No truth to the rumor that new quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo needs to say the secret code word to gain admittance to Cal's coaches meetings.
With offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Jim Michalczik and wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator Eric Kiesau reunited with head coach Jeff Tedford this season, the Bears' offensive staff looks a lot as it did when Tedford took over the program in 2002. Add in running backs coach Ron Gould, who predates Tedford on Cal's staff, and it would be hard to blame Arroyo for feeling like an outsider trying to join an exclusive club.
"Marcus Arroyo is looking at us like, 'What are you guys talking about?' " Michalczik said. "When you're with a new staff, you're always wondering where, what and how? With this group, you just go and run. There's that trust. You're not worrying about what someone else said or why someone is doing something. You have that common ground."
It's not a coincidence that Cal's 2011 offensive coaching staff is a sequel to Tedford's early years in Berkeley. Tedford, desiring to spend more time working with Cal's quarterbacks, wanted to surround himself with coaches he can trust in case his time in the quarterbacks room forced him to take his finger off the pulse of the entire program at times.
But it also was a case of fortunate timing. Michalczik, who spent the past two seasons on the Raiders staff, was available in the offseason after head coach Tom Cable was not brought back by owner Al Davis. Kiesau was Colorado's offensive coordinator the past two seasons but was let go when head coach Dan Hawkins was fired.
"In meetings, we're so familiar with each other that you don't have to explain every little detail, because they already know all those details," Tedford said. "You don't take anything for granted, but there's just a real comfort level in the experience that we've had working together. There's a lot of clarity on offense. We're really used to each other."
Michalczik was part of Tedford's original staff in 2002 and stayed in Berkeley until moving to the Raiders in 2009. Kiesau also came to Berkeley with Tedford before moving to Colorado as wide receivers coach in 2006. Gould has been on Cal's staff since 1997.
That means Arroyo and second-year tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Genyk are the only current offensive coaches who weren't part of Tedford's original staff.
"We'll be talking about a game against UCLA eight years ago, and (Arroyo) will be like, 'Well, I didn't know that,' " Kiesau said. "So he has to catch on as much as he can. As soon as we got back in that room together, everyone started talking and reflecting about old stories or what worked and didn't work, or how we did things. All of those experiences in the past are helping us now."
Kiesau said Tedford seems "more at ease" than in Kiesau's first stint in Berkeley, and believes part of that is the relationship he has with his longtime offensive assistants.
"Hopefully, he does feel confident in myself, Michalczik and Gould," Kiesau said. "He has that trust level. He'll always watch and know what's going on, but he'll let us make the correction on our own. We're all on the same page."
And although Arroyo is new to the staff, he also has a familiarity with Cal's coaches. Arroyo is a former San Jose State quarterback and offensive coordinator who wanted to play for the Bears and participated in some of Cal's summer camps early on during Tedford's tenure.
"You have to pick it up fast," Arroyo said. "But I was fortunate to know those guys for a while when I was at San Jose. I've known Coach (Tedford) that whole time."