Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is considered a hot candidate for one of the six head-coaching openings in the NFL and is reportedly going to be the first candidate interviewed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, via Twitter:
The first candidate the #Bucs will interview is Lovie Smith, per source. He’s a favorite there, lot of mutual interest.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2013
Smith is a former defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay under Jon Gruden and is still well-liked and well-respected by ownership in Tampa.
But wherever Smith lands, there is a report from the National Football Post that says his staff will include former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford as his offensive coordinator.
Citing a source, getting Tedford was a key for Smith as he prepared to assemble a staff. Smith’s forte is defense and his offensive strategies came under fire many times when he was in Chicago.
Tedford coached at Cal from 2002-12 and was an offensive coordinator or quarterback coach at Fresno State and Oregon for a decade prior to taking the job in Berkeley.
Former NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers is Tedford’s most famous quarterback pupil, but he also sent Trent Dilfer, David Carr, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington and Kyle Boller to the NFL. All six were first-round picks.
During Smith’s nine seasons with the Bears, Ron Turner was his offensive coordinator for five of those seasons and the offense was far from dynamic.
Mercurial Mike Martz was the offensive coordinator in 2010-11 and while the offense was more explosive, the offense had the same problem Martz’s offenses had in St. Louis, San Francisco and Detroit—his quarterback got hit, a lot.
Former Vikings head coach Mike Tice was Smith’s offensive coordinator in 2012, when the Bears went 10-6 and missed the playoffs, leading to Smith’s firing.
Tedford, meanwhile, moved the Golden Bears from 104th nationally in total offense in 2001 to 10th in the country in his first year in Berkeley, and Cal would hover among the top offenses in the nation for much of Tedford’s 11 years there.
Tedford has never coached in the NFL, but he did spent three seasons as an offensive assistant with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders after playing six seasons in the CFL. He played quarterback at Fresno State in 1981-82.
The 52-year-old Tedford is Cal’s career coaching leader in games coaches, wins and bowl victories, He was 82-57 with a 5-3 bowl mark in his 11 years in Berkeley.