Hired as a consultant this offseason, Jeff Tedford is prohibited from coaching players. “I’m just here as a resource,” he said.
Jeff Tedford admits his current job is probably the most difficult he’s had during his 27 years coaching football.
The 54-year-old offensive whiz who resurrected a dormant California program a decade ago mostly stands in solitude at Washington practices these days.
Hired as a consultant this offseason, Tedford is prohibited from coaching players.
“I’m just here as a resource,” he said after practice Monday. “I can’t coach players or anything like that. But if I can offer some resources to the coaches with game-planning or watching tape or whatever, I’m here to do anything to help them.”
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Resisting the urge to give coaching tips to a quarterback prodigy like sophomore Jake Browning has been odd for Tedford, who built a reputation as a quarterback guru during his days as an offensive coordinator at Fresno State and Oregon.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Tedford said. “When you’re used to being so involved and kind of running the show and doing things like that, but that’s not my role here.
“My role is just as a resource. And I’m really enjoying it. I’m enjoying watching everybody coach. They have a great staff. They all do a great job on the field and the players have a lot of energy.”
Tedford’s stable of high-profile signal-callers include Aaron Rodgers, Trent Dilfer, Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, David Carr and Kyle Boller.
When asked to evaluate Browning, he said: “Jake looks great in practice. He’s a young guy, but you can tell he’s a student of the game and really takes it seriously. I think he’s got a very bright future.”
The timing of Tedford’s arrival coincides with embattled offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith getting a one-year contract extension.
However, the two situations are mutually exclusive coach Chris Petersen said at the start of training camp.
“It has nothing to do with that,” Petersen said. “We are very lucky that this happened. It just happened.”
Tedford isn’t being considered for a more prominent position on staff, said Petersen. And Tedford is open about his desire to lead a program.
“The goal is to be a head coach again,” he said. “If the right opportunity presents itself, I’d be fired up to do it. I’m anxious to get back into college football.”
Tedford spent his entire collegiate coaching career on the West Coast, most notably as the head coach at Cal from 2002-12. He became the school’s winningest coach (82-57) and was credited with reviving a program that had one victory during the season before his arrival.
Under Tedford, California had a 5-3 record in bowl games and the Bears compiled 10-win seasons in 2004 and ’06. He was twice named the conference’s coach of the year (2002 and 2004).
California, though, posted a 15-22 record during his last three years, including two losing campaigns and a 7-6 mark in 2011 that was culminated by a defeat in the Holiday Bowl.
The Bears released Tedford following a 3-9 campaign in 2012 and hired Sonny Dykes.
Tedford landed the offensive coordinator position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. However, he underwent a heart procedure before the season and took an indefinite leave of absence.
“That was definitely something that came out of the blue,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting that. It took me awhile to recover from that that season. But once I did, I’m 100 percent. I feel great.”
Tedford resurfaced in the Canadian Football League (where he was a journeyman quarterback for six seasons in the 1980s) when he took a job as the head coach of the BC Lions and led them to a 7-11 record in 2015.
Tedford resigned in December and reconnected with Petersen.
They spent three seasons together as assistants at Oregon (1998-2000) where Tedford was as the offensive coordinator and Petersen served as the receivers coach.
“I don’t think I would have done this just anywhere because I really believe in him,” Tedford said. “He does a great job with football, but it’s about the built-for-life thing. I have a lot of respect for him and his integrity and the way he goes about things.”