Energy Will Be The Cornerstone of Tem Lukabu's Defense At Boston College
New Boston College defensive coordinator Tem Lukabu is only 38 years old, but comes to Chestnut Hill with a wealth of college and NFL experience. Most recently, Lukabu was the linebackers coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, but in multiple stops before that he worked with new BC head coach Jeff Hafley. The pair have connected at Rutgers coaching in college, and at Tampa Bay and San Francisco in the NFL.
The two young coaches have a strong connection. When Lukabu heard that his former colleague was heading to Chestnut Hill he was excited for him. "I was happy as heck for him, I have worked with him numerous times. I know how hard getting these opportunities are." After Ohio State was eliminated from the College Football Playoffs, Hafley reached out for an initial conversation about the position. Lukabu was intrigued having grown up in the northeast. He knew that BC was a "prestigious place" and was "super excited" for the opportunity.
Once Lukabu was hired, Hafley hired the position coaches that would work with the two. The new defensive coordinator had complete faith in his head coach, who ended up hiring quite a few coaches that Lukabu hadn't worked with. "If Jeff thought highly of you, he interviewed you, and thought you did a good job, then there's a chance I would too" he told reporters on Monday. "And so far it's been proven right".
Just like Frank Cignetti on the offensive side of the ball, Lukabu has not addressed schemes yet with his team. Instead he has spent the last month and a half reaching out and getting to know his players. He explained the best way to get the most of his players is getting to know the players as a whole person, while connecting and socializing with them. To build upon that he plans on bringing a lesson that he learned in his stops in the NFL, that the most important role of a coach is to be a teacher and help these student athlete reach their goals.
But when Lukabu does sit down to figure out what will work at Boston College in terms of scheme, he is going to start with his personnel and move backwards. He explained that many coaches come up with "great ideas on the board" but they fail because "if our guys can't do them it doesn't matter." The strategy has to fit the personnel, and that is something he is continuing to evaluate.
His strategy and scheme is constantly evolving, just as it has been throughout his career. This should make watching his defenses different every, as he is always "willing to try new things" he told reporters. And he will have to as he faces new and innovative offenses up and down BC's schedule.
When looking for a must in his defense, one characteristic Lukabu promises will be part of his defense is energy. "Cornerstones on defense is energy" he explained "energy will take us to the next level. Places that I have been where we have been successful people want to be there and have energy everyday". And he has felt that wave of energy since coming to Boston College, and knows that head coach Jeff Hafley will bring it as well.
Just like Cignetti, Lukabu talked about winning as an important part of the job. This emphasis comes from the top of the program, and has trickled down. "Hafley is as fierce a competitor as I know." he concluded.