Former Cal assistant Tosh Lupoi reportedly the new Oregon co-defensive coordinator
The former Cal assistant returns to the Pac-12.
Tosh Lupoi appears to be coming back into the lives of Cal fans, whether we like it or not.
The former Cal defensive line coach will be one of the new Oregon defensive coordinators on Dan Lanning’s new staff at Eugene. Lupoi will hold a similar title as Matt Powledge (former Baylor special teams coordinator and safeties coach).
Lupoi has been bouncing around the NFL the last few years, bouncing between the Browns and the Falcons, and this year with the Jaguars. He had previously been an outside linebackers coach at Alabama, but then was let go after his transition to defensive coordinator did not go as planned (Nick Saban reportedly stripped him of playcalling duties mid-season, making his departure inevitable).
This will likely cause more competition in the Cal’s Bay Area recruiting market. Regardless of Lupoi’s lack of ability for in-play coaching, there is no denying Lupoi’s recruiting capabilities, particularly out West. Lupoi was instrumental in Najee Harris making the move from the East Bay to Alabama, where he won a national championship. He helped Shaq Thompson commit to Cal, then upon Lupoi’s departure to Washington, helped flip him to the Huskies. And he was responsible for the package deal that brought Keenan Allen to Cal. You could reasonably say that Lupoi is responsible for landing the biggest recruit for three programs in the last decade-plus, and all three are now critical NFL contributors.
It will be an interesting situation to monitor in the more compliance-heavy Pac-12. Lupoi had to leave Washington (and was basically taken off of the list for Steve Sarkisian’s new staff in USC) because he paid for a recruit’s tutoring and classes, most famously by leaving cash in a coffee cup. Now he’ll be returning to a conference where such practices are generally frowned upon. A decade later, will Lupoi be able to recruit at a more ethical level?
With Lanning also hiring former UCLA offensive line coach and Steelers offensive line coach Adrian Klemm (another ace recruiter, less effective coach), former Cal defensive line coach Tony Tuioti leaving Nebraska for Oregon, and Lanning himself also a dynamic recruiter at Georgia, the mandate appears to be clear. The Ducks need to gather as much talent as possible, so they can contend every year to make a bid for the national title. With USC already levelling up on the recruiting side down south, the Pac-12 could see a return to the national stage soon.
It remains to be seen how Cal expects to match that talent upping, both from the North and the South. Coaching acumen will be paramount. But Cal needs to keep on improving its recruiting too. Talent is needed to win championships too.