VIDEO: Ikaika Malloe on Spring Ball Day 11 spoke with first-year UW Defensive Line Coach Ikaika Malloe about settling into his new position, getting bigger along the defensive line, and who is stepping up to fill the leadership and position void left by Tani Tupou.

Does it feel like you’re settled in? “I think it’s still a process but I’m slowly getting my feet under me. My family is still in the process of moving. But in terms of the football part of it, it’s feeling like home more and more in terms of trying to combine the old with the new from getting used to the program coach Petersen is running here. In terms of the OKG and taking the next step and those types of things. And the defensive line, I think they’re having a great spring so far. They’re working hard and trying to get better at techniques and I think we’ll finish off strong.”


What does a bigger defensive line bring to the table? “I think it will help us be multiple with the bigger front. We can always get back to our 3-4 look as well as have the addition of having a 4-3 look with what Elijah (Qualls) brings to the table. We can be a lot more stout on the boundary side and we can put some speed – and that’s what we’re doing with Jojo (Joe Mathis), moving him outside and bringing him off the edge.  It just gives us more versatility in terms of what we’re doing on defense.”


On the battle to fill Tani Tupou’s old spot “It’s a battle that’s going to continue all through spring and even to fall. Like you said, Tani (Tupuo) is a big hole that we have to fill, and even try to move Vita (Vea) outside. We’re trying to do as much as we can. It’s a seating chart for the defensive line that we’ll keep rotating until we can feel comfortable. And maybe it takes two or three guys to fill up what one person did. But ultimately if we can get the same results in terms of what Tani brought to the table, we’ll be happy with that.”


So there’s a possibility we see a Greg Gaines, Elijah Qualls, Vita Vea defensive line in a base package?“Absolutely. They’re learning all three positions. We learn in pattern in terms of pressure so they know what side. And they can move from a nose to a tackle, like Greg (Gaines). And Vita (Vea) can move from a nose to an end. That puts a lot of versatility in terms of what we can do moving people around and accomplishing different things.”


On Benning Potoa’e “A lot better in terms of understanding the package. He’s knowing how to put his own tools into the package, so we’re starting to see a lot of the things that we saw on the highlight film. He’s progressing the way that we want him to progress and we just have to keep pushing him. We’ll just keep pushing him and pushing him until he feels more confident and comfortable and then we’ll see the results that we want.”


Who is the stepping up as a leader? “You know, Vita (Vea) does that as well, leading by example. He’s always the first in line. He’s in the meetings trying to be early. So he’s trying to take that role as well. Obviously he has some experience to prove and experience to earn, so right now Elijah (Qualls) is leading it vocally and Vita is probably leading more by example.” Top Stories