From the moment Justin Wilcox was brought on, the hire was lauded. He was praised as a sharp and young defensive coach, who would become a head coach in the not too distant future. His star was very bright. If he could salvage a University of Washington defense that had just set school records for futility and make it respectable -- or better -- the buzz about him would get louder and louder.
Here we are, nearly a year later, and that's exactly what has happened. The Washington defense is greatly improved, and many will credit coaching as the main cause. Wilcox (as well as Peter Sirmon, Tosh Lupoi and Keith Heyward) have improved the scheme, preparation and execution on the defensive side of the ball drastically, to the point that any shadow of a doubt as to whether Wilcox will get a head coaching gig has been removed. It's just a matter of when.
With the firing of Jeff Tedford, a position that may be as good an opportunity as any for Wilcox has opened up. The connections are there for it to be an ideal location for him. He's a west coast guy having played at Oregon, and coached at Boise State and Washington. And there's the big connection: he coached linebackers in Berkeley for 3 years from 2003 to 2005.
Cal just opened a brand new stadium. There is a ton of high school talent in Northern California. There is talent in the cupboard. The academics are a recruiting edge that few schools can match. Jeff Tedford undoubtedly raised the school's football profile; it's an infinitely more attractive job now than it was 11 years ago. It could be a pretty sweet gig for someone out there. Will that someone be Justin Wilcox? Will Cal be interested in Justin Wilcox? Is Wilcox a "sexy" enough hire for Cal? Do they poach a guy with head coaching experience? Do they look at NFL guys?
And here's another big question: hypothetically, if Wilcox were to head to the Bay Area, who does he take with him? Seems like Sirmon is a lock to follow him if he ever leaves. Does Lupoi go too? Is there enough bad blood between Tosh and Cal's fans and administration to keep him from heading back? Would that cause some of the highly recruited players in Norcal who have verballed to Washington to reconsider?
What do you think they'll do? What would you do if you were Cal? Vote, and discuss.