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The Increasingly Great Decisions Of Todd Howard: A Discussion Of The New Cal Defensive Line Coach

TwistNHook: Cal just hired Todd Howard as DLine coach.

What do we make of this new coach?

HydroTech: Let me be the first to say: "who?". And I must not be the only one saying this

Avinash: Don't people always say that when a new football non-head coach gets hired at anything.

Solarise: Coach Howard has got an interesting resume. I remember Brian Price's junior season when he wrecked havoc on our Oline (Marshaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllll!) along with that Bosworth kid. Can't be too bad at recruiting if he's able to get through to Owa & Cassius Marsh. I am intrigued to say the least.

Berkelium97: I am encouraged by this hire but not blown away. To be fair, though, we probably don't have the kind of money to spend on assistants who will leave us with dazzled first impressions.

Coach Howard has had several all-conference players as well as some All-Americans and even a Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year (Brian Price). I never looked forward to going up against his D-lines when he was with UCLA. Our running game struggled against UCLA in 2007 and 2009. One of the most impressive efforts from his d-line was during UCLA's spectacular defensive effort in a 13-9 win over USC in 2006.

If I just saw the 2006 and 2007 seasons at UCLA in addition to the 2011 turnaround at Washington State, I would be very happy with the hire. I am not sure what happened with the Bruins defense in 2008-2010; it was usually in the bottom half of the nation in rushing yards per game allowed, yards per carry, tackles for loss, and sacks. If I had a better understanding of what went wrong during those years, I would be more comfortable with this hire. Until then, I am cautiously optimistic about what Howard can do.

ManBearCal: I love this hire. The guy can recruit LA. He can recruit talent. He can then develop that talent. Former player with NFL, college, an specifically P12 coaching pedigree.

He should get us recruits, and he'll get our current guys to perform well. Dig it.

Solarise: Is "cautiously optimistic" our MO going into National Signing Day and the 2012 season?

ManBearCal: That's an every year thing.

Kodiak: I thought cautiously optimistic was more of a day to day thing?

Looks okay on paper. Can't say that anyone associated with Wazzu blows me away. But the best part of those annoying ucla defenses was always their Dline. Seems like the guy knows what to do with talent, and we have plenty of that. Beat us out for some talent in recruiting wars of yesteryear. Works for me.

Atomsareenough: Yeah I think we're all on the same page. Sounds legit, but it's hard to say for sure. The thing is, how many D-line coaches could any of us have named off the top of our heads a week ago? This guy definitely has the resume to indicate he'd be successful, and we'll see if the recruits and players buy in.

"Cautiously optimistic" sums it up quite nicely.

Cugel: I feel positively about this hire, from his record at UCLA, never did I feel like UCLA's D-line was ever their weakness, and in fact, they played us stoutly. The cougs who have spoken here also think highly of him in his short time at WSU. I find it encouraging that his area of recruiting was LA proper, there's a lot of talent in this area, and he beat out Tosh in a few recruiting battles, so he's clearly no slouch. I also think the timing is important, I'm very glad that we did this quickly to remove any uncertainty in the minds of our recruits and players going forward; and given the lack of notice by by our departing D-line coach, this was as quick a hire as reasonably could be expected.

OhioBear: On paper, this looks like a good hire. The man has lots of experience coaching at the college level. He was a very good college player in his own right at Texas A&M and played two years in the NFL. He has assistant coaching experience in the NFL. He has coached some good college players in the Pac-10/12. He knows the league.

I know the question a lot of fans might have: can he recruit? We'll see. Recruiting is, obviously, a huge part of college football. I don't know anything about Coach Howard's prowess in that regard. But I do think he has credibility -- his experience as a college/pro coach and his experience in the NFL (and let's face it -- a lot of kids are looking at the next level) gives him that credibility.

Avinash: Todd Howard recruited Todd Barr last year for WSU (came to Cal!), then got Owa to commit to UCLA. Also landed Datone Jones and Brian Price, both bona fide starters. There are some other guys that didn't pan out or are lesser-known, but that always happens.

The man knows and recruits well in LA though, which is always critical every year. You need to land some guys down in Southern California to remain competitive. It's rare to have a good pool like the one we currently have in NorCal.

Berkelium97: He did win the recruiting battles against Tosh for Owa and Cassius Marsh. I don't know much else about his recruiting abilities, but he must do something right if he could beat us for some high-profile d-line recruits.