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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 20, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Lupoi talks defensive line

In the last of our assistant coach interviews from today’s practice, here are some quotes and a little bit of video of defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi. He talks about Danny Shelton, Andrew Hudson, Jarett Finau, the philosophy of using a lot of people at a lot of different spots along the line, and more:

On coaching Danny Shelton: “Danny is, he’s stood out as someone that is hungry to learn and hungry to get better. He’s two, possibly three of our 10 practices now he’s been the production leader for our defensive line, and that’s especially impressive being at nose in our defense. So he’s stood out at times. When his technique is right he’s at the best of his game and when his technique gets sloppy you don’t see him show up as much, so we are really challenging him to stay within the body of his technique, especially when we are out there for the fifth, sixth, seventh play when you tap into that mental toughness to be able to remain technically sound in those moments.”

On working with Shelton to manage his anger: “On the field we are going to play angry and celebrate that and it’s just important that he knows we keep our composure and never cost the team, never put ourselves before the team, so again it’s just mainly the overall message to the whole group and it’s preached through our head coach and our coordinator and our whole staff supporting the same message.”

On Jarett Finau’s progress this spring: “Jarett has had some steady improvement as well. You can see at times where he falls into some bad habits from having a little lack of experience at times, but there’s no question, just like I told him after the position meeting before we hit the field today, been very impressed of his improvement over time and taking coaching and as he gets this defense down and gets more comfortable I see Jarett as someone competing for us this fall contributing for us and fighting for playing time.”

On what they are seeing of Andrew Hudson inside: “You can see the state wrestler coming out of him on the field. He plays with tremendous pad level and that’s been a good advantage for him. Another coachable player that stands out and I think he is slowly but surely buying into the defense and taking the coaching and expect to continue to see improvement out of him.”

On Josh Shirley and how eager he is to learn: “It’s every evident, Josh is someone that is coming in every single day, every time I pop out of a D-staff meeting he’s sitting in my office watching film. The hunger is very evident for him to get better and learn and he’s asking questions and the challenge for him as our whole defensive staff is challenging too, in the moments of fatigue what are your actions at that point. That’s where I think his game has continued to improve but can continue to improve in those moments of fatigue playing technically sound and playing with a no-loaf attitude.”

On the progress of Tani Tupou and Connor Cree: “Connor Cree has really showed up these last two days. It was a slow start at first and he’s slowly but surely been showing up. Coach (Justin) Wilcox showed a great clip of him in front of the whole defense of physically manhandling a block in front of the whole team in a drill that coach Sark (Steve Sarkisian) had us doing. It’s slowly but surely but I’m liking how the physical aspect of his game is starting to step up. As far as Tani as well, his challenge is really getting in that playbook, getting the playbook down and I’m really challenging him to do extra effort, extra studies on his playbook and getting his assignments right.”

On the combination of Shelton and Finau inside: “I’m really mixing the guys all around. It’s a defense that’s going to cause the guys to know a lot of different alignments and assignments. We like to mix it up. It might be a front where we could have five defensive ends on the field, we might have three interior noses on the field. It’s going to be per the situation of who we want out there to give our defense an advantage versus the offense.”

On if that creates more of a challenge for the players to learn a lot of different positions: “I’d like to say it moreso challenges the offense and we do our best to keep what we call ‘freshmen friendly’ in this defense where it looks like ‘man, how do they practice all that stuff, how do you see it?’ But within each group on the field I think coach Wilcox does on awesome job of kind of training everybody that everything looks the same here but except maybe these two individuals where you’ve got something a little different here and it’s just knowing the little cheat sheets of making rhymes or reasons of ‘why I’m on the field and where my assignment is.’ As we establish that and those guys learn the concepts, all the little manipulations they are not too hard to memorize there.”

On trying to create confusion with the offense with those different looks: “A little bit, yeah. It doesn’t hurt.”

And here’s a little video:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1573752619001″][/do]

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