Huskers Make New Defensive Line Coach Hiring Official
Photo Credit: Cal Athletics

Huskers Make New Defensive Line Coach Hiring Official

February 26, 2019

On Tuesday, the Huskers officially announced the hiring of new assistant coach Tony Tuioti, who will replace the recently-departed Mike Dawson and serve as the team’s defensive line coach. 

Tuioti joins the Nebraska staff after spending the last two seasons as an assistant at Cal. In his first season with the Golden Bears in 2017, Tuioti coached outside linebackers. In 2018, he moved down to the defensive line. Overall, Tuioti has three years of head coaching experience at the high school level, nine seasons of experience in college football and two seasons as an assistant working with the Cleveland Browns’ defensive line.

“We are pleased to add Tony Tuioti to our coaching staff and look forward to having him and his family join us at Nebraska,” head coach Scott Frost said in a release. “Tony has been a key part of one of the top defenses in the country the past two seasons at Cal. He will bring great energy to our staff, has a strong history of player development, and an impressive recruiting background.”

Tuioti has received a two-year contract with the Huskers and an annual salary of $375,000. The length of his deal matches up with the rest of the assistant coaches, who all agreed to one-year extensions in January. His salary is a $100,000 increase from what he was making at Cal, according to USA Today’s database, but $100,000 less than Dawson made at Nebraska. 

“I want to thank Coach Frost for the opportunity to be a part of the Nebraska football family,” Tuioti said in a release. “I believe in what he is doing and the culture he is building at Nebraska and I am excited to be a part of it.”

During his time at Cal, Tuioti is credited with the development of outside linebackers Alex Funches and Cameron Goode, two of Cal’s “most dynamic players and edge rushers in 2017.” In a 3-4 scheme similar to that of NU defensive coordinator Erik Chinander’s, Tuioti saw Funches total 36 tackles and a team-leading 10.5 tackles for loss. Goode started the first nine games of 2017 before suffering a season-ending injury, but still finished with 46 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception. 

When Tuioti moved to coaching the defensive line in 2018, Cal improved there as well. The Golden Bears went from 52nd nationally in rushing yards allowed per carry to 24th, an improvement of a half-yard a carry. Cal also improved its sack total over the previous season.

He also gets credit for the development of defensive linemen Luc Bequette, Chris Palmer and Tevin Paul. Bequette was honored as the team’s most valuable defensive lineman and earned honorable-mention All-Pac-12 honors in 2018. He finished the year with 49 tackles, five sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. Palmer was a converted offensive lineman who started 10 games at nose guard and finished with 30 tackles, six breakups and two tackles for loss.  Paul saw action at both defensive end and outside linebacker and made 44 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss.

Before Cal, Tuioti was the Director of Player Personnel at Michigan in 2016 where, according to his bio, “he also played a critical role in developing the relationships for a satellite camp tour in the summer of 2016 that included American Samoa, Australia and Hawaii among nearly 40 locations.” The Wolverines’ 2017 recruiting class ranked fifth in the country, according to 247Sports.

Nebraska also announced the hiring of 

Frost also announced the addition of Ryan Feder as a defensive graduate assistant. Feder most recently worked with the Green Bay Packers as a Football Technology Analyst.

Nebraska begins spring practices on Monday, March 4.

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