A tale of two offenses

Most football teams stick with the proven formula when things are working and try something new when things aren't working. But Tennessee and Game 1 foe California are going to be exceptions to that rule during the 2006 season.

Although the Vols struggled on offense last year, head coach Phil Fulmer brought in a coordinator (David Cutcliffe) who will run essentially the same attack in 2006. Conversely, the Golden Bears thrived on offense last year, yet Jeff Tedford brought in a coordinator (Mike Dunbar) who is adding all kinds of new wrinkles in 2006.

Obviously, Fulmer's decision to change coordinators rather than change schemes shows faith that Cutcliffe can get UT's offense back to where it was during his previous stint as Vol coordinator in 1994-98.

Meanwhile, Tedford's decision to change coordinators AND schemes shows he's willing to roll the dice and gamble that Cal's attack can become even more unpredictable and even more difficult to defend.

Brett Edgerton, writing for ESPN.com, thinks Tedford deserves high marks for guts. Here's what Edgerton had to say in a recent preview of the Cal offense:

"If you're considered a great offensive mind, like California coach Jeff Tedford, it would be easy to rest on your laurels and stick with whatever plan has worked in the past. So give Tedford some credit for bringing in offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar, who directed the high-powered Northwestern offense in a much different manner from what the Bears have been used to lately.

"Tedford will still call the plays, but Dunbar will have plenty to say in game planning and the spread option he brings over from Evanston will play a role in the offense. The Cal receivers aren't as tall as many around the Pac-10, but they are quick and the spread will give them more room to move around.

"If all goes as planned, the receivers will often be spread across the field and defenders won't be able to stack the line of scrimmage to stop the explosive Marshawn Lynch-Justin Forsett tailback tandem. Plus, these new formations should make it a little tougher to predict the direction of the run plays, which was almost always toward the tight end side in recent years."


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