It looks as though Marques Tuiasosopo is heading back to the Pac-12, again. The former Rose Bowl MVP and Washington quarterback has reportedly been added to the coaching staff at Cal under new head coach Justin Wilcox. The news was first reported by Bruin Sports Online and later followed up by Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, via Twitter.
Tuiasosopo is no stranger to coaching in the Pac-12. After spending 12 seasons in the NFL, Tuiasosopo returned to his alma mater to take on a role as assistant strength coach for the Washington Huskies in 2009. After two years in that role, he joined the UCLA coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 2011 and took on a role as tight ends coach in 2012 under Jim Mora. The following year, in 2013, Tuiasosopo returned to Washington to be the quarterback coach to work for Steve Sarkisian. After Sarkisian accepted a head coaching offer from USC later that year, Tuiasosopo was named interim head coach for a bowl game, but he would follow Sarkisian to USC in 2014 to be the tight ends coach and was given the title of associate head coach. After two seasons with the Trojans, Tuiasosopo worked his way back across town to rejoin Mora at UCLA as a passing game coordinator and quarterback coach last season.
Cal will be Tuiasosopo’s fourth different Pac-12 school in his coaching background, and he will be a valuable asset to Wilcox’s staff given his knowledge and familiarity of the Pac-12 recruiting scene and work with previous quarterbacks like Josh Rosen and Cody Kessler.
UCLA’s latest coaching staff changes figure to raise a few eyes around Los Angeles. Filling the role of offensive coordinator at UCLA will be running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu. The news of the in-house promotion was first reported by Ryan Bartow of 247 Sports. Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports also reported the news regarding Polamalu, along with word UCLA will hire Marques Tuiasosopo away from USC and will add Rip Scherer to the staff as a tight ends coach. Tuiasosopo will take on the role of quarterbacks coach. UCLA had coaching spots to fill with the departure of offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone to Texas A&M.
Tuiasosopo has been on the coaching staff at USC for the past two seasons and he was in Washington in 2013 under former Huskies and Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian. He will now have the chance to go from coaching Cody Kessler at USC to young phenom Josh Rosen, coming off a freshman season with 3,669 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. Tuiasosopo’s father, Manu Tuiasosopo, played defensive line for UCLA in the 1970s and earned all-conference honors. Marques Tuiasosopo also got started in coaching at UCLA as a graduate assistant under Jim Mora before moving to Washington.
UCLA’s offense was 45th in the nation in scoring offense (32.2 ppg), 58th in rushing offense (177.62 ypg), and 62nd in passer rating. With the talent UCLA has, it still is looking to make the leap to become a viable Pac-12, if not a playoff, contender. The Bruins have long been stuck in neutral when opportunities to become the team to beat in the Pac-12 have presented itself, so the new-look offensive coaching staff will look for ways to kick things up a notch.
It should probably go without saying that UCLA adding coaches from USC’s staff adds a bit of fuel to the fire that is the rivalry between the crosstown foes.
The Huskies closed the book on the Steve Sarkisian era with a bowl victory, but it was interim head coach Marques Tuiasosopo who will go down in the books getting credit for the win. Sarkisian left the program to accept a job with USC, leaving the Huskies before the bowl game. Bishop Sankey rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns to earn Fight Hunger Bowl MVP honors as the Huskies pulled away for a 31-16 victory over BYU.
Washington’s running back fueled the offensive coring but the Huskies also had John Ross return a kickoff 100-yards after BYU tied the game in the first half and Keith Price, despite being banged up at times, added 123 passing yards and a touchdown. The Huskies defense also came through with a big stop deep in their own territory following a Price interception to set up BYU. Robertson Daniel picked off an errant throw by Price and returned it to the Washington 29-yard line with the Huskies leading 28-16 in the third quarter.BYU could do nothing with the opportunity as Washington forced a tree-and-out, highlighted by a critical sack by Cody Hoffman, which set up a 44-yard field goal attempt by Justin Sorensen. Sorensen kicked three of his four field goal attempts successfully, but his miss following the three-and-out seemed to change the momentum of the game. BYU was shutout in the second half while Washington tacked on ten more points for the victory.
