Newcomer Jordan Pendleton is making strides at the outside linebacker position, Grant Nelson is back from his injury last year, Coleby Clawson has a year of experience under his belt and Masi Tuitama is pushing to make a statement for a starting spot this spring. Tuitama, the talented 6-foot-2-inch, 215-pound MVP from Pacifica High School, is looking to contribute after redshirting last year as a true freshman.
“Well, I’m on the second team right now and don’t sit as much on the sidelines anymore,” said Tuitama. “I’m more involved with the defense this year and football practice is more fun now. That’s what happens when you’re not standing on the sidelines as much but are more involved. It’s going good and I’m still learning.”
Strongside linebacker requires a lot of those playing the position.
“When you move up you have a lot more responsibility,” said Tuitama. “I guess that’s what happens when you’re not standing on the sidelines as much but are more involved with practice and playing on the defense. Right now I’m working hard to learn all of those responsibilities.
“You have a lot more plays to learn. It’s kind of crazy how much stuff you have to learn now that you’re more involved with the defense. If you thought high school was hard, man that was nothing. This isn’t high school anymore.”
According to Tuitama, the greatest assets one can have in order to play the position effectively are hard work and dedication.
“It takes a lot of hard work in learning all the different things that are involved with the position and then learning how to execute those things at a high level,” said Tuitama. “If you can have a good work ethic than those other things will come.”
Hard work isn’t solely relegated to the field. It’s also time spent evaluating in the film room.
“We have practice filmed and then we spend time watching the entire practice,” Tuitama said. “We watch individual plays and learn what is being done right and wrong. Then we try to fix those things the next practice and do it all over again.
“Our group of linebackers just all work together on the same things. We all just work together to learn the same things. If I don’t understand a play or something we’re trying to do in the defense I’ll ask a Sam linebacker to help me out with understanding it and vice versa.”