Five Pac-12 assistants to keep an eye on

"Tosh Lupoi"

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We welcome our newest addition to the NFL’s Future team – and it’s a big one. John Middlekauff joins us fresh off his stint as west coast scout with the Philadelphia Eagles. John brings a vast array of knowledge from the inner workings of an NFL scouting department that will shape the course of NFL’s Future for the 2014 NFL Draft season. I told you it was going to be a big year.

In college football head coaches tend to get the majority of the credit, but assistant coaches tend to do the majority of the leg work. People on the inside of each individual program understand the value of these men. Throughout the Pac-12 there are individuals who will be key members in their team’s potential success. Oregon’s had the same core guys for 20 plus years.

During Pete Carroll’s run – a juggernaut was built through recruiting with Ed Orgeron, Lane Kiffin, and Steve Sarkisian. Stanford had an easy transition after losing Jim Harbaugh because of the depth in its staff with David Shaw. After the break check out five assistant coaches who should play vital roles in 2013, and individuals who could be running programs in the near future.

Scott Frost, Offensive Coordinator, Oregon

Many in football circles believed he would exit Eugene and end up in Philadelphia with Chip Kelly, but he stayed and became the offensive coordinator for new coach Mark Helfrich . Frost learned under arguably one of greatest college coaches as a player in Tom Osborne, then from one of the most innovative in Chip Kelley. Being a former QB look for the WR’s to become more involved in the Oregon offense, while also keeping many of the zone read staples intact. While many feel the offense will take a step back with the coaching change, Frost may be the reason why that won’t be the case.   If Oregon makes another BCS run, look for Frost to gain some serious buzz this upcoming offseason to run his own program.

Andy Buh, Defensive Coordinator, Cal

While Sunny Dykes and OC Tony Franklin get all the credit for their offensive prowess, the defense could be what separates the Cal Bears moving forward. Andy Buh has put in his time as an assistant and has worked for some of the best coaches in the country. In the last several years he has worked for Jim Harbaugh, Chris Ault, and Bret Bielema. The offense at Cal will score points, because of the offense firepower left from the Tedford era, and the offensive minds that are now in place. But it was the defense ranked 3rd last in the conference that needs to improve. If Buh can make the transition to his 4-3 defense, Cal could surprise many inside the Pac-12 in 2013, while he starts to receive some national credit as a coach.

Mike Summers, OL Coach, USC

"Mike Summers"

Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

After a dreadful season for USC given the expectations, change within the program was inevitable. After swinging and missing on Pat Hill, Lane hired Mike Summers from Kentucky who also had NFL experience. After ranking 71st in the country in rushing offense in 2013, USC must get back to the days of pounding the football, and using its physical dominance upfront to win games. Summers should bring a smash mouth approach that Kiffin is desperately searching for.  Summers helped Kentucky average over 6.1 yards per play, which was the second best mark in school history. With a new starting quarterback, and a mixture of Silas Redd with several blue chip freshman, look for the Trojans to run the ball heavily this season. Summers will be looked at like a savior down in Los Angeles if he can fix their problems in the trenches.

Jeff Ulbrich, LB/Special Teams Coach, UCLA

On a coaching staff that is arguably the deepest in the conference, Ulbrich may be one of the brightest young stars in college football. He has known Mora since he was his defensive coordinator during his playing days with the 49ers. Ulbirch jumped into the NCAA coaching ranks and immediately helped Anthony Barr with the transition from offense to defense. Under Ulbrich’s tutelage, Barr had double digits sacks as a junior and should be a top 10 pick in 2014. He also coached a special teams unit that produced an NFL punter and a long snapper. As a former NFL player he gains instant respect because of his resume with the pads on, combined with his passion as a coach that is evident from being around him.  If the LB unit continues to grow and the special team excels despites key departures – look for Ulbrich to get some serious notoriety while potentially becoming one of the hot names out west.

Tosh Lupoi, DL/Defensive Run Game Coordinator, Washington

While Lupoi has always developed productive defensive lineman, coaching is not what separates this young coach. He is known as one of the best recruiters in the country, and was voted recruiter of the year by in 2010. He was a key contributor to Cal’s success on the field and in the NFL draft before coming to Washington in 2012. Lupoi was a huge steal for Coach Sarkisian and potentially created a talent shift moving forward to the Pacific Northwest.  This is a huge year for the Husky program and the talent that Lupoi has recruited the past two recruiting classes should pay dividends quickly. Look for LB Shaq Thompson, who Lupoi was responsible for landing to potentially be a player that changes the fortunes of the program. If the Washington Huskies make a run in 2013, Lupoi will have been a major reason why.

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  • JW

    Jim Mora is really putting something together at UCLA. I think Ulbrich winds up being a star and future HC, as in the near future. Another couple of seasons under Mora will have his star on the rise. Don’t know anything about Lupoi as a coach and I think that’s the sentiment around the game. Mostly known for his recruiting ability could hurt his ability to ever be a HC. What you think? Welcome aboard. Nice to have a new perspective to add to the site.

    • Samsonite

      Tosh is more than a great recruiter. Has been a major asset to the DL and brings legendary intensity. I think he’s the best of this bunch in terms of being a future head coach.