Jeff Tedford is the top candidate at Fresno State

Fresno State is looking for a new football coach, and they’ve already honed in on a familiar name.

After a loss to Utah State last Saturday to drop their record to 1-7 on the season, Tim DeRuyter was fired as Fresno State football coach on Monday. Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau has been named interim head coach, but the search for someone to replace DeRuyter long-term is surely under way.

Virtually immediately, former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford’s name surfaced as a top candidate to take over at Fresno State. So it’s no surprise Alex Marvez of the Sporting News has reported the school has settled on Tedford as the leading candidate to be their new head coach.

Tedford is a Fresno State alum, and he played quarterback there in 1981 and 1982. He then landed back at the school as quarterbacks coach in 1992 before adding offensive coordinator duties from 1993-1997.

Tedford then became quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Oregon for four seasons (1998-2001), but he really made a name for himself as head coach at Cal from 2002-2012. He had a lot of success in Berkeley, with an 82-57 record over 11 seasons (5-3 in bowl games), but a 3-9 season in 2012 led to his firing.

Tedford was very briefly offensive coordinator in full capacity for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014 before a heart issue surfaced, and he was head coach of the B.C. Lions in the CFL in 2015. This season, Tedford is working as an offensive analyst at the University of Washington under Chris Petersen.

Tedford has produced a first round NFL draft pick quarterback at every stop he’s had along the way as a college offensive coordinator or head coach. Some were outright busts at the next level (Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller), one had a fairly long but ultimately disappointing NFL career (Trent Dilfer), and the clear success story of Tedford’s tutelage is Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Fresno State enters this week 112th in the country in total offense (350 yards per game) and 121st (out of 128) in scoring offense (20.5 points per game). Having a redshirt freshman (Chason Virgil) starting under center is a big factor in that ineptitude, but the defensive acumen DeRuyter carried with him had eroded during a 3-9 2015 campaign and the bad start to this season.

Three members of Fresno State’s coaching staff —Kiesau, receivers coach Burl Toler and special teams coordinator Dave Ungerer — played or coached under Tedford at Cal.

While that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll keep their jobs, Tedford may favor keeping some familiarity around him. Of course that assumes Tedford takes the new gig, but that seems like a formality once the job is posted for 14 days per California law.