Welp, really only one place to start this week, right? I write the below under the assumption that we suffer no further coaching attrition. Hopefully that's the case, but very little would surprise me at this juncture. I've already been kicked in the nuts (twice), why not steal my wallet too? I was going to title this post "The Aftermath", but I'm too scared to assume its over.
Tosh Lupoi, DL Coach
Cal (Concord, CA). Hired by University of Washington, Cal eliminated. The rumblings just wouldn't stop, and then it happened. I ran the gamut of emotions pretty quickly as the news exploded on Monday. Right now, I can say I'm incredibly disappointed. There's no true sense of exactly what the real reason is that Tosh left Berkeley for Seattle, but I do think money was not the only factor. A combination of these things is a safe bet: more money, another job title (run defense coordinator), reuniting with former mentor Justin Wilcox, and some sort of failure by the Cal administration and staff to secure Tosh's loyalty. Don't know if that failure lies with Tedford, Sandy, Birgeneau, or all three. We may never know, there's really just a bunch of hearsay and crap floating around right now. Here's what I DO know...he's gone. And that will hurt us. How much is still hard to say.
I don't fault Tosh (much) for doing what he felt was best to advance his career. I do have a beef with him apparently not telling his players the news prior to it becoming public. One of the things that has made Tosh an incredibly successful recruiter is his honesty and integrity. Leaving in the manner he did does not seem to fit that profile. I would think recruits would take note of that. He also was able to successfully "sell" Cal to recruits because he lived it himself. He was a Bay Area kid, attended De La Salle in Concord, then played at Cal before taking a spot on the coaching staff and blossoming into one of the best recruiters in the country. It's what he knew, it's what he loved. Will he be as effective when trying to pull kids to Washington? I don't know. Either way, he can coach. And good luck to him...mostly. It's starting to look like some bridges were seriously burned in his departure. Whether the folks at the other ends of those bridges are around much longer remains to be seen.
Eric Kiesau, WR Coach
Cal (Glendale, CA). Hired by University of Washington, Cal eliminated. Take this one at its face value. This move was motivated by a less heinous and more typical "more money/more responsibility" scenario than Tosh's move, but...still. With 6 wide receivers committed for 2012, this almost assures that number will shrink. Again, no real gripe with Coach Key for doing good by him.
If there's one person that I can comfortably direct some anger towards in these trying times (in addition to fatcats in the UC system who let this happen after years of apathy), it would be that smug lemur up north who orchestrated this whole thing, Steve Sarkisian. I married a UW alum, I have a lot of UW friends. Good people. But the competitor in me and the Golden Bear pride I have cannot abide this. As if losing the last three games to Sark and the Huskies wasn't enough, they just hamstrung the living hell out of us while making themselves that much stronger. Well, fuck you very much. I can't rationally fault Sark and Co. for doing what they did, but I sure don't have to like it. And the bitterness will flow. Congrats, my Husky friends. You have just earned the enmity of the Cal family. Speaking for myself only...I officially hate your coach, your team and your school above all others in the conference. That includes our apathetic-yet-successful neighbors on the Farm, the delusional turds in Westwood, and the nouveau-riche, cheating douches up in Eugene. See you November 2nd, motherfuckers.
As for the recruiting ramifications of Tosh and Kiesau's departures, it didn't take long. Aaaaand the evil anti-domino effect started in a likely place:
Ellis McCarthy, DT, Monrovia (Monrovia, CA). Decommitted from Cal and committed to UCLA. Well, at least he didn't flip to the Trojans. We knew keeping Ellis in the fold would be a challenge even when we HAD Tosh. When we lost him, McCarthy was gone. This is a good example of the dangers of a recruit committing to a coach rather than a school. Sadly, he's not the only kid in the class who may have had that mindset. Still, big big loss. Huge get for the bRuins. Not looking forward to seeing Big Ellis in periwinkle blue for the next three or so years.
All is not utterly lost, though. At least, not yet. More updates after the jump.
