LINCOLN — Tony Tuioti, Nebraska’s new defensive line coach, checked off all the boxes.
Experience in a 3-4 defense? Yep. Recruiting acumen? Yep. An energetic fit for the Huskers’ relatively young staff? Yep.
NU coach Scott Frost, in officially announcing Tuioti’s hiring six days before spring football begins, seemed most intrigued by those ingredients when it came to replacing Mike Dawson, who left the Huskers two weeks ago to take a job with the NFL’s New York Giants.
“We are pleased to add Tony Tuioti to our coaching staff and look forward to having him and his family join us at Nebraska,” Frost said in a press 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, 42, coached Cal’s defensive linemen in 2018 and the team’s outside linebackers in 2017. He signed a two-year contract with Nebraska worth an annual salary of $375,000, which is $100,000 less than Dawson made last season. It’s roughly $100,000 more, though, than the $276,500 Tuioti made at Cal last season, according to the USA Today assistant coaches’ salary database.
“I want to thank Coach Frost for the opportunity to be a part of the Nebraska football family,” Tuioti said in a press 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.”
Under California coach Justin Wilcox — who runs an aggressive 3-4 defense — Tuioti helped produce the Pac-12’s No. 3 total defense (317.2 yard per game) and No. 3 scoring defense (20.4 points per game). Both figures were better than Nebraska’s defensive performance in the 3-4. The Golden Bears also ranked fourth in the conference with 31 sacks and sixth with 77 tackles for loss.
In 2017, he coached linebackers at Cal, which made a dramatic improvement on defense in Wilcox’s first year. Ben Moos, the son of NU Athletic Director Bill Moos, is a redshirt sophomore on the Golden Bears roster.
“Phenomenal coach and mentor to the entire group,” Ben Moos said via text of Tuioti. “Good person, bright mind and very talented recruiter.”
In 2016, Tuioti was Michigan’s director of player personnel — a recruiting role heavily involved in evaluation, organization and logistics for recruiting visits. He served in a similar role at Hawaii, where he was a four-year letterwinner from 1996-99. He was a graduate assistant at Hawaii for two years, director of player personnel in 2008 and 2009 and a position coach for four seasons, 2010-2013, before working two seasons for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns as a quality control defensive line assistant.
In his Cal biography, Tuioti lists two hometowns — Santa Ana, California and Laie, Hawaii. He married a Hawaii volleyball player, Keala Nihpali, and they have seven children — three daughters, Teisa, Teiyana and Teinia, and four sons, Teivis, Teilor, Teitum and Teimana.
Also on Tuesday, Nebraska 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.
Tony Tuioti timeline
1996-99: Played defensive line at Hawaii
2000-01: Hawaii graduate assistant
2003-04: Kalaheo (Hawaii) High School head coach
2007: Las Vegas Silverado High School defensive coordinator
2008-09: Hawaii director of player personnel
2010-11: Hawaii defensive line coach
2012-13: Hawaii linebackers coach
2014-15: Cleveland Browns assistant defensive line coach/quality control
2016: Michigan director of player personnel
2017: Cal outside linebackers coach
2018: Cal defensive line coach
NFL suspends former Husker Randy Gregory for the fourth time
Former Husker and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory was suspended indefinitely Tuesday for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, the fourth time the troubled player has been banned by the league.
The suspension comes about seven months after Gregory was reinstated by Commissioner Roger Goodell following a lengthy process aimed at reviving his career. Gregory missed 30 of the 32 games over two seasons as a result of his first three suspensions.
Gregory had his best year in 2018, posting career highs with six sacks and 14 games. He was reinstated just before the start of training camp last year and was active for the season opener.
While suspensions in the most advanced stage of the league’s substance-abuse policy are at least a year, it wasn’t immediately clear how long the 26-year-old Gregory’s latest ban would be.
His previous suspension was a yearlong ban, and Gregory waited several months beyond that to submit his case to Goodell in hopes of improving his chances. Several teammates wrote letters supporting Gregory’s bid.
The Cowboys declined to comment on Gregory’s latest suspension, and one of his representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
As with the yearlong ban, Gregory won’t be allowed to participate in the Cowboys’ offseason program. He can only go to the team’s practice facility to meet with the person in charge of his treatment.
Gregory slid to the Cowboys late in the second round of the 2015 draft after testing positive for marijuana at the NFL combine. The former Nebraska standout was considered one of the best pass rushers in his draft, and there was promise early with a strong rookie training camp.
After vowing to owner and general manager Jerry Jones that he could control his issues with marijuana, Gregory only made it through one season. He didn’t have a sack as a rookie while missing four games with an ankle injury.
The first suspension, a four-game ban, was announced in February 2016, and he was away from the team during training camp while in rehab. A 10-game suspension came seven months later. Gregory remained with the team while missing those 14 games before playing in the final two games of the 2016 season.
Gregory’s yearlong suspension was announced during Dallas’ two-week break between the end of the 2016 regular season and a divisional playoff loss to Green Bay. He missed all of 2017.
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