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Perhaps the most concrete reason to buy into the hype of the Bruins' young secondary is the coaching staff, as defensive masterminds Jim Mora and Lou Spanos will have a field day with all the talent competing for time.
Mora has been around football his entire life, including a 25-year stint as a coach in the NFL. Over the course of his time in the professional ranks, Mora served as a defensive backs coach and a defensive coordinator on four different teams.
Spanos, UCLA's defensive coordinator, also boasts an impressive coaching resume, highlighted by 17 seasons in the NFL. Spanos provided defensive quality control with Pittsburgh, helping the Steelers claim two Super Bowl wins during his tenure.
And if their experience alone doesn't sell you, just look at what they did last year.
Under the tutelage of Mora and Spanos, UCLA's defense was revolutionized in 2012, improving from one of the least productive units in the country to No. 8 nationally in sacks. The catalyst for the Bruins' defensive success was junior LB Anthony Barr, a former offensive player that Mora flipped to D last spring.
After one season, the move has paid dividends for all parties involved...except for opposing players of course.
Barr proved to be an instinctual defender, finishing the season No. 8 in sacks and No. 14 in tackles for loss nationwide. Barr's play fueled his furious climb up the NFL draft boards, and could have landed him a spot in the first round. Part of that is just raw talent, but a major piece is the personnel management and development of Mora, Spanos and LB coach Jeff Ulbrich.
Had it not been for poor play in the secondary, UCLA could have gone a lot further than 9-5 in Mora's first season. And with five starters returning in the front seven, it's clear why a deep, talented defensive backs class has the Bruin faithful enthused.
If Mora and Co. can mold the talented crop of DBs into a solid unit, UCLA would have one of the most suffocating defenses in the Pac-12. The Bruins don't need perfection from the secondary, nor should they expect it given the youth there. The front seven will carry the defense, and a young unit just needs to hold strong. Coach Mora can make that happen.