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Football: The Tosh Hangover is subsiding

By Jeff Faraudo
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 at 4:38 pm in Football, Spring practice.

Two weeks into spring football and the hangover following the loss of popular defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi seems to be over.

There are no hard feelings among Cal’s D-linemen, and they are embracing new position coach Todd Howard.

“It’s definitely not fair, especially when you’ve got a coach like Lupoi, who is so young and close to our age and able to connect to our generation,” redshirt sophomore defensive end Gabe King said after practice Tuesday. “It’s hard to move to a guy that’s a lot older. At first we had to warm up a little bit because we were bitter. We lost Coach and no one knew we were going to lose him.

“But the adjustment wasn’t too hard. We’re warming up really well. Coach Howard understands that it took time. He just keeps coming full force with embracing us as his players. That’s all that really matters.”

Howard, with more than 20 years of experience coaching in the NFL and at the college level, replaced Lupoi, the recruiting dynamo who left for a bigger contract at Washington.

Howard is 46. Lupoi is 30, talks the language and recruited most of Cal’s current defensive linemen.

Junior Deandre Coleman, projected as a started defensive end, paused for a moment when asked he if was angry when Lupoi left.

“I was a little bit, but there wasn’t much I could do about it,” he said. “He recruited me. That’s my coach, but he’s like a friend, too. It is kind of tough seeing him go, but it’s a job.”

Coleman, a Seattle native, said Howard and Lupoi are totally different in every way. But he’s been won over by the new man.

“He’s good. I like him,” Coleman said. “He brings NFL experience and a lot of college experience. He knows the game. He knows what he’s talking about.

“He’s a funny guy. He’s got a lot of stories. He’s wise.”

Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Todd Barr said Howard tried recruiting him to UCLA. “I really liked UCLA because of coach Howard but I wanted to get away from home,” Barr said. “It’s an easy transition because I already know him.

“He’s funny. He has a lot of knowledge. Has great stories. He’s a great person to be around,” he continued. “They both have energy. I know he may be a little older, but he still flies around. So it’s cool.”

King echoed remarks by Coleman and Barr, saying that Howard’s storytelling ability is an effective teaching tool.

“He’s definitely more of a father figure than Tosh. He brings a lot of wisdom to the table because of his age,” the 6-foot-5, 293-pounder from Burlington, N.C., said. “He’s very good at telling stories and vividly connecting it to football. It’s really amazing. For me, it’s almost like a remembering mechanism. He’s really good at that.”

Howard’s resume, including three seasons as a starting linebacker at Texas A&M and two years playing in the NFL, has practical benefits.

“He brings a rather advanced technique with hand-to-hand combat,” King said. “A  bunch of little disengaging techniques.”

King’s favorite is called The Forklift, and involves grabbing the offensive lineman’s wrists and shooting them upward to disengage.

“Every O-lineman . . . their role is to grab and hold,” King said. “The Forklift is very effective. You’ve just got to master it, you’ve got to be able to wrap your brain around it at full speed.”

Coach Jeff Tedford said Coleman and sophomore Mustafa Jalil are penciled in as starters at the ends, replacing departed seniors Trevor Guyton and Ernest Owusu.

Coleman feels good about the state of the defense. “I think we’ll be great,” he said. “Better than last year.”

Added King, “I’m very confident in our guys.”

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  • Juancho

    And just like that jeff jinxed it.

  • Hungry

    I don’t get these negabears jumping on every opportunity … it was Jeff who said it!

  • calgrizzlybear

    tosh who … this program needs min 8-9 wins period anything less will not do

  • Big D

    Middle Linebackers and OL are this year’s concerns.

  • Daniel

    I admit I was in the “Pay To$h whatever you must to land this class” camp, but…

    It sounds like Howard is a really good coach, teacher of fundamentals and pro level technique. Keenan said the same thing about Wes Chandler.

    That sounds great to fans who have watched too many dropped passes, and missed sacks for years so…Go Bears!

  • abe

    ya right…from the coaching stand point we can say that we have moved on but make no mistake about it we will continue to deal with the reality of him being at washington every day on the recruiting battle. we didnt just lose the best recruiter in the west coast, along with some sick talent from this years class, but we lost him to a pac12 rival that recruits much of the same areas we do. cant get any worse really if you think about it. you can be assured we will continue to pay the price for this every year he is at washington.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Just build a tradition for winning and losses of coaches and recruiters won’t matter. You staters will come up with any excuse you can for your dismal non-Rose Bowl, non BCS, non Heisman, non Pac 10 championship program.

  • Will

    MoreNCS_are_ignored and sanctioned! troll post blocked

    Maybe the $C basketball team should start cheating like the $C football team…that might help them avoid another record low. LOL. oh wait…they already tried cheating!

  • covinared

    I think tosh lowered his future value by going. The guys he recruits now know that he may not be around later. This will pass. Cal will abide.

  • rotfogel

    Love the talent of the defensive line. It’ll be their job to get pressure this season as the great LBs are gone. Can one of the younger LBs step up?

  • covinared

    I think someone will step up just as others have done in the past. The outside seems experienced. Camporeale looks more like an inside guy to me. Forbes was highly regarded in high school. Mullins has experience but has not shown much. Fanua has been around for a while. It looks like the best athletes have been assigned to the outside. They are long and lean, but perhaps one of them can be switched. There is time.

  • Calduke

    Which would have been better for Cal and Tosh;
    if Tosh had moved before or after LOI Day

  • TipsyBear

    If Tosh had waited until after LOI day, Cal would have had a top 5 recruiting class, he would have been named recruiter of the year, and he would have had offers from every top program in the country. At that point, Cal would have probably given him anything he wanted, but if he chose to leave, no one would blame him for second. However, he made a different choice.

  • Jan K Oski

    Screw talk about Dupoi. The kid is gone and never coming back. Mark these words. We will see more sacks this year from the dline than we ever did under Dupoi. He was a great recruiter, but he never taught great athletes how to get to the QB on a continual basis. It sounds like Howard is a vast improvement.

    President Kennedy spoke in Memorial Stadium 50 years ago!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-OY2d5nGvs

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Have the Wonderlic scores from your current players who attended the combines been posted yet? I am just wondering if this current crop had better ones than the previous years. I recall Brandon Mebane had a 9.I also recall the year when Cush, Matthews and a few of our guys outscored your comparable players at linebacker and OL.

  • http://deleted calfaninaz

    morenc:

    do you have a life?

  • Will

    MoreNCS_are_ignored and sanctioned! troll post blocked

    Calfaninaz: Of course not. Mental health issues abound, and he’s unwilling to help himself. That’s what happens when you have a crappy upbrining.

  • Will

    *upbringing.

  • Boaltblue

    MoreNCsareNOTComing:

    What school did you attend? Did you graduate?
    Or are you just a USC WANNABE?

  • Will

    @Boaltblue: UC Davis. Dropped out.

  • bear4life

    Dont antone worry about the middle, the D-line looks so good that it will take some of the pressure off the MLB for the first part of the season then they will take over. Forbes and Wilkerson look like we will not miss a beat in thwe middle if the coaches dont screw around and rotate people all the time. Outside we are good with McCain,Cecil and Camporeale. Start looking at the safeties as a possible concern.