Jeff Tedford is headed back to the Bulldogs.
Fresno State is arranging a news conference for Friday to introduce the alum as its next football coach, sources told The Bee on Wednesday – the former Bulldogs quarterback bringing the Valley ties that athletic director Jim Bartko considers vital to the position, as well as a solid track record that includes a resuscitation of a flat-lining football program.
The Bulldogs, 1-9 and 0-6 in the Mountain West Conference, are at the moment just that.
Fresno State, which fired coach Tim DeRuyter on Oct. 23 with a 30-30 career record and a 4-16 mark since playing in the 2014 conference championship game, has two games remaining this season and is ranked at or near the bottom of the Mountain West and the nation in a majority of key areas on offense and defense.
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The Bulldogs are last of 12 in the conference in total and scoring offense, eighth and 10th in total and scoring defense and stuck in a school-record eight-game losing streak.
I’ve never been around a man who demanded so much respect. He’d walk into the training room and it would be like, ‘Coach is here.’ That’s just the way he carried himself and the discipline he embodied to the team. He was somebody that was well-respected.
Zack Follet, former Cal linebacker under Tedford from Clovis, to The Bee’s Marek Warszawski last week
They also have scored 18.5 points per game, their lowest since 1980 when averaging 17.5.
Tedford, who had an 82-57 record at Cal from 2002-12, is taking on a tough task.
The 55-year-old has been in a similar situation, taking over a Cal team that in 2001 went 1-10 and in his first year putting together a 7-5 season that included improbable road victories at No. 15 Michigan State, at No. 12 Washington and at No. 25 Arizona State.
Cal was a 10-win team two years later, won 10 games again in 2006, and the following the season was 5-0 and ranked No. 2 in the nation when it was upset 31-28 in its homecoming game by unranked Oregon State.
The Bears lost five of their next seven games to finish 7-6 and after rebounding to go 9-4 in 2008, tailed off from there. Cal went 8-5, 5-7, 7-6 and 3-9 in its final four seasons under Tedford.
In his 11 seasons, Cal produced eight first-round NFL draft picks and had 40 players selected overall.
In his 11 seasons, Cal produced eight first-round NFL draft picks and had 40 players selected overall. The list of first-round NFL selections includes quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers. The list of 1,000-yard rushers includes J.J. Arrington, Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett and Jahvid Best.
Tedford in 2014 was hired as offensive coordinator of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers but had to leave the team during the preseason to undergo a heart procedure.
He had planned to return to the Bucs but took a leave of absence in September and was released from his contract in December of that year so he could pursue other opportunities. Later that month, he was hired as head coach of the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League. Under Tedford, the Lions went 7-12 with a loss to the Calgary Stampeders in the playoffs.
This season, he has been an offensive analyst at Washington, which is 9-0, ranked fourth in the nation in both major polls and ranked second in the nation in scoring offense at 48.3 points per game and 18th in total offense at 499.4 yards per game.
I’d recommend Jeff Tedford to anybody. Any school would make a good decision if it hired him.
Former Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, on ex-Ducks offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, to The Bee’s Marek Warszawski last week
Details of the contract have not been finalized, but it is expected Tedford will be among the highest paid coaches in the Mountain West. That spot is now held by Colorado State’s Mike Bobo, who is in the second year of a five-year deal worth $1.45 million this season, $1.55 million in ’17, $1.65 million in ’18 and $1.75 million in ’19.
DeRuyter, who is still owed a guaranteed $3.1 million by Fresno State for the final two years of a five-year contract signed in 2014 after guiding the Bulldogs to back-to-back conference championships, was making $1.5 million this season. That contract is worth $1.55 million in ’17 and $1.6 million in ’18.
Complicating the task ahead for Tedford is an athletic department that has loaded up on football games against Power Five programs to help pay its bills.
The Bulldogs next season will play at Alabama and at Washington, receiving $1.4 million from the Crimson Tide and $1 million from the Huskies. They also have road games against two Power Five opponents on their nonconference schedule in each of the next five seasons.
Fresno State the past three-plus seasons is 0-7 against Power Five teams, losing by 34.0 points per game. And, that is not just a Fresno State problem. The Mountain West this season is 3-13 against Power Five teams, the losses by 26.5 points per game. Last season, the conference was 3-21, the losses by 19.9 points.
Also a damper: a roster light on talent.
In his first season at Cal, Tedford worked with Boller, a senior quarterback with three years of playing experience, which will not be the case with the Bulldogs.
Fresno State went into the season without a player on a preseason All-Mountain West team for the first time since joining the conference in 2012 and obviously has struggled on the field.
In its first four seasons in the Mountain West, Fresno State had 17 players selected to preseason all-conference teams, second to Boise State with 18.
Tedford by the numbers
AP preseason rank