Jeff Tedford is doing phenomenal work at Fresno State. In fact, Tedford should absolutely be in consideration as it relates to the national coach of the year conversation. Fresno State defeated Boise State 19-16 for their first ever win on the blue turf to claim the Mountain West Conference title. In doing so, they improved their record to 11-2 on the season, avenging one of their two losses. Here is the case for Jeff Tedford and why he needs more recognition.
Case for Jeff Tedford
Sudden rise at Fresno
The 57-year-old Jeff Tedford arrived at his alma mater Fresno State as head coach prior to the 2017 season. All he has done in two years is go 21-6 with a Mountain West Conference championship this season. To put how amazing this is into context, consider that Fresno State was 1-11 the year prior to Tedford’s arrival. In fact, if you go back to the previous three seasons, the Bulldogs lost a total of 28 games. Turns out, that was the worst three year stretch in Fresno State’s football history, which dates back to 1921. Additionally, these two seasons are the first back to back double digit win seasons for Fresno since 1988-1989. During that span, they also won 21 games under Jim Sweeney. As highly regarded as Pat Hill was, he only led Fresno State to one double-digit win season during his 15 years as head coach.
Recipe for 2018 success
Fresno boasts a bevy of offensive weapons, including wide receiver KeeSean Johnson, running backs Ronnie Rivers and Jordan Mims among others. However, quarterback Marcus McMaryion completed 70% of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions. He provided a calming influence along with poise for the Bulldogs offense which was solid overall this year. Tedford’s work with McMaryion is beyond impressive. He improved his accuracy year over year while demonstrating an ability to get the job done due to the high level of coaching received from Tedford.
The real catalyst for Jeff Tedford’s success this season has been the stellar defense. Fresno came into the Mountain West title game with the 17th ranked total defense in the nation. Fresno heads into bowl season having forced 24 turnovers, which is tied for the sixth most in the country. Additionally, they allowed 20 points or more in only four games with the season-high being 27. In fact, Fresno held four opponents to a single digit output while holding the other five below 16 points. Several players have come up huge such as Mykal Walker, George Helmuth, James Bailey, and Jeff Allison.
What sets Jeff Tedford apart
Jeff Tedford is a relentless worker and is clearly never satisfied. He now owns 103 career coaching wins, with 82 of them coming at California. At Cal, he became known for his work with quarterbacks. However, prior to coaching at Cal, he was an assistant at both Fresno State and Oregon. He worked with NFL quarterbacks such as Akili Smith, A.J Feeley, Joey Harrington, Trent Dilfer, and Billy Volek before even accepting the job at Cal. While at Cal, he developed first-round pick Kyle Boller along with some guy named Aaron Rodgers. Tedford simply knows what he is doing when it comes to putting players into the NFL, as well as coaching disciplined football teams.
Several coaches did amazing work, overachieving with their squads in 2018. Coaches such as Dino Babers from Syracuse, Lance Leipold of Buffalo, Bill Clark from UAB among others. However, Jeff Tedford should get strong consideration for national coach of the year. Again, consider how far he has brought this program in such a short amount of time. Certainly, the work he did with Marcus McMaryion and the defense should put him at the top of the list.
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