Cal Football: Former USC and Colorado DL Coach Vic So'oto to be the next Cal OLB Coach
Huge Pac-12 get with strong recruiting chops
After coaching at Virginia and USC, Vic spent only 2 months on the Colorado staff only to return to California. There was speculation that the move was family-related, however, from the looks of it it was an opportunity-based choice. With him coming to Cal being an “opportunity was purely one [Vic So’oto] couldn’t pass up” :
Vic So’oto is a known coach in the Pac-12 with strong recruiting wins as USC’s DL coach such as 5* Korey Foreman, as well as Jowon Briggs at Virginia (who transferred to Cincy and has been a huge part of the CFP challenge). With now five defensive coaches who are all considered plus-recruiters, Cal should hopefully be able to pick up some momentum and land a very strong 2023 class. So’oto could also be a potential great hire for Polynesian and Pacific Islander recruiting, a place where the Bears have not had as much success as some of their Pac-12 opponents like USC or Utah.
From a positional perspective, So’oto has done really good work with the Cavaliers—in 2019, Virginia did really well in all categories upfront, particularly tackles for loss and sacks. The overall performance wasn’t quite as strong at USC, but the Trojans as a whole struggled under Todd Orlando, and dealt with heavy injury issues.
All in all, this feels like a very solid hire. The Bears now have two new great young position coaches in cornerbacks coach Terrence Brown and So’oto with strong recruiting chops. If the Bears can retain the two long-term, they can hopefully start building up the Southern California recruiting pipeline that will keep Cal’s defense moving in the right direction.
So’oto is another young coach on the defensive side who previously played at BYU and had 2 years of experience in the NFL as a UDFA. So’oto’s first position coach was Virginia defensive line coach from 2017 to 2019. A BYU alum, So’oto got his start as a football intern with the Cougars before following Bronco Mendenhall and moving to a graduate assistant position. He eventually joined the USC Trojans in the same role for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. So’oto then joined the Colorado Buffaloes coaching staff two months ago, but decided to depart to be closer to his family in California.
His experience as DL coach will likely translate to the OLB position in Cal’s 3-4/2-4-5 system that relies on OLB for passrush.