This is where Jamar Cain goes to lose himself in thought.
The barber shop, with a swivel chair, good company and football talk, including where to find a run-stopping, wide-body recruit.
The old haunt is "Another Look Hair Salon" on Valley Hi Drive in Cain's old stomping grounds of south Sacramento, where he graduated from Valley High School.
Cain planned to be in town this week as the first-year defensive-line coach for Wyoming. Instead, he's touring high school practices – and feeding on mom's home cooking – as the Cowboys' interim defensive coordinator. Such is the transient, cutthroat business of the college game; yield too many points, and it's over.
Cain replaces Chris Tormey, who was fired this week after Wyoming lost to Colorado State 52-22 and San Jose State 51-44.
The Cowboys (4-4) have a bye today before resuming Mountain West Conference play in Laramie on Nov. 9 against No. 16 Fresno State.
From the barber chair to the hot seat, Cain insists he's ready.
"The hardest part is someone had to lose their job, but it's the nature of the business," Cain said. "We all know that when we sign up for this. But I'm excited for the opportunity. We can get better, and we have to get better.
"We've got to simplify, play fast and tackle. Our offense is in the top 10 in the nation. We need to help our team with better defense."
Cain said defensive linemen are the most difficult prospects to recruit. With so many spread offenses, teams stockpile players to rotate in for a pass rush or to clog the running lanes.
"You need guys up front to survive," said Cain, who was a standout defensive lineman at Sacramento City College and New Mexico State in the early 1990s. "Control the middle of the line, and you've got a shot. So I'm on the lookout for players, always."
In the early winter of 2011, with an assist from his friends at the barber shop, Cain found a run-stuffing gem. The barber asked Cain if he knew about Marcus Paige-Allen, a defensive tackle at Sheldon and nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Larry Allen. Cain soon found out, then offered Paige-Allen a scholarship to Cal Poly, where he was an assistant coach. Paige-Allen and Cal Poly play at UC Davis today.
Cain said he and wife DeCarla enjoy living in Laramie, where his children, Cosby and Cali, "really love the snow and get into snowball fights."
On Thursday, Cain soaked up the 70-degree temperature and visited Pleasant Grove and Inderkum high schools. He chatted for a moment, then was off, to another school, and another chance to spot a stopper.
Longtime Kings fan Dusty Baker, who looked refreshed at Sleep Train Arena before Wednesday night's season opener, said he's not finished with baseball.
Baker, a three-time National League Manager of the Year who recently was fired by the Cincinnati Reds, has expressed interested in the Detroit Tigers' opening. But Baker, 64, also said he'd like to see his son, Darren, play sports at Jesuit.
Baker, from Del Campo, was the runner-up for National League Manager of the Year in 2010 and 2012 with the Reds.
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