Canadian Football League

Friday, September 02, 2005

Former Canadian Football League QB, now college coach

The offensive coordinator was irate. Sitting in the coaches’ booth high above the football field, Jeff Tedford bellowed into his headset, demanding answers from his receivers coach.
With his team backed up against its own goal line in the 1992 season opener against Utah, Fresno State head coach Jim Sweeney had changed Tedford’s play.
“What did he call?” Tedford shouted to Steve Mooshagian through his headset.
“I’m not going to tell you, because I don’t want you to go crazy,” Mooshagian retorted.
Tedford: “You gotta tell me, what’s the God damn play?”
“Then he sees us line up,” Mooshagian recalls, “and he goes, ‘He didn’t call double pass, did he?’ I said, ‘Yep.’ And as soon as he said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ (the play) goes 95 yards for a touchdown.
“We used to throw the ball out of our end zone all the time,” said Mooshagian, entering his third year as Sacramento State’s head coach. “Coach Sweeney taught us both that when you’re near, you’re far, and when you’re far, you’re near.”
Ten years later in Berkeley, Tedford found himself very far.
Far from respectability, inheriting a UC Berkeley team that went 1-10 in 2001. Far from expectations, toting an underachieving quarterback named Kyle Boller whose arm was wilder than his new head coach’s expectations of him. And, against Baylor in his head coaching debut, far from the goal line, with the Golden Bears sitting on their own 29-yard line after the opening kickoff. So Tedford reached into his old boss’s playbook and called double pass.
Seventy-one yards later, Berkeley had embarked on a three-year transformation that has the program ranked No. 19 by the Associated Press heading into its season opener at 2 p.m. Saturday against the Hornets.
At Berkeley, Tedford has added Boller and Aaron Rodgers to his long list of quarterback prodigies. He’s been courted for coaching positions in the NFL and other top collegiate programs, but has stayed in Berkeley to further the growth.

Third-year Hornet coach Steve Mooshagian talks with his son, freshman receiver Bobby, during a fall practice.Andrew Nixon/State Hornet
If there’s one man who truly understands the method to Tedford’s offensive genius, he’ll be standing on the opposing sideline Saturday, working his own brain to stump a friend and shock a college football nation.
Mooshagian knows Berkeley’s head man well beyond X’s and O’s.
He knows that Tedford slept in the office of his brother’s warehouse while attending Cerritos Junior College in Southern California. He knows that Tedford currently sleeps in his office at Cal, but these days it’s more out of paranoia than necessity.
He knows that Tedford came to football practice at Cerritos in a beat up truck. He knows that Tedford showered in the community college’s bathroom.
Before starring together as teammates at Cerritos – Tedford at quarterback and Mooshagian at receiver – the two competed against each other at rival high schools in Downey, Calif., where Mooshagian, a 1977 graduate from Downey High, drove a 1968 Mustang to campus.
“He was a cocky rich kid from the other side of town,” said Tedford, who graduated in 1979 from Warren High. “He always had nice things, and I didn’t have anything, really. But he was always very generous.”
The two pals and teammates went on to play together at Fresno State, where Tedford earned honorable mention All-American honors at quarterback before playing in the Canadian Football League. Mooshagian played shortly for the Los Angeles Express of the USFL after college, before returning to Fresno State as a receivers coach.
Tedford would soon join Mooshagian on the Fresno State coaching staff, first as a quarterbacks coach and then as offensive coordinator. The two studied the game together, exchanged offensive philosophies and eventually left Sweeney’s program to become offensive coordinators elsewhere – Tedford at Oregon and Mooshagian at Nevada and then Pittsburgh.
“They’ll do everything they have to do (to win),” said Tim Skipper, who played under Tedford at Fresno State and currently serves as Mooshagian’s defensive coordinator. “Stay up late at night, come in early. And they both work hard to get the best out of their guys.”
In 2002, Tedford would get his first crack at collegiate head coaching shot in Berkeley. A year later, Mooshagian got his at Sac State.
Knowing what he knows now, Mooshagian said he wouldn’t have accepted the Sac State position.
“If I would have been offered this job under the same terms again,” he said. “You know, if this were two years ago, I wouldn’t take it. Not being able to hire your own coaching staff, not being able to hire your own trainer, equipment manager, strength coach. Not being able to have your own recruiting class. You just kind of inherited everything for a year. And we have a lot of coaches who were coaching for nothing for sixth months. They weren’t getting paid.
“But I’m here. I’m loving it. I’m living my dream.”
A dream that now involves coaching his own son, Bobby, a freshman wide receiver.
Mooshagian says coaching salaries and facilities have improved at Sac State over his three years, with the help of athletic director Terry Wanless and President Alexander Gonzalez. However, he dreams of a day when he doesn’t have to deal with the tedious tasks of mid-major college coaching, such as finding cleats for a transfer quarterback or swatting at flies in his office. But while it’s Tedford who currently lives the coaching high life, Mooshagian is quick to remind his old friend of days when the tables were turned.
“Donna, his wife, used to pack him his lunch every day,” Mooshagian said, referring to the two coaches’ days in Fresno. “And she would give him just one piece of cheese with two pieces of bread, so it was just a cheese sandwich.
“When he went to Oregon, I called him and asked him, ‘Now that you’re making more money, is Donna giving you bologna?’ And then I’ll ask him next time, ‘Are you getting two pieces of cheese on your sandwich?’ ”
When the two meet at midfield on Saturday, Tedford expects to hear more tales derived from 30 years of friendship.
“See the things that he remembers?” Tedford said. “He knows what kind of sandwiches I was eating. He’s a jokester, he remembers a lot of little things.
“He’s full of it.”
Who to watch SaturdayOn CaliforniaMarshawn Lynch, RB: He averaged 8.8 yards per carry last year as a freshman, backing up J.J. Arrington. The Pac 10’s most explosive player, behind Reggie Bush of USC. Joe Ayoob and Nate Longshore, QB: Ayoob, a junior college transfer, is the more athletic of the two. He was referred to in junior college as the “white Michael Vick.” Longshore, a redshirt freshman, is expected to start and has a better arm.
On Sac State Ryan Mole, RB: Despite playing in just nine games, he gained 858 yards rushing and averaged 5.9 yards per carry as a freshman. Ryan Coogler, WR: The junior will be looked at to fill the void left by Fred Amey. He scored two touchdowns last season and had 254 receiving yards. Matt Logue, LB: The senior has started each of his first three seasons. While the team tries to figure out its quarterback situation, the defense will be relied on heavily.


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