coach who has proven a few times he has the capacity to coordinate a good defense at a major college football program (somewhat at Stanford, but more notably at Nevada). Many good people believe he's a solid fit for Cal and will do his best to get the best West Coast defenders that can handle this offense.

Although the defensive coordinator is a really big job to fill up, Cal has generally had good defenses even during the worst seasons of the Jeff Tedford era. On the flip side, the Cal offensive line has been a mess, and you can trace the downward trend of the Bears to how badly Cal's big uglies have been uglied up by the opposition. If there's any hire that will make or break the Dykes era, this is the one.

So with Pete Perot likely staying in the South, who will he go after? Obviously, it could be anyone, but I imagine that Dykes and Tony Franklin will want who's familiar with his Airraid system in some capacity. It could be a big school guy, it could be someone less-known, but I imagine he would have to be able to execute the basic fundamentals of the system. I imagine Dykes will try and get someone he can keep at Cal for quite some time, which is why it'd be unlikely he'd just go for the best big name out there but instead an individual well acquainted with the Franklin tree.

These candidates are pure conjecture. Cal might be going after Steve Marshall for all I know.

Matt Moore, Middle Tennessee State offensive tackles/tight ends coach: Tony Franklin's offensive line coach at Troy in 2006, when the Trojans couldn't be stopped by just about anyone. He replaced Bedenbaugh at Texas Tech as the O-line coach for the second half of Mike Leach's tenure and had plenty of success in keeping sacks and penalties down, particularly during the one year run of the Red Raiders that put them a win away from a national title. Moore also has been part of the genesis of the Leach offense from the beginning, starting when he was an offensive lineman under Leach at Valdosta State.

So he's been familiar with these schemes for about 20 years, and the one year of familiarity with Franklin would have to help. The big issue is whether he's ready to make the West Coast move (he's a Southerner).

Bill Bedenbaugh, West Virginia offensive line coach: Worked with Dykes for nearly a decade at Texas Tech and Arizona, spending five years as the offensive line coach. If there's any offense that rivals Dykes's uniqueness on the collegiate level, it's Holgersen's West Virginia Mountaineers, and Bedenbaugh's offensive line has done their best to power the charge. It'd probably be the most comfortable hire for Dykes from a familiarity standpoint.

The big question is whether Bedenbaugh would be up for a lateral move from Morgantown to Berkeley and whether the salaries would match. This would be a tough pull, but well worth the effort.

Robert Anae, Arizona offensive line coach: Mike Leach's original offensive line coach at Texas Tech when Dykes was still the wide receivers coach. One of the holdovers after Mike Stoops was fired, he helped quickly implement Rich Rod's schemes and allowed Arizona to explode forward in his second season in Tucson. Anae is on the older side, but he is probably the only one on this list who has extensive West Coast experience in a spread type scheme.

Would he be willing to switch it up from the spread option back to a more familiar type of offense? Would he leave Arizona after one season? Hard to tell.

Darren Hiller, Nevada offensive line coach
: Not from the Leach tree, but he's familiar with unconventional offenses. At Arkansas State his offensive lines executed plenty of spread option, and he's spent the last year coaching up Nevada, a team whose offense we're regrettably familiar with.

In terms of cultural fit, Hiller might not be so bad. He is originally from the Bay Area and played at Chabot College. It's unclear how he would mesh with the offensive philosophies of the current coaching staff though.

Brandon Jones, East Carolina offensive line coach: A bit younger than anyone else on this list (28), Jones might not be quite as proven as the rest of the coaches on this list, having spent one year at Sam Houston State before joining Ruffin McNeil's staff at ECU the past two seasons. But he is also familiar with the West Coast (he went to high school in Oregon) and he might be more comfortable with a move than some of the other coaches here. He was an excellent center at Texas Tech, earning Rimington Award nominee recognition.

It wouldn't be quite as desirable as some of the other candidates listed. But the thing with the Airraid is you just need an offensive line coach who's familiar with the scheme and can implement it quickly. It appears as if all these coaches above will fit the bill.

Shawn Bostick, Murray State offensive line coach
: Teamed up with Chris Hatcher (another Mumme disciple) and has done great work with him the last decade at Valdosta State, Georgia Southern and Murray State. Hatcher also likes to run high tempo (although he's more focused on passing than total offense like Dykes). Big concern could be recruiting and how well he performs at a higher level, but he definitely has a lot of coaching chops and familiarity with these schemes.

Andy Richman, Valdosta State offensive line coach:
Team just won another Division II title using the original Hal Mumme strands of Airraid offense. Was part of Wisconsin's offensive lines as the quality control coach. Possibly a young up and comer.

Mason Murray, McMurry offensive line coach:
Didn't do so well at New Mexico State at Mumme, but he's performing quite alright down at McMurry, where his team just won something called the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas bowl.

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