It has been a hectic week for UCLA football in terms of the coaching vacancy search. On the positive front, UCLA has officially hired Noel Mazzone as OC after what seemed like weeks of slightly nervous tension. Along with Mazzone, Jeff Ulbrich has also been officially hired as LB/ST Coach. On the negative side of things, John Pagano decided to stay in San Diego after Norv Turner remained as head coach and Pagano received a promotion to DC. Fortunately, Coach Mora appears to have a "Plan B, C, and D" in mind.
We'll break down the current staff and options after the jump.
To date, the following names have been announced as Mora's assistant coaches:
Offensive Coordinator: Noel Mazzone
Offensive Line: Adrian Klemm
Running Backs: Steve Broussard
Tight Ends: Marques Tuiasosopo
Defensive Line: Inoke Breckerfield
Defensive Backs: Demetrice Martin
Special Teams/LB: Jeff Ulbrich
That leaves Defensive Coordinator and one position coach to fall under the nine assistant coach limit. A team can also have two graduate assistants, a strength and conditioning coach, and unlimited undergraduate assistants.
We'll take a look at some of this candidates to fill the slots after the jump.
Coach Breckterfield and Coach Martin have already shown their respective recruiting abilities, but it has yet to be seen whether they are refined in the technical aspects of coaching 18-22 year olds. Our defensive line was underwhelming last year, and Martin did not seem to make much of a difference at UW. Ulbrich may be a good asset here, but he's also going to be splitting his time as ST Coach. Needless to say, we do not only need a DC; we need a DC who can also coach technique.
Jim Leavitt - The current LB Coach of the San Francisco 49ers and former head coach at South Florida has a lot to offer. He comes from good pedigree, having coached under Bill Snyder at Kansas State. Snyder's coaching tree includes Bob Stoops, Brett Venables, and Bret Bielema, just to name a few. Leavitt has 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, and is undoubtedly aware of the nuances of the college game.
Ken Norton Jr. - Norton got his fair share of vitriol during his stint at USC, but the bottom line is that the guy brings energy, can recruit, and knows the technical aspects of the game. However, it's not clear if he is ready for a DC gig.
Greg Manusky - It would be a twist of fate if we were to hire the guy that cost us our initial hire. Manusky was fired by the San Diego Chargers and cleared room to promote Pagano to DC. Manusky previously served as DC of the San Francisco 49ers from 2007-10, and was LB coach of the San Diego Chargers prior to that. He also runs a 3-4 scheme and is very similar to Pagano. However, he does not have any collegiate coaching experience and will undoubtedly receive some NFL coaching offers.
Ed Donatell - The current Secondary Coach of the San Francisco 49ers previously served as DC under Coach Mora with the Atlanta Falcons. Donatell was also the DC for the winless 2008 UW Huskies, but that team was so gutted of talent that there is no way of telling how much of the blame falls on Donatell.
Kalani Sitake - Sitake is in his second year as Utah's DC and 6th year on the staff. Kyle Whittingham is a good defensive coach to learn under, and Sitake is also a good recruiter that has familiarity with the Los Angeles area.
Jeff Casteel - It appears that Casteel's decision is whether to stay at WVU or go to Tucson with his former coach, RichRod. Casteel runs a 3-3-5, which is probably foreign to Mora, but after watching how it slowed Clemson in the Orange Bowl, it's intriguing. In case anyone is wondering, Casteel did not follow RichRod to Michigan and was not responsible for the disaster in Ann Arbor.
Randy Shannon - The former Miami head coach seems to have escaped the scandal with minimal fallout. If anything, Shannon looks like the only guy saying "stop". There are rumors that he has been hired as Tennessee's DC, replacing the departed Justin Wilcox who left for UW.
Eric Yarber - There have been a lot of rumors swirling that Yarber will be hired as the wide receivers coach. Yarber worked with Dennis Erickson from 1998-2009, minus a two year stint at UW under Tyrone Willingham while Erickson was on hiatus, and spent a year with Mazzone at Oregon St. in 2002. Yarber has been Tampa Bay's WR coach under Raheem Morris, but Morris and his entire staff was recently let go leaving Yarber unemployed. If Mora can land Yarber, he would be a great addition.
Angus McClure - McClure served as ST Coach last year, but he may be staying on in another capacity. Prior to last year, Coach McClure was the Director of On-Campus Recruiting for Football. He previously coached the offensive line at running game at University of Buffalo under Turner Gill and Nebraska under Bill Callahan. McClure is a recruiting asset, and this may be a scenario where Mora keeps McClure on the staff through signing day before he returns to the administrative role which he previously served. That way, McClure could be used to recruit off-campus for the next month and Mora could wait for Leavitt or Donatell.
Strength and Conditioning Coach
There are rumors floating that Sal Alosi has been hired as the S&C Coach. Alosi has an interesting past but he could potentially be a great get for UCLA. He had a promising career before he made a dumb mistake. He can redeem himself in Westwood, while in return Bruins will get a pro caliber coach, who for the first time in our program history will be an S&C coach exclusively dedicated to football.