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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

February 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Video — Tosh Lupoi

As noted earlier, today was the first chance local media had to speak with UW’s five new assistant football coaches.

As might be expected, defensive line coach and defensive run game coordinator Tosh Lupoi was a highly-sought subject, talking for the first time about his move from Cal and quick transition to UW.

Below is some video of Lupoi’s session with the media, and following that are some transcribed quotes:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1441287661001″][/do]

On the quick transition from recruiting for Cal to recruiting for UW: “It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever gone through. It was a process that kind of felt like I was set where I was going to be there at Cal and when Justin (Wilcox) came over here and Pete (Peter Sirmon) I was the last one to the process to say no to this opportunity and kind of do some thorough homework for a couple of weeks of what this opportunity really was all about and what it meant and kind of got to a point to where it felt it was right and something you couldn’t say no to from what this place and coach (Steve) Sark (Sarkisian) represents and to be a part of this and that resulted in immediate competition of trying to go about it the right way and begin competing at the place I was just at so it was difficult. But I thought coach Sark had tremendous advice in that process and truthfully a lot of the individuals that were being recruited from the other place, he approached it of going about it the right way and at times backing off of certain guys where he had already established relationships with the young men that we were recruiting there and then I could kind of get in there and intermingle within the staff and doing it the right way and not making it about me but making it about Washington and all the things that this place has to offer. I thought that was great advice on his part.”

On how awkward the timing was: “It was. I’m a real passionate individual and I kind of doing all the thorough research and the homework about this place, for me making the transition felt like I had already done such thorough homework on it it was kind of natural for me to begin speaking on behalf of this place. I think that kind of shocked some families and some young men, to them it was a matter of a day or two of the transition and now I’m speaking on behalf of this place. For those first few days was continuing on myself and the relationship we had established and I think that was kind of a shock and looking back on it of how I would redo it or regret, that transition was so quick and for me it was a lengthy 14-15-day process of learning about this place where obviously I hadn’t spoken a word about it to recruits representing a different place where now going into the homes wearing a different Polo, it was a little bit shocking of ‘wait, hold on, we were just talking about Cal a week ago or something.’ Both great places, great people involved in both. As far as the opportunity there couldn’t be more thankful to coach (Jeff) Tedford given the opportunity to be there and all the relationships that I formed there and just it was an awesome place and I left for an awesome opportunity here.”

On the backlash he received from leaving Cal: “It was tough because of again all the great things that that place represents and it was my roots and where I played at. At the same time it was time and I’ve been blessed to have some other opportunities come up each year and this is one where I truly felt was the best and something that I wanted to be a part of. Something that since being here felt like the best decision I ever made.”

On coming back to Seattle during recruiting: “I came up to kind of finalize and evaluate this place and took a day of looking around and meeting the staff and all that so of course I had to come up and sign my contract see my office and all that good stuff. But it was very fast and pretty much stayed overnight here, it was one to two nights here and then it was back on the road being a contact period for recruiting so it was very fast getting the gameplan from coach Sark and coach Wilcox and then go out and get to work on the two weeks to signing day.”

On Jeff Tedford’s reaction: “I think he understood and was always kind of been there and I’ve been offered good advice over the past year so it was kind of a quick conversation and I think at that point, I had already said no to the opportunity for some time so I think he understood that there was a lot that was put into this decision and it wasn’t something that was done in just one day or so so I think he was understanding of the opportunity that was offered here and the reasons to want to start something new.”

On how many times he said no to UW: “I don’t know, but it was a process for about two weeks. Kind of like all the places, I had never taken an interview anywhere, I don’t have an agent, it was something that just felt like it was going to be the place that I remained and that’s where I played and I had a lot of great opportunities and days there. So it was natural for me to say no. And then just talking to him throughout those weeks you realize what a great recruiter he is and a lot of great points he expressed kind of weared on me.”

On if there was an offer in his mind of what it was going to take to leave Cal: “To me it was about the fit and the people that were associated with whatever opportunity was going to come up for me and what that place represents. This alumni association, the magnitude of the degree, the tradition here, those were the things. It wasn’t necessarily about the actual deal and what was offered. That was more, kind of the content of what this opportunity offered is what most excited me.”

On the reaction from the people at Cal: “That’s my blood, sweat and that had a major impact on seeing what alumni or what stories were told, but it’s something that you move on and you find out real quickly who your real friends are and like I said, I have nothing but great things to say about that staff and the university and the opportunity I was offered there. I will never forget those times and am very appreciative of the alumni there and all my experiences at Cal.”

On the lure of Wilcox already being here: “That was important. Again, the people that are associated with this staff and this program and my prior relationships with numerous staff members here whether it be working camps with them and getting to know them, and then their reputations were important. But coach Wilcox was obviously a very instrumental piece for me in this decision and having a feel for the people that are a part of this program and all leading up to coach Sark and his reputation just always being awesome to me whether you are seeing him on the road or shaking his hand after the game and just the reputation of all the people he has been associated with over time having relationships with people who have nothing to do with Washington necessarily but speak extremely highly of him.”
On rumors of getting a boat: “Yeah, I haven’t been on that boat. Maybe it’s a canoe or something.”

On being able to sell the story of UW as well as the story of Cal: “I wouldn’t necessarily agree about the story to sell. At the end of the day the young men hopefully are choosing their school on the bigger priorities, meaning who the head coach is, what the education represents, what the tradition of the football program represents, and then of course the relationship with the coaching staff and the coach that is primarily recruiting them. If a young man is making a decision based solely off of the recruiting coach or position coach then I honestly think that his priorities are probably not at the right place, so the bigger picture and priorities I think there is great carry over from the product I am used to selling at Cal when you look at it from the Washington standpoint. You’ve got a top 5-rated education, you’ve got incredible football tradition, a very successful head coach and an alumni association that is very powerful. So when those priorities are put forth, that’s what I think is going to be winning these young men over in the long run.”

On being on the other end of it being recruited by Sarkisian: “It was different, and at the same time I think the recruits that we currently signed I think they could appreciate that perspective of really being in their same shoes and now having this opportunity to share with them that I went through the same thing and these were the reasons that I chose this opportunity and I think these are the reasons that you should evaluate your decision here and these are some of the priorities where I was able to make this change.”

On some viewing it as a lateral move: “I think there is a difference, where of course one of the ways I look at it is the opportunity to no longer coach a three-man front and be part of a system that at times utilized two defensive linemen on the field, where from this standpoint this is going to be an opportunity where it’s a true four-man front where I’m blessed to be playing a major role in coaching four guys on the field at all times. That’s something really special for me the way I look at it whether that’s lateral or not. And again, to tell you the truth other people’s perspective of lateral plays no role for me. This is a decision where I felt it was right and it was something very special to be a part of and what played the largest role for me is not what other people perceived to be lateral or upward or downward.”

On needing a chance to grow and get out of comfort zone: “I don’t know how large of a role that played but it was just something new being a part of a new organization was exciting for me and something that I really believe in and knowing this place and facing these guys year after year and seeing this program and the direction they are headed, to be a part of that was exciting for me and so of course, being a part of something new was exciting. I don’t think that was one of the top, top priorities but really just seeing where this place was headed.”

On if Sarkisian was going to take no for an answer: “Well yeah, it was a lengthy process. It was a couple of weeks where normally in the past when I’ve been blessed with an opportunity it was ‘no thank you’ and there will be another day and then it went away. Definitely he pursued me like I felt like a recruit as far as being very persistent and having contact with not just him but a lot of the staff members and feeling very wanted here. That was definitely very special.”

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