VIDEO: DL Coach Ikaika Malloe on Day Three

Washington Defensive Line Coach Ikaika Malloe spoke to the media after Day Three of UW Spring Football, held on the east field next to Husky Stadium on a beautiful Friday morning. It was our first chance to talk to the former Husky, who moved back to Seattle right before Christmas to take over for Jeff Choate, and he had a lot to talk about.

On having a young group “It’s exciting. It’s exciting to have such a young group, especially with the carry over in terms of coaching. From what coach Choate had done and what coach Kwiatkowski has done, it’s really just jumping on the train and continue on what they’ve already learned. We do a lot of drills constantly create good habits we’re constantly going over and over. In terms of class, very excited about that. In terms of technique and carry over, the same to what they’ve done in the past.”


On Benning Potoa’e “We expect a lot from him. We expect for him to get on the field, first to learn the playbook and get better in terms of technique then show what he’s got. Our job as coaches is to make sure what we’ve seen in the highlight films that recruited him here is to get on the field on the defensive side. We expect good things out of him.”


Has he been a slow learner of the playbook? “No, not really. To me he’s a typical freshman in terms of grasping the whole part. Some can be confusing, some not. But he’s here doing extra work in terms of the playbook, out on the field learning the techniques. Everything is very new to him, but the more with experience it will come and he’ll get better.”


How much carry over was there from Utah State to now with the concepts he wants to apply? “There’s really a lot of carry over. The coaching profession as a whole is kind of a fraternity in itself. I knew coach Kwiatkowski back when I was in Division I-AA football. Coach K is a man of repetition, so he does a lot of the same techniques over and over and just gets better at them. He’s a master your craft type person. When I came over I knew most of the techniques they were doing. Some of them I’ll have to learn, but for the most part we’re really just reemphasizing what they’ve learned, maybe in a different language. Sometimes I’m not speaking the correct language, which I’ll learn as time goes on. But you should see and expect the same thing out of the defensive line as we did last year.”


Will this year be similar to last year in terms of high aggregate production from the defensive line depth? “I think it will be a combination of both. I think there’s some expectation to have that chip on your shoulder and do both: be productive as well as help out the other guys to make sure they can be productive. We’re trying to accomplish, in terms of up front, make sure we can protect the backers enough so Keishawn (Bierria) and Azeem (Victor) can make some plays. But at the same time pick our battles and know when we should take the one-on-one battles.”


Who’s in the battle to take Tani Tupou’s spot? “It’s tough to say because they’re all learning all of the positions. Elijah (Qualls) obviously was playing nose last year; we moved him out to tackle. We want him to be able to have the versatility to play inside, to play outside. Vita (Vea) will be another one that will be stepping up and learning to play both. Greg Gaines is really solid inside. Then you have Jaylen (Johnson) and right now Benning (Potoa’e) is learning it. Shane Bowman is learning it. It really is a seating chart. Based on what we’ve seen on the film, based on how fast they can learn, that will create our depth chart.”


On the experience being under Chris Petersen “First off, just being back has been an honor and it’s been a privilege for me to be on his staff, to have that opportunity to connect the dots from the years of the 90s – the golden years so to speak – to now in the 2000s. His philosophy to me is something very similar to what I’ve learned from coach Don James and it’s all about building the whole person in general, not just on the field but also off the field. Those are the things that made me want to come back. It’s not only just my school, and I have pride in my alma mater, but the person that is the head man and the person that is out in front of people, in front of our team. His philosophy is something that I cherish.”


How much has it influenced you? “It’s huge because everything is about fit. In our profession, obviously, staying put in on place is hard to do. He actually has that M.O. in terms of staying put, wanting to be in one place, putting his foot in the ground and creating a foundation. That was a huge factor for my wife and I, my family. To me, the icing on the cake was being home and being able to wear purple and gold again.”

Last time you were here, how much is it different now that you’re settled and have a family? - “The market has changed since the last time I was here. We are learning the new market system here, still trying to look. I’m staying at my best friend, Ink (Aleaga), I’m actually staying with Ink. I’m his roommate now until his wife says get out of the house. So we’re still trying to find our roots here and where we can afford to live will be our home. But most importantly, trying to help out this program as much as we can.”

There’s a strong Polynesian bond on the team, especially on the DL. Hope to continue that? - “I have a lot of pride and honor in terms of trying to continue that. The Polynesian community has been a huge part of this program, especially up front along the defensive line. In fact today I saw one of our ex-players, Junior Coffin, when I was a grad assistant here. He was playing under Randy Hart. Those things are important to me, but I also want to make sure it carries over to everybody else, regardless of the race, and learning their culture and them learning ours and really combining it together to make one Husky culture.”

How much of Coach Hart is in Coach Malloe’s coaching? - “Quite a bit. When I was here as a player…coach Petersen and coach James, the carryover is very similar, and coach Hart and coach Lambright - those two were huge. Coach Pelluer, coach Elmassian - those guys were huge in terms of what my values have grown to become, besides my family’s and my morals. When I got here, they taught me what it is to be a Husky and how it is to carry yourself when you go out in the world. In my coaching, because I had a chance to coach under coach Hart, a lot of the techniques are carried over here in terms of his style. His style is pretty much tough love. It’s showing them how much he loves them but really not letting them get away with anything in terms of details. That’s what, to me, coach Hart represents."

Worried people might remember the betting pools when you came back? - “You can’t help but think about the last thing you did here. I put a stain on our program. I was part of it, part of a scandal I’m not proud of, but I had an opportunity to learn from it and it look me seven different schools to continue to get better. What I’ve done now with the things I’ve been a part of is teach younger kids to be pro-active and be ahead of the game in terms of - if I see something, nip it in the bud. I’m really excited to come back because now I can show the new me, the new Ikaika. The improved Ikaika, not really the new Ikaika, and what I’ve learned over the years, what I can bring to the team and hopefully leave a better name for our university moving forward.”

What is next for the UW defense? Where are the next steps? - “There’s always a next step. There’s goals that, obviously we’ll keep private and continue to work on that. Coach Kwiatkowski…even starting at the top with coach Petersen, no one in this program is really satisfied with where we’re at. Everything is about taking that next step. Even though we are are number one, what took us to get to that point? And what more details can we improve on to either stay on top of everybody - which means keep moving forward. We have a target on our back in terms of trying to keep that number-one spot, and then even excel past that.”

Any of the DL asked you about playing offense too, especially after seeing Tani Tupou do DL and Fullback work during his Pro Day? - “For sure. All of them. That’s the beauty of our defensive line. They are so charismatic, Elijah could probably play quarterback if you gave him a chance. It was great for the program for Tani to not only work out as a defensive lineman, but the NFL giving him a chance to work out as a fullback. You can see how versatile he is and looking forward to seeing how the players can fit that role. “ Top Stories