Tedford excited by challenge of NFL, rebuilding Bucs offense
His last three years at Cal-Berkeley, Jeff Tedford felt more like a contractor than a football coach.
He gave up his play-calling duties to devote more time to a $475-million retrofit of Memorial Stadium, including a 140,000 square foot training facility. For nearly two years, protesting tree sitters kept a 24-hour residence in the tall redwoods and oaks that eventually were torn down.
"At one point we had people living in the trees protesting the trees coming down,'' Tedford said. "They were outside my office for about a year and three months. Woke up to them every day banging their drums or whatever it was.''
Tedford, 52, is in charge of another rebuilding project as the Bucs new offensive coordinator under Lovie Smith. Tampa Bay finished last in the NFL in total offense this season. Having spent nearly his entire career at the collegiate level, Tedford says he's ready for the challenge.
"This whole thing is a huge breath of fresh air,'' Tedford said during his introductory press conference Wednesday.
Despite being fired after 11 seasons as the Bears head coach when the program bottomed out, losing his final five games of 2012 to finish 3-9, Tedford said he always kept an eye on the NFL. He is credited for developing Aaron Rodgers at Cal and also had success with quarterbacks with styles that varied from Trent Dilfer to Akili Smith.
But detractors may point to the fact that Tedford has never called plays in the NFL, and in fact, turned those duties over to his staff at Cal in 2010.
The transition can be a difficult one, as the Bucs experienced when they hired Boston College head coach Jeff Jagodzinski as offensive coordinator in 2009. Unable to produce the volume of plays needed at the pro level, Jagodzonski was fired 10 days before the start of the regular season. Tedford sees no such problems with adapting his offense to the NFL.
"I've been calling plays my whole life,'' Tedford said. "Probably the last three years, as we started building that facility, I didn't feel like I could give the right amount of attention to it to get it done and we had some very capable people who understood the offense. I was in every game plan meeting that we had, put the game plan things in and I would still call a few plays throughout the game if we got in a certain situation. Hey, run this, run that type of thing. Not every play, but I've called plays my whole life. I don't have any apprehension about that whatsoever.''
The first order of business for Tedford will be to evaluate the Bucs talent on offense and he has spent the past four days watching every play from the 2013 season. Known as a quarterback guru, Tedford said Wednesday he was impressed with the body of work by rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who went 4-9 as a starter with 19 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.
"I've seen a lot with Mike on tape over the last couple days,'' Tedford said. "It's really hard to know because you don't know what he was asked to do. I think until you look and say, "what was he asked to do?' You don't know if he was doing the right thing or the wrong thing. But my impression, I can tell you, is he did a lot of good things. He's a rookie, he took over the fourth game. So I think his growth and development, I saw some progression through the year with him. I think he's got a lot of poise in the pocket. I don't think he gets frustrated in the pocket. He's pretty smart with the football. When things aren't there, he's throwing them away and making good decisions.
"I see a lot of real positive things with Mike and I'm really looking forward to getting to know him better.''