April 6, 2009
THE TAUFALELE FILE
Who/What: Joshua Alexander Taufalele, Offensive Guard
Born: Sept. 28, 1988
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Not that Taufalele, a respectful Lobo, would ever do such a thing, but there certainly have been a lot of O-line coaches placed in front of Taufalele over the years.
"For me, it's not that difficult adjusting to a new coach," said the Lobo senior. "I've had a different O-line coach every year since my junior year in high school and one year (at Foothills College, Calif.) I had two coaches in the same season. I had one in the spring and he quit and I got another one in the fall.
"I'm not sure what number I'm on. I think seven."
Taufalele also has seen more than a few offenses in his day and is on No. 2 at the University of New Mexico. The good thing about Coach Mike Locksley's no-huddle, multi-attack scheme is that Taufalele likes this scheme better than any offense he has been asked to block for. And he'll like it even better if the Locksley method of attack keeps Taufalele on the field a whole lot of the time.
"This is one of the harder offenses to learn that I've ever been on, but I can say it's my favorite," said Taufalele. "It gives you a chance to wear down the defense and I like that. And I like being on the field. As long as this offense keeps me on the field, I have no problems."
Taufalele said there are a whole lot of techniques and requirements thrown at a lineman, but basically he says, "it's run block and pass block."
"The techniques are pretty much the same," he said. "I think the biggest requirement of this offense is that you have to be in shape. If you aren't in shape, you are going to be in trouble about three plays in. You'll be sucking wind. I think that's the biggest difference."
The no-huddle, in part, puts pressure on the defense because that unit has to quickly read and adjust to an offensive set. But think about what a no-huddle demands of a huge O-lineman. In an offense that huddles, the O-linemen can walk back to the huddle, stand around a few seconds, catch their breath, walk to the line.
The no-huddle is a hurry-up situation. You run back to the line of scrimmage. The ball is quickly snapped. You do it again and again and again.
Taufalele said he'll go into the 2009 season a bit ahead in his run blocking. "I'm working to improve my pass blocking," he said. "That's important, especially in this type of offense. I need to improve my technique."
Taufalele is one of the more effective Lobos at setting opponents on their rears (pancake blocks), because he carries his 310 pounds on a 6-foot-2 frame. This is one rock-solid Lobo.
He came to UNM from Foothill College and played his prep ball at Independence High in San Jose, Calif. He said one reason he decided to become a Lobo was because of the school's reputation for sending linemen into the NFL.
"That's my goal," said the Lobo, who had established himself as one of the harder working linemen on the team. "Very few players can turn it on come Saturday and I'm not one of them. So, I try to practice like I plan to play."
Taufalele said adapting to a new coach's personality is old hat and if "you just work hard," you'll usually make the coach happy. He also said this year's group of coaches makes it easy to want to work hard.
"This year's coaching staff is really approachable," he said. "You have a chance to bond with them on and off the field. There is a stronger relationship between the players and the coaches and that makes you really want to play for them."