By Bill Swartz
“You look at their offense and they are very very similar, a lot of things that look alike,” said Washington Husky head coach Chris Petersen about Saturday night’s visiting football opponent, Fresno State.
There’s good reason Petersen would offer that assessment. The Bulldog’s head coach Jeff Tedford spent last season as a special consultant to the UW coaching staff. It was a perfect fit for two men who share congruent philosophies about how to build winning college programs.
Tedford enjoyed great success as head coach at the University of California between 2002-2012, racking up the most bowl wins, conference victories, and games coached in school history. In his final three seasons in Berkeley, the Golden Bears won 15 games and lost 22. Cal’s football program also had the lowest graduation rate in the Pac-12, and Tedford was fired with $6.9 million still owed over the final three years of his contract.
After one year in charge of the Canadian Football League BC Lions, Tedford needed a landing place to stay in touch with football and found Petersen willing to create an advisory role for him in Seattle. The 55-year-old Tedford took some of the winning formula along with him to Fresno State when he was hired as head coach by his alma mater.
“Discipline is something that doesn’t just happen on a field, it happens in every thing you do in a program. Be it academics, to being on time for things, all the little things. Coach Pete (Petersen) does a great job there with that. I was able to see that last year first hand,” said Tedford during his Monday press conference.
Tedford has worked with some some extremely talented quarterbacks through his football journeys. The list includes Trent Dilfer, Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers. After watching Jake Browning up close for a year, there is high praise for the Huskies offensive leader.
“He’s the ultimate student of the game. He’s very smart and very poised and very accurate, especially throwing the intermediate balls,” coach Tedford observed. “He may be one of the best progression passers that I’ve seen as far as working things from left to right all the way back across the field.”
Tedford inherits an extremely unusual schedule in his first year at the helm of a rebuilding Fresno State program. In the season opener the Bulldogs crushed the small private college Incarnate Word 66-nothing. Last Saturday they traveled to Tuscaloosa to face #1 ranked Alabama, losing 41-10 to the Tide.
Now they have #6 ranked Washington at Husky Stadium. Don’t expect Chris Petersen to call off the Dawgs just because a good friend is on the other sideline.
More UW-Fresno St. connections
Fresno State has more ties to the Husky program. Receivers coach Kirby Moore played for Chris Petersen at Boise State. The Prosser, Washington native is the younger brother of quarterback Kellen Moore, and last year served as a grad assistant on Petersen’s UW staff.
The Bulldogs defensive backs coach is J. D. Williams, another ex-Husky assistant who is also the brother of the late Washington safety Curtis Williams.
Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Radio coverage begins with KOMO Kickoff at 1:30 p.m. on am 1000/ fm 97.7
by Bill Swartz, KOMO Newsradio