No Time For Cal Nostalgia for Coaches Lupoi, Kiesau
Oct. 30, 2012
Oct. 29, 2012
By Gregg Bell - UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE - Ultra-competitive, super-intense Tosh Lupoi is more likely to do a stand-up comedy routine during practice this week than he is to admit nostalgia about going back home.
The former Bay Area high schooler, California Golden Bears player and, until January, Cal assistant coach grimaced, shook his head from side to side and shrugged when asked Tuesday whether he had any special feelings this week.
"Nah, just excited for the team and for our unit, the D-linemen, to continue our progress," UW's first-year defensive line coach following practice for Friday night's game at Cal.
"I haven't really thought about it, to be honest with you. It's a shorter week, so it's a huge emphasis of ours to speed things up this week. It's real important of us to focus on doing whatever we can to get another win."
Lupoi won't even speak in the first-person about Cal anymore. He's too focused on the here-and-now with the Huskies. Their defensive line will get challenged by the speed and elusiveness of Bears quarterback Zach Maynard Friday night.
"Yeah, for us, it's another Pac-12 game," the 31-year-old Lupoi said, still stone-faced. "It's going to be tough competition. There is a lot of talent on the field that we have to face. They do a nice job. We've got a lot of offense to prepare for.
"He scrambles ... at times, that's where he is most effective when he is running around back there. We are focused on getting some good edge rushes."
Asked if, given the talent at Cal, he was surprised his former team enters this game 3-6 and 2-4 in the Pac-12, Lupoi didn't blink off his UW-only view.
"Well, you know, I'm not a part of it anymore. It's just eagle focus on our team and about us," Lupoi said. "It doesn't matter what my opinion is with where they are at."
Kiesau, who turns 40 next month, agreed to a deal to replace Doug Nussmeier. Nussmeier left Washington in early January to gain play-calling duties as the offensive coordinator at top-ranked Alabama.
Kiesau spent five years in two different stints as a Cal assistant, from 2002-05 and then again last season.
Not that Kiesau or Lupoi want their Cal backgrounds to matter this week.
"Those guys don't want this to be about them, believe me," Sarkisian said Monday. "Keith (Heyward, the UW secondary coach who had the same job last season at Oregon State) didn't want it to be about him last week. And Tosh and Eric don't want it to be about them this week, either.
"It's about the football team and the journey that we are on this season and what we need to get done this week to be successful."
Lupoi, a former player at Concord, Calif., De La Salle High School in the East Bay, was a Cal player for six years (2000-05) thanks to an extra season on a medical redshirt year. After getting his Berkeley degree in American studies in 2005 he became the youngest full-time coach in Cal history when he joined the staff as the Bears' 26-year-old D-line coach in `08.
Lupoi remained the youngest full-time coach in the Pac-10 for two more years. Then Sarkisian called in early January. Lupoi accepted UW's offer.
When he hired him, Sarkisian called Lupoi a "dynamic recruiter," one known to be among the nation's best at signing top high-school players.
Lupoi's move in the middle of this past recruiting season got a lot of attention up and down the West Coast and nationally.
Not surprisingly, he shrugged at that, too.
"In all honesty, maybe just the way I am, for me it was a decision - and then just moving on," he said. "I never look in the blogs or whatever and read ... I don't even know how much a big deal, or whatever, if it was, if it was.
"I just needed to move on and get focused on what I needed to do here. Improve our defensive line and keep us on an upward trend."
As for any bad blood over UW's hires that may linger into Friday's game between the Huskies and Bears, Sarkisian said it's a reality of college football coaching.
"You know, it's our profession. It's just the protocol of the way things are done," Sarkisian said. "Ultimately I am the head coach at the University of Washington. My job and my obligation is to do what's best for this university and for this athletic department and this football program, and do it with good ethics and within the guidelines set by the NCAA.
"No coach ever likes to get the phone call, because I get them, too, when somebody says they want to talk to one of your coaches that you think is a really good coach. But you understand that it is part of the profession, and you do everything in your power to keep them, if you want to keep them. And if you are on the other side you do everything that is within your feasible power to get them on board.
"That's just the way it works."
INSIDE THE DAWGS: After not having fewer than seven days between consecutive games since 1944, the Huskies will have that happen twice inside a month. They play the Apple Cup the day after Thanksgiving, six days after play at Colorado Nov. 17. ... The Seattle Seahawks promoted Jermaine Kearse, UW's invaluable, leading wide receiver as a senior last season, from their practice squad to the active roster. The Seahawks made the move after veteran WR Ben Obomanu went on season-ending injured reserve.