Still gotta wade through some more bad news. Here's where things aren't completely lost, but certainly shaky. And there's a few big fish amongst those who are wavering:
Arik Armstead, DE Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, CA). Talk about shitty timing. As of the last two weeks, Arik looked to be all Cal. Tosh's departure turned that on its head and basically forced the Armstead family to do some quick evaluation. Classes started yesterday, but Arik's decision has now been delayed. I'm not gonna say we're out yet, but this will be tough. Can't blame Arik or the family either. Tosh was going to be his position coach and had been his main recruiter. Stay tuned, but we should not be considered the favorite at this juncture.
Shaq Thompson, ATH (Cal) Grant Union (Sacramento, CA). Now "50/50" between Cal and Washington /pukes. The issue is not with Tosh alone. Justin Wilcox recruited Syd to Cal way back when. Shaq knows him, Shaq likes him. Remember, former Grant teammate, friend, and fellow safety James Sample is already at UW. There's a lot of appeal there. I certainly hope that Shaq and his family's love for Cal wins out here, but he legitimately is considering a move. DEAR GOD, NO!
Jordan Payton, WR (Cal) Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, CA). Tosh had been recruiting Payton since his sophomore year of high school, so the departure has left the Oaks Christian WR shaken and re-evaluting things. Kiesau's departure essentially seals the deal that Payton is a goner. Look for Washington, UCLA, and Michigan to be potential destinations when the switch comes.
Aziz Shittu, DE, Buhach (Atwater, CA). The uncommitted Buhach beast was thought to be a heavy Cal lean, primarily due to his love of Tosh and desire to play for him. Tosh is gone now. Where does that leave Aziz? Well, he visited Stanford last week and was told he had gained admission. He will also be visiting UCLA and USC in the next two weeks. With high school teammate Matt Cochran in the fold and solid to Cal, I wouldn't count us out. But when a major factor in your recruitment to a school leaves, things will change. Like McCarthy and Armstead, Tosh was going to be Aziz's coach. Would not be surprised to see him elsewhere come Signing Day, just like Tosh.
Cedric Dozier, WR (Cal) Lakes (Lakewood, WA). Dozier had said he was solid after Lupoi's departure, but Kiesau leaving changes everything. He has now said he'll official to UW and possibly Wazzu. Suddenly home looks more attractive. FML.
Zach Hoffpauir, S (Cal) Centennial (Peoria, AZ). Officially visited Stanford last weekend and will visit ASU soon. Rumors abound that he'd flip to Stanford if he gains admission. This would not be directly related to the fallout from the coaching vacancies, but Hoffpauir would still be a big loss.
DJ Foster, RB Saguaro (Scottsdale, AZ). Officially visited USC last weekend and says that SC, Cal, and ASU are now tied ($). We initially expected a Foster decision this week. No Longer. he'll likely decide closer to national Signing Day, and this is very far froma sure thing. Sigh.
Joey O'Connor, OL Windsor (Windsor, CO). Officially visited Ohio state, received an offer, and committed to the Buckeyes on Tuesday. I'm assuming this means no official visit for Cal at this point. So....awesome.
Now that everyone is sufficiently down, time for some good news.
LOL, just kidding. No good news allowed this week. You should know by now that we peddle DOOM heavily around these parts. THE SUN WILL NEVER COME OUT AGAIN!
Obviously all bets are off on the class until we've emerged from this Husky Raid and we see what our coaching staff still looks like. At this point, I have concerns about calling any current commit "solid" until they know their coach is still on the staff, or that a solid replacement has been named. Actually, screw that. LOI Day will be the final indicator. This is no knock on the kids who have already proclaimed their loyalty to Cal, as its obviously appreciated. But it isn't fair to expect these kids to stick until they know more (and we do, too.). When the dust has settled, I'll give them their rightful praise.
Sorry, it's been a little rough keeping up with all this bullshit. Who knows how much more will change by the time this posts. Things sure turned quickly though, didn't they? Just last week we were rolling. Now it feels like we're sinking. Next week may bring a better outlook. We'll see when we get there.
Till then, stay frosty my friends.
GO BEARS! STAY BEARS!