Monday, February 9, 2009

On Second Thought, I'd Rather Work for Al?

This story may not get a lot of press outside of the Bay Area, but it is a big story for Cal fans. Coach Michalczik, just months after taking the OC job at UW, is leaving to be an assistant for the Raiders under new coach Tom Cable. His title is not official, but it will likely be offensive line coach.

Why am I so excited about this? Because Michalczik knows the Cal offense, and particularly the run and protection schemes, inside and out. That would have given the Huskies an advantage defensively when they played Cal. He also knows a bit how Tedford's staff thinks, prepares, and game plans. This too would have helped UW when it plays Cal.

The more pressing question is why he left. Remember he said the UW job offer was too good to pass up - $350k/year (double his Cal pay), OC title (though still not play-calling), and getting back up to Washington where he and his wife have family. What changed? I suppose if he had NFL aspirations, it makes sense, but he never struck me as that kind of coach. And even if the pay is similar, the cost of living is much higher in the bay. Plus, now he's back in CA instead of Washington.

My theory: he didn't like what he saw when he got up there, and when Cable called him (and there was a prior relationship there), he didn't have to think it over very long. Specifically, I think the recruiting "practices" Sarkisian and Holt brought over from USC might have had something to do with it. In just two months, they have already self-reported two minor NCAA violations. This is typically a sign there are more violations going on, or else practices that are likely to lead to violations.

Plus, right after he was hired, Sarkisian hired Holt as DC for about twice what Coach M had just signed for. I am sure that made him feel valuable.

Michalczik always struck me as the consummate professional, a straight-ahead, old-fashioned guy. If he left two months after taking that sweet of a deal in his home state, for a lateral move to a job under Al Davis, something rubbed him the wrong way.

Link to Condotta's piece from the Seattle Times.


Bear with Fangs said...

Apparently, Michalczik claims there's no behind the scenes agenda.

As for Michalczik not being to help Sark against Cal in the future, I agree with you there. It may have helped to the extent that Tedford has had Bellotti's number for the most part.

The question though, is how much Coach M has already told the Wash staff about what Cal is like..

SD said...

Ha ha BWF, that's exactly what I thought: what does Sark already know? However, my guess is Sark put in his own offense but wanted JM to tweak it with blocking and protection schemes. Since Spring practice hasn't even started, I am not sure how much could really be transmitted to the players.

You can draw it up and talk about it all you want, but until you get out there are start hitting and playing with live bodies, it won't really stick. Plus, Sark pretty much has to abandon most of what JM told him, if anything, since his replacement won't be able to actually teach the kids how to do it.

As for Coach M's comments, while I do believe the call from Cable was a better offer, I think it is telling that he hadn't signed the contact yet. Either he was hoping the Raiders thing might materialize, or he wanted to get up there, see what Sark was all about and leave the door open to renegotiate later.

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