Around the start of the year, it was announced that Tommy Tuberville had removed Art Kaufman from his role as defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bearcats. It was a bit of a shock at the time and rumors swirled as to why the move was made.
After all, Kaufman had been on Tuberville’s staff since his time at Texas Tech, joining him there in 2012 and completely overhauling the Red Raiders’ defense. Last season with the Bearcats, he led Cincinnati to a 9th overall ranking in total defense, 6th in rushing defense, and 29th in passing defense. UC was also the 26th best team in the country in stops behind the line of scrimmage and 19th in sacks. But those numbers are deceiving. Cincinnati faced one of the weakest schedules in college football last year. 7 opponents posted no more than 4 wins on the season and one of the teams that did was FCS Northwestern State (6-6).
Plus, when the Bearcats were exposed on defense, they were exposed badly. All you need to do is watch tape from Cincinnati’s games with Illinois and North Carolina, both teams with above average offenses, to see for yourself.
However, it was later revealed that Kaufman’s failures on the recruiting trail may have cost him his job. Despite everything he had done on and in preparation for gameday, Tuberville opted to go a different direction due to the fact that the DC only reeled in 1 prospect (Marcus Tappan) in the 2014 class. By comparison, new co-defensive coordinator Robert Prunty signed 13 recruits on his own.
Tuberville clearly emphasizes preparing the program for the future first and foremost ahead of preparing the team for their next opponent.
So before the month was over, the California Golden Bears extended Kaufman an offer which he probably gladly accepted. Now we’re learning that Cal’s new defensive coordinator will be making about $550,000 in his new two-year deal. That’s roughly a 200-grand raise over his previous salary of $355,000 when he was at Cincinnati. The PAC-12 pays well, apparently.
Will the half-million Cal is dumping on Art Kaufman’s lawn for the next two seasons be worth it? That remains to be seen but I’d be wary to put money on him considering the Bears face offensive juggernauts Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Arizona, and Arizona State on a weekly basis. Also, you can’t sleep on the Mike Leach-led Washington State squad who threw the ball around more than anyone in the country last season. If Kaufman can slow them down and elevate Cal’s defense in general, he will be earning every penny of that $550,000 paycheck.