Let's switch gears on the home page and focus today a bit on football. Got bunch of news and notes to pass on before spring football which is just little more than month away. As noted in our fanpost section yesterday CRN is finishing up putting together his coaching staff for next year by bringing in Tim Hundley. He made it official yesterday:
The new Bruin assistant spent seven seasons on Neuheisel's staffs at Colorado and Washington and both were assistants together at UCLA for four seasons.
"Tim is an outstanding coach," Neuheisel said. "Having been a coordinator for much of his career, he is well-versed in all areas of defense. He has also spent 19 years as an assistant at Pac-10 schools and is an aggressive, successful recruiter. He is a great fit for our defensive staff."
More on Hundley's experience from UCLA's official release:
Hundley's coaching resume includes 18 years as a defensive coordinator - two at Clackamas Community College (1975-76), one at Idaho (1979), six at Oregon State (1984-89), five at Washington (1998-03) and four at UTEP.
Hundley served as the defensive coordinator at Washington under Neuheisel from 1999-02, and as co-defensive coordinator for the Huskies in 2003. He tutored the outside linebackers from 1999-02 before overseeing the entire linebacking corps in 2003. He also supervised the punt coverage unit during his final season with the Huskies.
He began his coaching career in 1974 as a graduate assistant at Western Oregon State, his alma mater. He went on to stints at Clackamas Community College (1975-76), Idaho (1977-79) and Nevada (1980-81). In 1978, he coached the running backs at Idaho, marking the only time in his coaching career that he has spent time on the offensive side of the ball.
In 1982, he began a long-running association with the Pac-10 Conference. He worked at Oregon State for eight years before enjoying six seasons (1990-95) at UCLA as inside linebackers coach and, in the latter three years, special teams coordinator. The 1993 staff also included Neuheisel, offensive line coach Bob Palcic and running backs coach Wayne Moses.
Following three years on Neuheisel's staff at Colorado (1996-98), he followed Neuheisel to Washington.
Many of us have fond memories of that 1993-94 team.
CRN mentioned how Hundley's extensive experience will be a nice complement to the hiring of first year DC Bullough (who has been around UCLA for a while now) and new assistant Carnell Lake:
"It wasn't mandatory, but I thought if you could get it, it would be terrific because you've got a young coordinator," Neuheisel said. "I mean young in terms of there are going to be things that come up that are the first time it happens. ... I remember being a head coach for the first time. There are times when you just have to wing it, and if you have somebody on your staff that has been through that, sometimes he can give you ways to look at the problem."
Hundley is coming into a program which has generated a lot of positive momentum in last few weeks from a clutch finish in this recruiting season. Athlon.com had a nice rundown on the Bruin recruiting class of 2009, which they ranked as the number 11 class in the nation:
Along with Alabama, Michigan and Ole Miss, UCLA had a great signing day, finishing as strong as any team in the nation. Neuheisel and staff have finished strong two years in a row. Three of the top five players in this class were not committed prior to NSD. Kudos go to the staff in Westwood for, as The Wizard would say, "playing to the whistle."
The areas of focus were offensive line, secondary and linebacker. Six big blockers head to Los Angeles in this class highlighted by Xavier Su'a Filo and Stan Hasiak. This group is also the most geographically diverse as Utah, Texas, California and Hawaii each sent at least one lineman to UCLA. Su'a Filo has a great mental make-up and is the premier tackle of the group while Hasiak's raw strength makes him the top guard. If all things play out as they should, this group has three tackle prospects and three guards.
Four solid linebackers signed with this class, headlined by Todd Golper. It is not a big group — no player is listed bigger than 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds — but all four can run. This group adds great depth to a position of need.
The secondary might be the strongest area of this class. Four to seven prospects could end up playing in the defensive backfield for the Bruins. Marlon Pollard is the top rated corner in this group unless Randall Carroll gets moved to defense. Sheldon Price and Stanjarivus McKay add great size (6-foot-2) to a roster that featured a 2008 class of Aaron Hester, Anthony Dye and E.J. Woods. Throw in corner Alex Mascarenas and speedster Damien Thigpen and one could argue this is the strongest position on the UCLA roster.
The quantity of the offensive skill players is not high but the quality is as good as it gets. Quarterback Richard Brehaut was hand picked by passing guru Neuheisel over other highly rated signal callers. He does not have elite size but is big enough and is one of the most accurate passers in the nation. Carroll is the best pure athlete in this class and could be a dynamic force all over the field — wide receiver, running back, return man and even cornerback. Add the nation's top tight end prospect in Morrell Presley and the offense has added some nice pieces for the future. For a smaller, split out type tight end, Presley actually has solid blocking skills and with some added size could turn into a great tight end. If the Bruins decide to use him strictly as a pass catcher, he will be a nightmare-ish match-up for smaller corners or slower safeties. Fred Davis is a solid comparison.
Morrell will of course be out there in Spaulding this spring as he enrolled in UCLA following probably the most blockbuster recruiting annoucment of the season, which changed the whole recruiting lanscape in Los Angeles (leading to lot of amusing yapping from Petey's poodles cross town). Along with Morrell, Richard Brehuat is also going to be out there taking part in perhaps the most spirited QB competition in recent years in Westwood. So while we are all in the middle of hoops season, there are many reasons we already salivating over spring.
So much for UCLA being just a basketball school.