Cal hires Todd Howard to coach defensive line

Former Washington State assistant coach Todd Howard has been named Cal’s new defensive line coach, head coach Jeff Tedford announced on Saturday. Howard spent five seasons as UCLA’s defensive line coach before holding the same position with the Cougars in 2011.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for me to work with Jeff Tedford and the Cal football program,” Howard said in a statement. “Cal teams always play hard and are well coached, and I believe that my coaching experience and knowledge will be an asset to the program. I am familiar with this conference and coaching the defensive line at this level.”

From 1984-86, Howard was a starting linebacker for Texas A&M, where he was an honorable mention All-American. He was drafted in the third round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs and played in the league for two seasons. He bounced around different colleges as an assistant coach before serving as a defensive assistant from 1998-99 with the St. Louis Rams. He was Jacksonville’s assistant defensive line coach from 2003-05

He returned to the collegiate coaching ranks with UCLA, coaching three first-team All-Americans on the D-line. Under Howard’s tutelage, the Cougars ranked seventh in the Pac-12 in rushing defense, giving up 63 fewer yards than 2010’s last-place unit.

“He has a tremendous amount of experience as both a coach and player at the NFL and collegiate level,” Tedford said. “We’ve had an opportunity to play against several of the teams he has coached in the past, and I’ve always been impressed by the way his defensive line has played. He is also consistent with what we stand for at Cal and will be an excellent mentor to our student-athletes athletically, academically and socially.”

Howard takes over for Tosh Lupoi, who left Cal abruptly on Monday to be Washington’s defensive line coach and defensive run game coordinator.