Preview 2017: Fresno State & Jeff Tedford Will Make O Roll
With the hiring of Jeff Tedford, Fresno State’s O will roll. But will it be enough?
You hired Jeff Tedford, Fresno State. Get ready to start scoring again.
Turning 56 this football season, Tedford isn’t the hot young go-getter or the rising star. He’s a retread, but he’s a star among the coaching circles and few are better at coaching up quarterbacks or getting an offense moving.
The brand name adds a little something – there’s not going to be a ton of explaining to do about who he is and what he brings to the table – and he should be ready to attack the task of not just turning the program around, but making it nice and pretty in the realignment discussions.
For now, though, just a few nice scoring drives would be a start. And then, world dominance.
The Mountain West has had its moments in the do-over world of coaches. Bob Davie is doing just fine at New Mexico, and Rocky Long is shooting for his third-straight Mountain West title, but Fresno State is a little bit different from the pack. It’s going to be looking for even more than just a conference championship.
Past head coaches – most notably, and boisterously, Pat Hill – made it well known that Fresno State could and should be a major national player. He famously threw down the gauntlet that his team would play anybody, anywhere, anytime, and that notion has stuck for the fan base.
Now it’s up to Tedford to be the coach to get the program up to the level to match the mindset and the attitude. He needs to make it the star of the conference.
But first, he has to make Fresno State better than miserable.
It’s been a while since Tedford was the head coach at Cal, getting fired at the end of the 2012 season after going 3-9. But in his 11 years he had just two losing seasons, took the program to eight bowl games, won a piece of a conference title, and cranked up the offense during a time when USC ruled the world and others, like Oregon, were rising up into stardom.
Basically, what Fresno State is looking for out of its new guy is the 2013 season – led by head coach Tim DeRuyter and quarterback Derek Carr – and put up silly numbers on the way to an 11-1 regular season. And do that every year.
Fortunately, there’s a chance for a quick turnaround after finishing 120th in the nation in total offense. Under Tedford, the passing game will instantly be more efficient and effective, and the points will start coming.
The Bulldogs that put up 564 points just four seasons ago, was only able to manage 212 last year. With ten starters back after a season of trying to build up the talent experience, there’s a lot to work with.
The defense is also promising. There needs to be a pass rush, and slowing down someone’s running game is going to be a chore – nasty run D wasn’t always a positive for Tedford’s Cal teams – but if this all works like it’s supposed to, the offense should pick up most of the slack.
At the very least, Tedford will help boost the profile of the program. It’s the type of hire Purdue or Minnesota or even Baylor could’ve made, and few would’ve batted an eye.
You’re going to have an offense again, Fresno State. Start there, and hope the wins follow.