Family man Alualu will be a force on Bears defense

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Tyson Alualu is a "man" on California's defensive line, and we mean that in more ways than one.

For one, the second-team All-Pac-10 selection ranked third in the conference among defensive linemen with 62 tackles in 2008. He added 6 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and six quarterback hurries.

Second, when Alualu is done with classes, team meetings, workouts and practices for the day, he heads home to a wife and two young children.

"It's pretty busy," Alualu said. "My day is pretty much filled up from when I wake up until I get home."

"Busy" is also how the Hawaii native would describe the Bay Area. It was a big transition going from the island lifestyle to the, er, colorful Berkeley community.

"It's way different than Hawaii," he said. "Everything goes by faster here. In Hawaii, everything is laid back."

Alualu saw extensive action as a true freshman and led the line with 52 tackles in 2007, a total that was the most by a Bears defensive lineman since Andre Carter had 60 in 2000.

After he considered entering the NFL draft a year early, though, Alualu thinks he can get better in 2009, a process that started when spring practices began last Saturday.

"I'm working on everything, from playing the run and pass, to working on better technique," he said. "One thing I can get better at is being more violent with my hands."

Alualu will team with junior Cameron Jordan to give the Bears' defense one of the best defensive end combinations in the conference.

Of course, with both weighing around 290 pounds, defensive ends in the Bears' 3-4 aren't your typical 4-3 speed rushers. Alualu projects as a tackle in the NFL.

With a family to think about and take care of, Alualu admits he thinks about playing at the next level. But Alualu, humble and soft-spoken, said he's focused on Cal's season, not personal goals.

"I'll do whatever it takes for my team to win games," he said.

The big question for Cal's defense is how to replace a trio of marquee linebackers -- Zach Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder -- each of whom figures to be drafted this April.

Alualu isn't worried.

"Last year was a learning process running the 3-4," he said. "This year, everybody who's coming back will know it a little better. We lost three great linebackers, but we've got great depth at that position. I don't see that as a flaw. I still think we can be better as a team."

In other words, Alualu expects to keep busy this fall.