Will the resounding Cal win over Arizona State on Saturday shut up some of the “win-or-else” supporters? One can only hope. Jeff Tedford is the most successful Cal coach since Andy Smith in the 1920s, and those of us who have been around Cal football for a long time appreciate him. But the last couple of years, Tedford and his assistants have been under fire from the know-nothings.
Last year, it was defensive coordinator Bob Gregory who was slammed for what the know-nothings thought was too passive of a defensive scheme. Gregory, who is well respected by his peers, had coached a more aggressive defense the year before — when he had Zach Follett coming off the edge. When you blitz, if you don’t get the quarterback, there’s a lot of one-on-one coverage in the secondary. Without Follett, that’s what Gregory feared.
New coordinator Clancy Pendergast put in some aggressive defensive schemes. One of the leaders of the know-nothings e-mailed me the week after the UCLA game saying that proved they were right the year before. I pointed out that the strong defensive efforts had mostly come against weak offensive teams at home and that the schemes had been no help when the Nevada Wolfpack ran up 51 points on the Bears.