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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 16, 2012 at 2:29 PM

10 thoughts on Tosh Lupoi coming to UW

I’m never one averse to stealing a good idea. And our own Larry Stone had a good one the other day when the Mariners made big news with the Michael Pineda trade, weighing in with 10 thoughts on what it all meant.

So here’s my own take on 10 thoughts on UW’s addition today of Tosh Lupoi as defensive line coach and defensive run game coordinator. …

1, Lupoi is being hired in large part for his acumen as a recruiter, and with two-plus weeks left to the Feb. 1 LOI day, we’ll see if he can make an immediate impact, or if the impact is more down the road. Most recruiting analysts say it’s better to judge this one in the long term than on just this year. But there are a few obvious recruits to watch who could flip now and greatly enhance UW’s Class of 2012, notably Shaq Thompson, the highly-rated safety from Grant High in Sacramento who had seriously considered UW before picking Cal. As for some others, here’s a good rundown from One thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t necessarily mean all these guys switch from Cal to UW, but that they may switch from Cal to somewhere else. But obviously, simply switching to USC won’t be as much of an option as in the past with the Trojans’ scholarship limitations. Here’s more from the Sacramento Bee on how the hiring of Lupoi could impact recruiting and from BearTalk.

2, While there had been lots of rumors about this the past few days, the reaction from many in the recruiting community is still largely one of surprise. Lupoi had deep ties to Cal and most thought he would ultimately stay put. “I’m very surprised,” said recruiting analyst Greg Biggins, who had earlier said it would take an “Albert Pujols” type deal for UW to land Lupoi. He said as of 36 hours ago everything he had heard was that Lupoi was staying. “I’m guessing this must have all happened in the last 24-36 hours,” he said.

3, Biggins said not to underestimate the impact Justin Wilcox may have had on all of this. Wilcox was an assistant at Cal from 2003-05 when Lupoi was a player there and he said Wilcox “is a mentor” to Lupoi and that Lupoi likely would have followed Wilcox to Texas last year had Wilcox decided to go to Texas as defensive coordinator. “They have been very, very close through the years,” Biggins said. “I can guarantee you he had a huge impact on this, as well.” And in looking at the Wilcox-Lupoi relationship, it’s easy to surmise now that this was all the grand plan when Nick Holt, Mike Cox and Jeff Mills were fired, creating three openings that ultimately were filled by the trio of Wilcox, Lupoi and Peter Sirmon — the latter another coach with a long relationship with Wilcox.

4, UW had kind of been on the sidelines much of December while some other schools used their new-found Pac-12 TV money to upgrade their football programs. But the makeover of the defensive coaching staff is UW’s strike back, and its own flexing of its financial weight. UW is one of the richest and best-supported programs on the West Coast and Husky athletic director Scott Woodward is obviously loosening up the expanding wallet to do what it takes to get UW back to true contender status. It barely needs telling that it was UW’s defense that has to improve for the Huskies to move beyond the above-average status it had reached the last two years to truly contend in the Pac-12. Money and aggressiveness in going after the best assistants obviously won’t be an issue in that effort. For now, how much Lupoi, Wilcox and the other assistants are making is mostly speculation. No doubt Lupoi had to have gotten a significant raise from $164,000 to come to UW. UW had a budget for assistants last year of roughly $2.3 million. Assuming it will be a lot higher than that in 2012.

5, Lupoi’s biggest recruiting impact should be on the state of California and defensive linemen, two areas he’d excelled at with Cal. And it’s no secret that UW’s recruiting in general needed a boost. “California is an area that Washington really needed to improve in, especially with losing Demetrice Martin (to UCLA),” said Jacob Worthen, a recruiting analyst for and Fox Sports. “This more than replaces that void. And a position UW has struggled with is at defensive line and no one has brought in as many good defensive lineman as Cal has, the Cameron Jordan-type of guys that have come in under Lupoi.”

6, If there will be a question about Lupoi’s recruiting going forward, it’s how well the passion he had for Cal — a school he followed growing up, played for and then began his coaching career — will translate to UW. “He had a passion for Cal,” Biggins said. “He went to school there, that was his dream school out of high school.” But much else of what Lupoi brings to recruiting are aspects that should work anywhere, Biggins said. “He’s a young guy who relates well to players,” Biggins said. “Recruiting is all about personal relationships and he did a great job of getting in on guys very, very early in the process and building a relationship that’s not just a coach-player deal but a genuine friendship with the players. They felt like they could totally trust him and they loved the guy and they wanted to play for him.”

7, UW has now transformed its coaching staff from one that had a few more veteran guys known for coaching acumen to a younger one known for recruiting. The oldest coach on the defensive staff now is Johnny Nansen, who graduated from WSU in 1996. Wilcox and Sirmon each graduated from Oregon in 1999, Keith Heyward graduated from OSU in 2000 and Lupoi graduated from Cal in 2005. UW has obviously decided that it will attack its defensive issues largely through trying to recruit the best players possible. And just to reiterate on Nansen, UW coach Steve Sarkisian had announced on Friday he was definitely staying on likely now to concentrate duties on special teams and recruiting coordinator.

8, The lone remaining question on UW’s coaching staff now is what it does for an offensive coordinator to replace Doug Nussmeier. One rumor is that Jimmie Dougherty could be promoted to OC and QB coach (he held both those roles during part of his stint at the University of San Diego) and then filling the last slot with a receivers coach.

9, And worth reiterating that UW dealt some damage to some of its Pac-12 rivals along the way in doing this. UW has beaten Cal three straight years on the field and now has taken the best recruiter away from a school that despite UW’s recent dominance, loomed as a stumbling block on Washington’s path back to the top. Heyward was also regarded as one of Oregon State’s best recruiters, so the Huskies likewise put a chink there in the armor of another Pac-12 North rival. And in Wilcox and Sirmon UW got two coaches who know well the landscape of the school UW ultimately has to get past to win the North — Oregon.

10, Finally, for those who wonder what Lupoi sounds like, here’s some video of an interview from November where he talks some about his coaching philosophy and some other topics:

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