Cal Defensive Line Discussion: How Invaluable Is Tosh Lupoi?

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 09: Kevin Price #4 of the UCLA Bruins is tackled by Cameron Jordan #97 of the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

1. Tosh Lupoi has now developed two first-round caliber draft picks in Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan. Is he the most indispensable member of our staff?

LeonPowe: I think moreso due to the recruiting prowness rather than the d-line coaching. We've been lucky enough to have talent development at all levels - especially looking at Ron Gould (RB) - but the recruiting. . . the players we're starting to bring in are very very exciting.

(Me, I still think its Gould)

Kodiak:  Why you gotta hat the Rope Guy like that?  There are only two assistant coaches on staff that would make me really upset if they left - Tosh and Gould. 

solarise: Give the man a raise!

2. How much of a dropoff will there be at
defensive line with Jordan and Derrick Hill both departing? There wasn't that much of a dropoff with Alualu departing, but losing two starters will be tough, especially with no obvious talented players behind them to immediately make up the difference.

Kodiak: I think we'll have to resign ourselves to a pretty big drop unless we see a lot of improvement from some of the returners.  Guyton showed flashes, and Coleman really looks like a player.  Owusu had one decent game and then was largely invisible.  There was a significant drop at NT when Payne or Aaron Tipoti replaced Hill.  I suspect that one or both of them might have been nicked up.  At one point, we had to put Costanzo in and he's 4th on the depth chart. 

solarise:  I think our D-Line will be alright. DeAndre Coleman has outright looked unstoppable at times. Trevor Guyton developed nicely by the end of the season. Gabe King should be a threat to start after blueshirting. Toss
Ernest Owusu in there we should have enough competition to keep Coach P happy @ both DE spots.

NT is a more of a concern. Kendrick Payne beat out Derrick Hill to start the season but Hill came back and was
much stronger. I'm guessing Payne had lingering injury issues that limited his effectiveness. Viliami Moala, if he signs Feb 2, could see immediate playing time and remedy our NT dilemma.  That and academics would be my sales pitch to Tiny.

3. Should Cal consider shifting back and forth between four and three defensive linemen, since we have a lot of defensive line talent to go along with our linebackers? This past season showed that despite the strength of our front three, there wasn't enough beef up front to move the most physical offensive lines like USC, Nevada, the Furd, and Oregon State.

Kodiak:  I thought someone said that it's hard to switch fronts week to week because the gap responsibilities for the linemen change.  Maybe you could get away with it if you had a group of senior linemen, or extra time to prepare.  (bowl prep, bye week)  I also don't think that we're deep enough at NT to do it consistently.  We have some talented depth at DE, but we could use more beef in the middle to anchor the line.  Because that position gets hammered every play, I think we'd need to keep rotating guys.  That might change if there's enough young talent at DE to shift Coleman inside, or if Keni Kaufusi can come back from his shoulder injury.

solarise:  I think the answer is a resounding YES since Coach P doesn't seem to be a real sticker to the 3-4. If it's necessary for us to go 5 down linemen, I'm sure Coach P will make that call.

4. Project next year's defensive line depth chart (or at the very least, the starters)

Kodiak: Coleman, Payne, Guyton backed up by King, Tipoti, Owusu.

solarise:  I'll go w/ Coleman, Moala, King. F$&@ you JuJu.

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