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Golden Nuggets: The Cal D-Line Warms Up to Todd Howard

After Tosh Lupoi's tumultuous departure, the Cal defensive linemen were lost for a while. Gabe King, who was particularly upset about Tosh's departure, is warming up to his new coach Todd Howard.

"It’s definitely not fair, especially when you’ve got a coach like Lupoi, who is so young and close to our age and able to connect to our generation," redshirt sophomore defensive end Gabe King said after practice Tuesday. "It’s hard to move to a guy that’s a lot older. At first we had to warm up a little bit because we were bitter. We lost Coach and no one knew we were going to lose him.

"But the adjustment wasn’t too hard. We’re warming up really well. Coach Howard understands that it took time. He just keeps coming full force with embracing us as his players. That’s all that really matters."
"He’s definitely more of a father figure than Tosh. He brings a lot of wisdom to the table because of his age," the 6-foot-5, 293-pounder from Burlington, N.C., said. "He’s very good at telling stories and vividly connecting it to football. It’s really amazing. For me, it’s almost like a remembering mechanism. He’s really good at that."

Howard’s resume, including three seasons as a starting linebacker at Texas A&M and two years playing in the NFL, has practical benefits.

"He brings a rather advanced technique with hand-to-hand combat," King said. "A bunch of little disengaging techniques."

King’s favorite is called The Forklift, and involves grabbing the offensive lineman’s wrists and shooting them upward to disengage.

"Every O-lineman . . . their role is to grab and hold," King said. "The Forklift is very effective. You’ve just got to master it, you’ve got to be able to wrap your brain around it at full speed."

After the jump spring practice kicks off, both basketball teams compete in the NCAA tournament, and women's swimming brings home a national championship!


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