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Justin Wilcox heading to USC; Tosh Lupoi off Washington’s staff

One of two key defensive assistants on Steve Sarkisian’s staff at Washington will be joining the head coach at USC.

Justin Wilcox WashingtonMultiple reports have said that Justin Wilcox is expected to be announced as USC’s next defensive coordinator. Wilcox served as defensive coordinator for the Huskies the past two seasons following stints as the defensive coordinator at Tennessee and Boise State. Wilcox has long been expected to join Sark at USC; his expensive buyout was the obstacle keeping him from leaving Seattle for LA.

The Seattle Times’ Adam Jude says Wilcox signed a “mutual termination agreement” with Washington and that no money changed hands between UW and USC.

The situation with Tosh Lupoi is an interesting one. Lupoi was a defensive line coach at Washington and considered to be one of the best recruiters in the country. He was expected to join Sark at USC, but that plan was abandoned after Lupoi was implicated in a recruiting scandal.

Jude reports that Lupoi has “been reassigned to other duties within the athletic dept.” Jude says the amount of money Washington would have to pay Lupoi for terminating him without cause is $700,000, but that figures cuts in half if he is let go between Jan. 14, 2014-Feb 2015.

We imagine Lupoi will be punished by the NCAA, which would probably keep him out of top coaching jobs for a year or two. Still, between Wilcox, Marques Tuiasosopo and more, Sarkisian has done a good job of keeping his staff together.

Justin Wilcox, Tosh Lupoi buyouts are obstacle for USC

Justin Wilcox WashingtonUSC wants Washington Huskies defensive assistant coaches Justin Wilcox and Tosh Lupoi to join Steve Sarkisian’s staff, but their buyouts at Washington remain an obstacle.

Wilcox, who has served as Washington defensive coordinator the past two seasons following stints at Tennessee and Boise State, has a $1 million buyout. Lupoi, who is a defensive line coach and considered one of the best recruiters in the country, has a $400,000 buyout.

LA Daily News USC football reporter Scott Wolf says the Trojans will pay $400,000 for Lupoi’s buyout, but they don’t want to pay a million for Wilcox:

Wilcox is said to be a candidate to replace Sarkisian as the Huskies’ head coach, but there are a few bad signs. For one, the Huskies interviewed Chris Petersen and Doug Nussmeier for the position. Two, they named Marques Tuiasosopo interim head coach for their bowl game. It sounds like they are preparing for him to leave for USC.

Huskies running backs coach Johnny Nansen, defensive backs coach Keith Heyward, and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon are among those headed to USC with Sark, as reported by Softy Mahler and Adam Jude. With Sarkisian taking half the Huskies staff with him to Los Angeles, the new Washington coach will likely bring in a bunch of new staffers.

Justin Wilcox, Tosh Lupoi reportedly going to USC with Sarkisian

Tosh LupoiUSC may be getting more than just Steve Sarkisian as the new coach of the football program. They may also be getting some of his top assistants.

According to reports, Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and Washington defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi (pictured right) will be coming with Sark to So Cal.

Dave “Softy” Mahler of KJR in Seattle reported the news about Wilcox and Lupoi:

Adam Gorney at Rivals also reported it:

Lupoi played college football at Cal and was a successful defensive coach and recruiter under Jeff Tedford from 2008-2011 until being hired by Sarkisian. Sark bringing him to LA would also have another consequence — it would likely mean Ed Orgeron, who is also a defensive line coach, would not be retained by USC.

Justin Wilcox WashingtonWilcox (pictured) is another former Jeff Tedford assistant at Cal. He also served as defensive coordinator under Chris Petersen at Boise State and Derrick Dooley at Tennessee before being hired by Sarkisian last year. He is said to be a candidate to fill the Washington vacancy now that Sarkisian is leaving, so it might not be a guarantee that he accompanies Sark to LA.

In many cases, the ability of the head coach to fill his staff with quality assistants has immeasurable importance. If Sarkisian can bring two of his top assistants with him, that will give him a great advantage in recruiting and implementing schemes.

Also see: Steve Sarkisian is a good coach but likely won’t build a dynasty at USC

Justin Wilcox Easily Beats Vitor Ribeiro, Looks Like a Strikeforce Contender

I got to see the Strikeforce Challengers 12 in Jackson, Mississippi on Friday night and was entertained by some of the fights. The only disappointment came in the middle of the card when the Marius Zaromskis-Waachiim Spirit Wolf fight was called after six seconds because Spirit Wolf was poked in the eye. That would have been an exciting fight, but Justin Wilcox made up for it putting on a clinic in the main event.

The former wrestler and bodybuilder gave up little ground to Shaolin, the Dream veteran, winning by unanimous decision. Wilcox won the fight 30-27 on all three judges’ cards and really was only damaged a few times when he took shots to the face. He beautifully fended off any attempts by Ribeiro to get a takedown, dropping his hips and blocking Shaolin from grabbing his legs. Wilcox decided to win the fight using his stand-up game and constantly peppered Ribeiro with punches to the body and face, doing a good amount of damage.

At 5’6″ and 155lbs, Wilcox is an absolute beast, earning the nickname “The Silverback” for his muscular stature. He is a physical specimen with good conditioning, and his stand-up game is strong, serving as a nice complement to his wrestling game. The only area where it appears Wilcox needs work is how he beats his opponents. Eight of his 10 wins have come by decisions with one coming by TKO and the other by submission. You’d like to see more variety in what he can do to beat his foes, but he looks like an emerging contender.