Clifford Yoshida has been around the block –—just ask him how long he’s been coaching college football defenses.
“A long time, a long time,” he laughed on Thursday, the second day of spring practice.
Yoshida joined the Georgia Southern football staff during the offseason. He will coach the defensive line with assistant coach Victor Cabral.
During his career, which is approaching 42 years, Yoshida has coached at Duke, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina Central, Towson, North Carolina A&T, East Carolina, Southern University, Utah State and Cal Poly and Grambling State.
It was at Wake Forest when Yoshida met the contact that would bring him to Georgia Southern. Current GSU athletic director Tom Kleinlein was an offensive lineman at Wake Forest when Yoshida was coaching there.
So far, Statesboro reminds Yoshida of another town he worked in.
“It reminds me a little bit about Blacksburg (Va.) when I was at Virginia Tech,” he said. “It’s just a small college town.”
One thing everybody on the defensive line learned right away about their new coach is that he may be the exact opposite of Cabral — an enthusiastic former GSU defensive lineman who played just eight years ago.
“Yeah, coach Cabral’s all fired up, running around, jumping all over the place,” said defensive tackle Blake Riley. “Coach Yoshida’s chill. He sits back and watches us work.”
“Coach Cabral’s going to be the one who says, you know, ‘Do 100 up-downs!’ Coach Yoshida’s the one saying, ‘Alright guys, how about let’s get down there,’” added defensive end Josh Gebhardt.
But Yosdida is happy with the players he inherited from John Scott, who left GSU for Texas Tech after the 2012 season.
“They’ve had good coaching,” Yoshida said, “so it’s been easy so far.”
Yoshida’s defensive philosophy is simple.
“You get your defense lined up, you get them to play hard, and you recruit good players. That makes it easy,” he said. “But most of all you’ve got to get the kids to be assignment- conscious and disciplined. The same old stuff you hear from all the football coaches.”
His first impression on the players seems to have gone over well.
“He’s a very disciplined coach. He values effort. He knows what he’s talking about,” Gebhardt said. “He’s been coaching for a long time, and we’re a young line, so we’re going to need somebody like him with a lot of experience to help us out a little bit.”
Former Georgia Southern Eagles J.J. Wilcox, Brent Russell, Dion DuBose, Darius Eubanks, William Maxwell and John Stevenson will participate in Georgia Southern’s pro day this morning.
NFL Scouts will be in attendance, along with at least one fan.
“I’ll just be watching as a spectator,” Monken said. “They’ll do some stuff in the weight room, they’ll test measurables on them, they’ll take them out to the stadium and run, and time them. They they’ll put them through some drills. They’ll evaluate them, and I imagine we’ll have a good amount of scouts here.”
It won’t be the last chance for the former players to shgow the NFL what they can do.
“This is just one day where they’re going to get evaluated,” Monken said. “There’ll be several more before the draft.”
The Eagles will return to spring camp after spring break, on Tuesday, March 26, at 3:45 p.m.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.