Now all eyes are set on what happens next for Washington. Former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen is now in complete control of the football program and the future looks very bright for the Huskies with him at the helm. Given the talent on the team Petersen will be inheriting and the facilities and resources available the optimism is high for Washington to start feeding off of the success of the last few seasons under Sarkisian and build more of a legitimate Pac 12 North contender under Petersen. Oregon’s and Stanford’s place at the top of the division may be threatened by Washington if Petersen can build the kind of winning program he was able to do at Boise State.
Washington will open the Petersen era with a favorable schedule in 2014. The Huskies open the year at Hawaii and three straight home games in non-conference play against Eastern Washington, Illinois and Georgia State. A 4-0 start should absolutely be expected out of the gate. The Huskies will also get Arizona State, Stanford and UCLA at home but must travel to Oregon in Pac 12 play.
As for BYU, the schedule will be a little easier in 2014 after a challenging 2013 season. The 2014 season will include a trip to Texas in week two, which will be quite a revenge game for the Longhorns after getting tanked in Provo this season. The schedule also includes road games at UCF and Boise State. The Cougars should be able to pull together another winning season with what will be in front of them in 2014, and the formula will remain familiar with a heavy dose of the running game and a strong defense.
WHO: 8-4 BYU vs. 8-4 Washington (Pac 12)
WHAT: Fight Hunger Bowl (12th Year)
WHERE: AT&T Park in San Francisco, California
WHEN: Dec. 27 at 9:30 p.m. ET
WHY: The Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco certainly will not be starving for offense. Washington and BYU should each have some success moving the football in this game with top 15 offenses and the ability to pu up 30 points per game. The Huskies enter the game having won four of their last five games down the stretch of the regular season. BYU has split their final four games of the year, with road losses at Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
Washington is looking for their highest win total in a year since the 2000 season, which would be a good way to provide some sort of momentum entering the Chris Petersen era for the Huskies. Washington will be coached by interim head coach Marques Tuiasosopo with Steve Sarkisian already getting settled in to his new job with USC. The Huskies will be led by quarterback Keith Price (2,8843 passing yards, 20 touchdowns) and running back Bishop Sankey (1,775 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns). It should be quite a difficult one-two combo for BYU’s defense to slow down, but BYU’s defense has been one of the toughest for teams to score on. BYU held nine of their opponents to fewer than 21 points, with linebacker Kyle Van Noy leading the defensive effort.
Both teams have quarterbacks who should be heavily involved on offense. While Washington has Price under center, BYU will have Taysom Hill led the Cougars in rushing with 1,211 yards and nine touchdowns. Hill edged running back Jamaal Williams and his 1,202 yards and seven touchdowns.
This game has potential to be back-and-forth, but Washington should have the overall athletic advantage that should prove to be a difference by the end of the game. If BYU’s defense can avoid letting Washington pull away, the Cougars should have a shot at picking up their fifth straight bowl win.
PREDICTION: Washington 36, BYU 34
Washington may not know their bowl destination for another few days, but the Huskies do know who will coach the team. Quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo will take over as interim head coach for the Huskies following the loss of head coach Steve Sarkisian to USC. The school made the announcement on their athletics website Wednesday evening and it will be his first chance to serve as a head coach in his young couching career.
Tuiasosopo joined Washington’s coaching staff this season after a previous stint as an assistant coach at UCLA. The former Rose Bowl MVP is embracing the opportunity to coach the Huskies in their upcoming bowl game, even if it is only for one game. Tuiasosopo is not likely to be named the new head coach once Washington gets through their search for a new head coach.
“I’m humbled and so honored,” Tuiasosopo said. “It’s a great, incredible honor to lead my alma mater in a bowl game.”