Former Cincinnati defensive coordinator Art Kaufman will be the defensive coordinator at Cal, sources told FootballScoop on Wednesday.
A longtime Tommy Tuberville lieutenant, Kaufman served as his defensive coordinator at Ole Miss from 1995-98 (and then stayed on in 1999 and 2000 under David Cutcliffe) and then again at Texas Tech in 2012 and at Cincinnati in 2013. Kaufman has specialized in turnaround efforts, helping Texas Tech jump from 114th nationally to 38th in total defense and 110th to 53rd in yards per play allowed from 2011 to 2012, and then aiding Cincinnati's massive improvement in 2013. After finishing in the middle of the pack in total defense and yards per play in 2012, the Bearcats leaped to ninth in total defense and 10th in yards per play in 2013, while also ranking 14th in scoring defense, sixth in rushing defense, seventh in yards per carry allowed and 16th in yards per pass attempt allowed.
Clearly, Kaufman has the play-calling chops to help an ailing Bears defense that finished last in the Pac-12 in total defense, yards per play, scoring defense, passing defense and pass efficiency defense.
Kaufman is one of the most experienced defensive assistants in college football, with experience dating back to 1983 at Northwestern State, Louisiana Tech, Arkansas Tech, East Carolina, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, North Carolina, in addition to two stays at Ole Miss and the aforementioned stays at Texas Tech and Cincinnati. He's been a defensive coordinator for 16 seasons.
He helped Ole Miss appear in four straight bowl games from 1997-2000, and led the Rebels to a No. 4 finish nationally in rushing defense in 1999.
In 16 seasons as a BCS-level assistant at Ole Miss, North Carolina, Texas Tech and Cincinnati, Kaufman holds a record of 115-76 with 13 winning seasons. Whether that's a product of Kaufman's coaching or simply his ability to find himself onto talented rosters and staffs, Cal will take it.
While Kaufman's prowess as a defensive play-caller is unquestioned, where this hire will truly become a success is if he can quickly acclimate himself to the California recruiting scene. It's impossible to project how he'll fare in this department because he's never done it before. Kaufman is an Arkansas native that's spent his entire life in the Southeast, save for his one season at Texas Tech.
Kaufman's hiring means that Cal has only one vacant spot on its 2014 coaching staff - defensive backs. Sources tell us that hire should be made within the week.
After a 1-11 debut season in Berkeley, Sonny Dykes is banking on a quick acclimation to the West Coast recruiting scene and an instant fix to the Bears' ailing defense.