After a long drawn out, angst ridden process Rick Neuheisel finally completed the overhauling of his coaching staff this week. He finished his reorganization of his staff by hiring Inoke (pronounced ee-NO-kay) Breckterfield as his new DL coach. The official site release (HT OswegoBruin):
"Inoke is an outstanding young talent who I feel will have a great impact on our defensive linemen," said Neuheisel. "(Oregon State head coach) Mike Riley and (Montana head coach) Robin Pflugrad were both effusive in their praise of Inoke and he really impressed me, Joe Tresey and the other defensive assistants during his interview. You can tell by listening to him that he is a real people person who will connect with our linemen and will be an outstanding recruiter as well."
Breckterfield, 33, coached the defensive line at Montana in the 2010 season. The Grizzlies ranked first in the Big Sky and 14th in the BCS in tackles for loss (7.64 per game) and second in the league and 18th nationally in sacks per contest (2.64). Montana ranked 103rd and 88th in those categories, respectively, in 2009.
The new Bruin coach tutored the defensive line at Weber State in 2009. Following that season, he moved to Portland State but was hired at Montana two months later. Prior to his stint in Ogden, he spent three seasons under Riley at his alma mater, Oregon State. He was a graduate assistant coach for the Beavers in 2008 and 2007 and was a volunteer coach in 2006, working with the defensive line.
Breckterfield sounds like a promising addition to this staff. Bruins desperately needed infusion of young and energetic assistants who not only can serve as good technical instructors, but can also prove themselves as bulldogs on the recruiting trail.
It was not clear the last 3 years whether the Bruins had such a young recruiting bulldog on their staff besides Clark Lea (helping out the tenacious head coach). May be Breckterfield can fill that role and also develop a DL which should be loaded with one of the most talented group of athletes in the West Coast (if not the nation) next season. For now Breckterfield appears to be a plus on paper but we will judge him by results on the field in 2011.
With the addition of Breckterfield UCLA's staff looks like this:
Rick Neuheisel - Head Coach
Mike Johnson - Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
Joe Tresey - Defensive Coordinator
Inoke Breckterfield - Defensive Line
Frank Gansz, Jr. - Special Teams
Tim Hundley - Secondary
Clark Lea - Linebackers
Jim Mastro - Tight Ends/F-Backs
Wayne Moses - Running Backs
Bob Palcic - Assoc. Head Coach - Offense/Offensive Line
Mike Linn - Head Athletic Performance Coach
Over all - on paper - the staff appears to be an upgrade from last 3 years. Mike Johnson brings lot more to the table as a WR coach than Reggie Moore. The Rick Neuheisel/Norm Chow experiment never worked out. May be he will sync up better with Rick. Jim Mastro could turn out to be a solid addition, helping to incorporate his understanding of pistol formation (not an "offense" but a "formation") in Neuehisel/Johnson's offensive scheme.
Bob Palcic has been a steady rock in this staff for last 3 years. Wayne Moses has produced mixed results. Both of those guys will have plenty of talent to work with next season. We will go through the depth charts in due time this spring and summer.
On the defensive side Joe Tresey - on paper (there is that phrase again) - sounds good. He brings a lot of experience and could prove himself a solid teacher who can shape this unit into fundamentally sound unit. I gave my thoughts about the new DL coach and Lea above. I am hopeful about those guys. Our DBs have been decent under Tim Hundley last few years.
Frank Gansz remains a question mark for me. I haven't been impressed with our special teams last few years. Our kicking game is reliable but we should get lot more out of the rest of our special teams with the talent available on our roster. I have the same impression on Mike Lynn too. The guy sounds good on those YouTube videos but we have been hearing same rhetoric/PR about UCLA guys getting bigger and better for last 12 off-seasons.
Taking everything into consideration thoough, the overhauling of this staff appears to be a net positive. Addition of Johnson and Tresey look to be an upgrade over Chow and Bullough from chemistry and experience factor. Mastro brings proven experience and Inoke could turn out to be infusion of much needed energy boost in this program.
What my worry here is that whether this change is too little too late. Rick will have to lead a program working with two new coordinators and develop a workable chemistry in a short period of time.
Rick knows that he has one shot to get this right. I don't think he will be able to justify his return as a head coach if he just wins 6 games letting the program be stuck in neutral. He will need to produce results by his fourth season which would most likely entail winning somewhere around 8-9 regular season games and beating SC. We hope Rick will get it done and restore much needed stability in this program.