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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 12, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Thursday afternoon links and notes — Where does UW go now? UPDATED

With the Keith Heyward hiring official, the question now becomes how UW fills the last remaining spot on its nine-man coaching staff.

Heyward was hired as defensive backs coach, leaving some flexibility for how the Huskies fill that last vacancy instead of necessarily hiring two coaches for the secondary, as they had with the old staff (with Jeff Mills handling safeties and Demetrice Martin cornerbacks).

That has only intensified recent rumors that UW has been making a play at Tosh Lupoi, the defensive line coach at Cal who is also known as one of the best recruiters in the Pac-12, if not all of college football — he was named the Rivals.com Recruiter of the Year in 2010, for instance, and he’s been cited as a key factor in Cal’s recent big haul of recruits for the Class of 2012.

UW-Lupoi has mostly been message-board fodder so far, though most coaching stuff usually is as people rarely go on the record with these kinds of things. But the rumor has picked up steam in recent days, even going as far as that there may have been meetings between UW and Lupoi at the recent coaches convention in San Antonio.

It’s been thought highly unlikely Lupoi would leave Cal due to his deep ties to the school and the area at large — detailed well in this good ESPN.com story from last spring.

But the rumors have persisted, some wondering if Lupoi would be swayed by a big offer, possibly more responsibility in rebuilding UW’s defense, and a connection to new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox —- Lupoi played at Cal when Wilcox was a coach there from 2003-05. Lupoi is reported to be making $164,000 at Cal, a figure the Huskies could easily surpass.

ESPN.com’s Greg Biggins, however, seemed to quash the rumors that Lupoi might leave earlier today while also giving validity to the rumors that UW has been talking to Lupoi. Biggins Tweeted Tweeted in a response to a question about UW and Lupoi that “they tried, but he’s happy at Cal.” He also wrote that “They’re still trying, haven’t thrown the kitchen sink in yet, I guess.”

If Lupoi (or any other DL coach) were to come, it wouldn’t be to replace Johnny Nansen, who will remain on staff but could instead have duties solely as special teams coach/recruiting coordinator.

Another name that has made the rounds is that of Inoke Breckterfield, who played alongside Heyward at Oregon State and was UCLA’s defensive line coach last season but recently was moved into an off-field operations role under new head coach Jim L. Mora.

For now, what we do know is that UW has eight coaches in the fold to begin the big last recruiting push on Friday when a full contact period begins. That contact period lasts 16 days before a quiet/dead period begins on Jan. 29 that leads into letter-of-intent signing day on Feb. 1.

UPDATED, 8:30 P.M. — A couple more interesting Tweets from Biggins since I first posted this as he responded to a question that he thinks it would take “close to $1 mil” (meaning million) to get Lupoi to come to Washington. As I wrote above, he made a reported $164,000 last year at Cal. As Biggins noted earlier, and as other rumors have also stated, UW may be putting a hard press on Lupoi to try to get him north, even if it sounds like he’s predisposed to want to stay at Cal — trying to make him an offer he may not be able to refuse, so to speak. As Biggins notes, UW “pretty much has an open checkbook” if it wants to try to lure assistants — especially now with the influx of Pac-12 TV money, which helped bring up the bottom teams financially but also made the rich richer.

IN OTHER NEWS. …

— ESPN.com reports that Alabama’s interview with UW offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will happen this week.

— Former Oregon State QB Ryan Katz announced today he is transferring to San Diego State, where he will be immediately eligible to play. That means he could be the starter for the Aztecs when they open the 2012 season in Seattle against UW on CenturyLink Field on Sept. 1. Former USC receiver Brice Butler is also transferring to San Diego State and also would be eligible to play against UW next season.

— Here’s my story for the print edition on the Heyward hiring.

— Rivals.com recruiting analyst Adam Gorney Tweeted today that one Oregon State commit, Cleveland Wallace, said “everything has changed” due to Heyward’s move to UW. Wallace is a cornerback from San Jose rated three stars by Rivals.

— Here’s a little more on Heyward’s recruiting at Oregon State.

— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller had a few UW mentions in his weekly live chat today.

Jon Wilner with some interesting stuff on the potential challenges of getting every game on TV during the opening weekend of the season next year, speculating it could mean some games move to Sunday. You wouldn’t think UW would do that with a trip to LSU the following weekend, however.

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