With Cal moving toward more pro-style sets and greater use of the tight end, the replacement for Marques Tuiasosopo (headed to Rice as their offensive coordinator) looked be in that vein. Justin Wilcox has gone with that familiarity, in bringing former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator George Patrick ‘Geep’ Chryst on board, formally announcing the hire Monday.
Chryst has a handful of connections to Wilcox and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, with the Musgrave connection being the strongest. The two worked together on the Denver Broncos staff in 2017-18, with Musgrave serving as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator and Chryst serving as the tight ends coach. Chryst is also the older brother of Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, under who Wilcox served as a defensive coordinator in 2016.
Chryst hasn’t coached at the college level since 1990 (when he was the quarterbacks coach at the University of Wyoming), but he brings a wealth of experience at the pro level with him. His most success came with the 49ers, where he was the quarterbacks coach for the team’s string of success under Jim Harbaugh. Chryst helped Alex Smith to career highs in nearly every passing category in 2011, and helped to develop Colin Kaepernick, leading the 49ers to two more NFC championship appearances and a Super Bowl appearance.
Chryst also has experience with Pac-12 football, as one of his sons, Keller, played for Stanford from 2014 to 2017 (prior to transferring to Tennessee). His younger son, Jackson, walked on at Oregon State and is currently on the Beavers’ roster.
With Cal starting their spring football schedule Wednesday, Chryst comes in to work with a tight end group that has experience and a few more younger players than there have been in recent year. Jake Tonges, Collin Moore, Gavin Reinwald, and Elijah Mojarro all saw time at the position a year ago, while Nick Alftin and Jake Muller are looking to earn more playing time. Jermaine Terry comes in as a highly touted tight end this spring, while Keleki Latu will add to the group in the fall. With Musgrave wanting to utilize the tight end more, the Bears got someone familiar with how he wants to teach the position.