Aug. 23, 2006
BERKELEY - The University of California football team took the day off from practice on Wednesday following its final scrimmage of the preseason on Tuesday night. The Golden Bears still had meetings and film sessions as well as a walk-through on the field.
The 2006 season starts on Sept. 2 in Knoxville against Tennessee at 2:30 p.m. (PST). The game will be televised live on ESPN. The following week is the home opener for the Bears, when they host Minnesota at 4 p.m. For ticket information, call 1-800-GO-BEARS.
Former Golden Bear standout Tosh Lupoi, who lettered for Cal for four years, has joined the program's coaching staff as a graduate assistant. The Walnut Creek native and product of De La Salle High School sat down with CalBears.com to share his thoughts on switching to the coaching side of the ball.
CalBears.com: How does it feel to go through fall camp on the coach's side now?
Tosh Lupoi: "It is definitely different. The physical strain isn't there, but the mental strain has increased. Every time the players have any form of off time, or we have what's called "no player contact," the staffs are always meeting. We have an incredible amount of meetings. We have to prepare for the next practice or watch film from the last practice. The biggest difference is the amount of meetings and mental strain."
CB: Is there anything you miss about experiencing camp as a player?
TL: "In camp as a player, I was able to take power naps, and that doesn't really exist for me right now, and of course playing the game. There's no way to replace it and so many times, now that I know the defense really well, I feel like I could be a better player. It gets frustrating because you want to play so bad."
CB: What were your first thoughts when you were done with your last camp?
TL: "I was totally focused on Sacramento State, couldn't wait to get the year going. We do break from camp; you get one day off at the end. It's kind of a brief taste of freedom, but once you get over the hump day of camp and you start zoning in on your first opponent, you get so excited for the game that the days just go by."
CB: What are some things you've learned from camp this year from getting the different perspective?
TL: "Absolutely everything is discussed within the coaching staff, from injuries to meals to personnel decisions. Everything is discussed. We meet so much and every bit of the team, coaches, everything is discussed. I'm just thankful to be a part of the staff. Every single detail is investigated and discussed, no matter what it is."
CB: How tough is camp on the coaches?
TL: "There's a definite mental strain and maybe a lack of sleep, especially our staff. Everybody loves what they're doing and they wouldn't be here if they didn't love it. No matter what, even the double days, everybody's always ready to go and that makes it a lot better because there's definitely a large positive vibe within the coaching staff. There's never really any negativity or a "here we go again" attitude. It motivates you to be positive."
CB: If you could go back to camp as a player, would you look at it any differently now?
TL: "Even now as my duties have shifted for the team, as a player and now as a coach, I still have an equivalent passion for the game, and I just work on trying to improve every day and help others out. At times camp would be hard, but it's still football, and when you go out and play the game you love, it feels good."
CB: What advice would you give to an incoming freshman on the first day of camp?
TL: "Come to camp in shape, don't be fat, bring an extra comforter for bed time and come with an open mind and positive attitude, ready to be a little bit shocked with the amount of mental and physical work you're going to go through."
CB: Are you any tougher on the players than the rest of the coaches since you just recently went through it?
TL: "I don't think I am. I think it's important to have an understanding that some players are going to be more advanced than others, some are going to get their assignments quicker and some are going to be more advanced in the field quicker. I feel like I'm just here to help any way I can, soak up all the knowledge I can, positive reinforcement and correcting assignments. But when problems arise or when some yelling is necessary, I leave that to other coaches."
This Saturday will be Fan Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Afterwards, the Bears head back to Memorial Stadium for their final practice of camp at 3 p.m. That practice will also be closed to the public.