Andy Ludwig isn't at Cal simply to baby-sit Jeff Tedford's offense. It's partly his offense, too.
Ludwig, the Bears' new offensive coordinator, has spent much of his coaching career following around Tedford — and his offense. When Tedford left Fresno State to become the offensive coordinator at Oregon, Ludwig replaced him. The same thing happened when Tedford became the head coach at Cal — Ludwig became Oregon's offensive coordinator.
At both stops, Ludwig retained some of the philosophies Tedford left behind. It's made for a smooth transition now that they have been reunited in Berkeley.
"We don't have to spend a lot of time talking about philosophy and what we're trying to get done," Ludwig said. "I have a pretty good idea of what he wants to look like on offense and the personality that he wants the offense to have."
Tedford was Cal's primary play-caller as recently as two seasons ago and is still heavily involved in devising offensive game plans. But Ludwig could make more of an impact than previous offensive coordinators who have worked under Tedford because of the history between the two men. The 12 years of coordinator experience Ludwig totes from four schools helps, too.
"He understands our offense from the get-go," Tedford said. "He understands why we are doing things. He has a better understanding of why we run certain things because he has run them before as he has followed me in those positions."
Tedford always has been impressed with Ludwig's grasp of offense. He considered hiring Ludwig away from Utah before last season, but the timing didn't work out. The Bears went with Frank Cignetti instead. He left for Pittsburgh after the 2008 season.
Tedford always has allowed his coordinators to incorporate some of their own philosophies into the offense.
"Everybody adds wrinkles, with what you are comfortable with and the things you've had success with in the past," Tedford said. "We talk about things, but I give him total control of being able to add whatever he wants."
Ludwig, who is Cal's fifth offensive coordinator in five seasons, has infused a sense of excitement among Cal's players. Several offensive players have commented on the impact he has made, partly because he was the offensive coordinator for an undefeated team last season and partly because of what he is introducing to the playbook.
Ludwig spent the past four seasons as Utah's offensive coordinator, last year directing an offense that ranked 15th nationally in scoring (37 points per game). The Utes went 13-0, beat Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl and finished second behind national champion Florida in the final Associated Press Top 25.
That put Ludwig in demand after the season. He originally was hired to become Kansas State's offensive coordinator, but that stint lasted only two months before Tedford came calling.
"In the college football world, it's not easy going undefeated," Cal quarterback Kevin Riley said. "Doing that at Utah, beating some of the teams that they played, beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl like they did, you have to have respect for him. He knows what he's doing. So far, I believe we see eye to eye on everything."
While Ludwig has a good understanding of Tedford's pro-style offense, he also has vast experience running the spread offense from his years at Utah. Cal will remain a two-back offense, but Ludwig said the team's personnel dictates implementing some elements of the spread.
"There are some concepts that fit in right away, but like any style of offense it's all about the players and the personnel that run the scheme," Ludwig said. "This is a fast football team, so that makes any transition easy."
Riley says Ludwig's synergetic relationship with Tedford has put everyone involved with the offense on the same page.
"They see so many things so similar," Riley said. "You don't have two different guys telling you two different things. Last year a couple of times, Coach Cignetti would tell me something and then Coach Tedford would tell me something different. (Ludwig's) kind of adapted some of the things that Cignetti brought in, but in his own way. And he's added his own stuff, too. He's definitely made an imprint."