UCLA Football: A Look at the New Coaching Staff
The UCLA football staff put together by head coach Jim Mora is one of the best in the Pac-12.
The collection of coaches is a great mix of NFL experience and recruiting dynamos on the college level.
A prerequisite to being on the staff is seemingly having strong ties to California. Of the 11 coaches, nine have direct ties to either the state or the Pac-12 conference.
Let's take a look at the staff.
Defensive Line Coach: Angus McClure
Angus McClure is one of the more interesting coaches on the staff.
This upcoming season will mark the sixth year that he's been with the Bruins. Under the former regime, McClure worked with the offensive line, the tight ends and the special teams.
Naturally, Mora chose to retain McClure—as the defensive line coach.
While this may be unconventional, there's some method to the madness. As a former coach on the offensive side of the ball, McClure has an interesting perspective.
He'll be able to work with the Bruin defensive linemen and relay tricks of the trade from an offensive lineman's viewpoint.
Not coincidentally, McClure also holds the title of recruiting coordinator.
McClure is one of two holdovers from the previous staff. The other returnee is tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo.
Linebackers Coach/Special Teams Coordinator: Jeff Ulbrich
There's a lot to like about linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich.
Not only is he a young, hungry coach, but he's a decorated ex-NFL veteran with tons of knowledge to bestow upon college 'backers.
His infectious personality resonates extremely well with recruits, and he's undoubtedly someone who will attract big-time prospects.
A sense of energy and excitement was an aspect sorely lacking in the past coaching staffs. With Ulbrich on board, there will be an abundance of enthusiasm.
Ulbrich is also the special teams coordinator.
Defensive Backs Coach: Demetrice Martin
Much like the majority of the staff, defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin has big-time connections to the Southern California area.
Being fully aware of that, Mora tapped into his Northwest connections and poached Martin from Washington's staff. Mora graduated from and played football at Washington.
As a native of the state, Martin has numerous connections to the fertile recruiting grounds in California. His existing relationships with recruits helped UCLA land safety Taylor Legace as well as 5-star defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy.
The combination of Martin's personality and ties to the area make him a very important member of the new staff.
Defensive Coordinator: Lou Spanos
Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos comes to UCLA with quite an impressive resume.
He's been an NFL assistant coach for 17 years—15 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Throughout that time, Spanos coached nine linebackers who made a Pro Bowl appearance. He also was a member of a staff that made three Super Bowl appearances (with two victories).
Although Spanos has not coached on the college level, his experience in the pro ranks should translate well, especially for the hybrid linebackers and defensive ends that UCLA will employ in its new 3-4 alignment.
His success with linebackers at the NFL level should help to attract top-level recruits at the position.
Here is what Spanos hopes to accomplish defensively.
Wide Receivers Coach: Eric Yarber
Eric Yarber was a big get for the Bruins.
The play of the wide receivers in recent memory have been quite mediocre. A lack of concentration was very noticeable, and any semblance of explosiveness was absent.
With Yarber on board, he should help to shape up one of the poorer units on the football team in recent memory.
Much like Martin, Yarber has strong recruiting ties to the inner city of Los Angeles (he was a Crenshaw High School graduate).
His knowledge of the greater Los Angeles area will be of great help when recruiting, and his experience coaching in the Pac-12 (he previously coached at Arizona State, Washington and Oregon State) should aid him in rekindling relationships with high schools in the area.
Yarber's past as an educator of the game is very impressive. Two of his protégées include All-Pro receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Ochocinco.
Running Backs Coach: Steve Broussard
Steve Broussard comes to the Bruins after departing Arizona State this past year.
Anyone notice the trend with this coaching staff? Seemingly every member has some sort of past connection to a Pac-12 school.
Aside from being a coach with the Sun Devils, Broussard starred at tailback for Washington State. He parlayed his strong college career into being a first-round draft choice of the Atlanta Falcons.
Broussard (like the majority of this staff) is also a native of Southern California.
He'll undoubtedly use his existing recruiting ties to the area—specifically in the Inland Empire—to land some explosive skill-position players.
Tight Ends Coach: Marques Tuiasosopo
Along with McClure, Marques Tuiasosopo is the other holdover from former head coach Rick Neuheisel's staff.
Tuiasosopo was a superb quarterback at Washington before embarking on an eight-year professional career.
As his NFL career ended, he decided to enter the coaching ranks and was hired as an intern under Neuheisel.
This year will mark the first year Tuiasosopo will be a full-time assistant. An added perk to having Tuiasosopo on board will be his impact with the quarterbacks.
He's almost an ace-in-the-hole in the sense that he can tutor some of the younger quarterbacks, giving them advice from his playing days.
Offensive Line Coach: Adrian Klemm
Ever heard of a "rock star" offensive line coach?
Enter Adrian Klemm.
Klemm decided to depart SMU in order to come back home to Los Angeles. As a member of the SMU staff, he was named the top non-BCS recruiter in the nation by Rivals.com, in addition to Fox Sports naming him the 2010 C-USA recruiter of the year.
His recruiting prowess is quite astounding. Not only does he relate to high school kids with his upbeat personality, but he also can display his three Super Bowl rings from his days with the New England Patriots.
Out of every member on the staff, he easily is recognized as the best recruiter. His efforts aren't restricted solely to California, but stretch all across the country.
There's no secret that the offensive line has been atrocious at UCLA over the past years. Klemm does have a lot of work ahead of him, but he's attacking the challenge head-on.
Offensive Coordinator: Noel Mazzone
Erase the memories of the pistol offense, Bruin fans.
Welcome the fun-and-gun of the spread.
The architect behind UCLA's new offense? Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.
The spread will be a complete change from the previous offense. The goal will be to get the athletes out in space with the ball in their hands.
As opposed to attacking the heart of the field, the spread will look to stretch the field horizontally via a myriad of screens, reverses and deceptive draws.
Currently, the team is embroiled in a quarterback competition. While a starter has yet to be named, the prospective starter should be in good hands with Mazzone as the teacher.
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Sal Alosi
If one were to watch UCLA compete in past years, one thing is quite evident: The team was sorely lacking in speed and athleticism.
With that in mind, new strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi might be the most important hire that Mora has made.
A lack of physicality has been incredibly apparent. With Alosi on board, he'll look to not only increase the overall team speed, but also the strength of the squad.
The team looked too bulky over the past couple years. There seemed to be a concentration on lifting that may have compromised quickness and mobility.
Alosi comes to the Bruins after this unfortunate incident with the New York Jets. The motivation to do well should be there for Alosi, as he looks to somewhat rebuild and rectify his career.