Thursday, January 25, 2007

SF Chronicle: Dunbar leaving Cal to go to Minnesota

Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer

Cal offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar, who led the Bears to five consecutive games of 40-plus points, is leaving Berkeley to take a similar position at Minnesota, head coach Jeff Tedford said Wednesday.  "I think a lot of it has to do with getting back into a comfort zone," Tedford said. Dunbar "knows that conference, and he wants to get back to running his offense on an every-down basis."  Dunbar could not be reached for comment, and Minnesota officials said he won't be available until a formal announcement later this week.  Dunbar's stint at Cal lasted only a year, a largely successful one in which the Bears averaged 32.8 points, 162.4 rushing yards and 253.2 passing yards per game. To get Dunbar and his spread-option offense from Northwestern, where he led the nation's fourth-most productive unit that broke nearly every school record, Tedford ceded the majority of the play-calling duties.

Though the Bears used some parts and even some plays from the spread, a complete switch was not made. Cal, which only one time in the last 85 years (1991, 36.9) has averaged more points than any of Tedford's five seasons, simply couldn't stray from what has worked and doesn't have the personnel even if the dramatic switch were desired.   "Our offense is still what we put in," Tedford said. "We're always looking to bring in new ideas, but we've been very successful with what we do."  The same goes for Dunbar, who is headed to a Minnesota program that is in flux. It hired as head coach Denver Broncos assistant Tim Brewster, who has not been a top coordinator, let alone a head coach, in the pros or college. Glen Mason was fired two days after the Gophers blew a 31-point, third-quarter lead in the Insight Bowl to lose 44-41 in overtime to Texas Tech in the biggest comeback in major college bowl history.  Tedford said he has a short list of possible replacements, one which he wouldn't share, but he's in no hurry to make a hire.


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