As promised yesterday, we're going to continue our 2012 spring football preview by taking a look at the new coaching staff that will be asked to lead our Bruins (hopefully) back from complete and total irrelevance and return us to the position of national prominence we used to enjoy, where we were regularly competing for the conference title, a trip to the Rose Bowl (not just the stadium, but the The Granddaddy of Them All itself), and seeing UCLA consistently in the polls. Yesterday, we kicked off our spring football preview by first laying down the marker for what we expect out of Jim Mora and his team this season:
So, when you look at our schedule, 8 wins should be the bare minimum expectation for Mora's first year in charge. Bear in mind, UCLA won 6 games last year, with Rick Neuheisel and his mediocre coaching staff in charge, with no stability at QB, and a tougher schedule (against Stanford with Andrew Luck in Palo Alto, against Arizona with Nick Foles in Tucson, against Houston with Case Keenum in Houston). Mora should easily be able to improve that regular-season mark by at least two wins.
With the talent in this program, coupled with an easier schedule than last year, there should be no excuses for anything less than a two-win improvement, with at least 8 wins overall. But more importantly, we'll be looking for UCLA to play tough in every game, show improvement as the season goes on, and show definitive signs that the soft, mediocre-accepting culture of past regimes has been purged: players will be focused, sloppy penalties (like for illegal substitutions or delays of game) will be erased, and players will display proper fundamentals (like you know, actually tackling someone properly).
With that, having taken a look at Coach Mora and his two coordinators, Noel Mazzone and Lou Spanos, let's turn to the individual position coaches, in two parts, beginning this morning, and concluding tomorrow morning with the last few position coaches and our new S&C coach.
Coaching Staff Spring Preview, Part II - Individual Position Coaches
Running Backs Coach Steve Broussard
The former Washington State running back and Pac-10 season (1987-1988 season) rushing leader is now the new running backs coach in Westwood and he'll have a wealth of talent to work with, in Jet Ski, Malcolm Jones, Joystick, as well as the incoming freshmen (Paul Perkins and Kenny Walker, both versatile enough to slot in at running back). Oh, did I forget to mention that Broussard led the Pac-10 in receiving yards as a sophomore running back (1986-1987 season)? Yeah, so I think this guy will now how to coach up these running backs in improving their abilities and techniques in being effective pass-catchers out of the back-field. And, if that wasn't enough, he's one of our key recruiters, having led the recruitment of Randall Goforth and Paul Perkins for Mora.
Total years of coaching experience: 11 years, 6 as a running backs coach
Coaching resume: Offensive coordinator (Don Lugo HS, 1 year); offensive coordinator (Diamond Ranch HS, 1 year); head coach (Diamond Ranch HS, 2 years); running backs and wide receivers coach (Portland State, 3 years); running backs and special teams coach (Washington State, 3 years); wide receivers coach (Arizona State, 2 years)
Alma mater: Washington State University
Notable players coached: , RB (Washington State); Aaron Pflugrad, WR (Arizona State); Gerell Robinson, WR (Arizona State)
Running Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm
Everyone's favorite new UCLA coach, Adrian Klemm's enthusiastic 8-clap tweets got the fan base fired up about UCLA football again and Mora's staff, led by Klemm, Yarber, Martin, and Broussard, went out and got big-name recruit after big-name recruit. The big man from Hawaii not only had a solid collegiate career, but he did pretty well for himself in the NFL, with three Super Bowl rings to prove it. And his UCLA career got off to a hot start, having been the lead recruiter (per Rivals) for new Bruins Ishmael Adams, Alexandru Ceachir, Colby Cyburt, Simon Goines, Carl Hulick, Kenny Orjioke, Jordan Payton, Aaron Porter, and Lacy Westbrook (getting him back in the UCLA fold following Neuheisel's firing).
Total years of coaching experience: 4 years, 4 years as an offensive line coach
Coaching resume: Offensive line coach (SMU, 3 years); offensive line coach/recruiting coordinator (SMU, 1 year)
Alma mater: University of Hawaii
Notable players coached: Kelvin Beachum, OT (SMU)
Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach Demetrice Martin
Another ace recruiter, and one with Pac-10/12 connections, Demetrice Martin left Sark's Washington program to join Mora in Westwood, bringing recruits Taylor Lagace and Tairen Owens with him (both former Washington commits, although Owens ended up not signing a NLI with UCLA), while also enticing Jeremy Castro to sign up for the Blue and Gold. The former Michigan State WR and CB brings expertise to both sides of the ball and, if nothing else, is the main man behind what could be the biggest UCLA football commit in a long time: Ellis McCarthy. Martin, close with Ellis' family, spear-headed the effort to get Mora and UCLA in the game with Ellis, a long-time UCLA fan, who at one point looked destined for Berkeley. Now, we'll get to see what he can do on the coaching side, being given a lot of young talent in the defensive backfield (Adams, Rios, among others, joining Hester, Price, Abbott, Jefferson, Sermons, McKay, and McDonald in the secondary).
Total years of coaching experience: 12 years, 8 as a defensive backs coach
Coaching resume: Assistant coach (Monrovia HS, 2 years); secondary coach (Pasadena CC, 2 years); pass defense coordinator (Mt. San Antonio College, 3 years); defensive secondary graduate assistant (USC, 2 years); secondary/cornerbacks coach (Washington, 3 years)
Alma mater: Michigan State University
Notable players coached: Kevin Thomas, CB (USC); Shareece Wright, CB (USC); Terrell Thomas, CB (USC); Taylor Mays, S (USC); Desmond Trufant, CB (Washington)
Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure
The sole holdover from both the Neuheisel era and Dorrell era, McClure is making the switch from the offensive side of the ball to the defensive line, a position he has never coached before. In fact, it will be his first defensive gig since he was the defensive coordinator at McClatchy HS in Sacramento in 1995. Obviously, given how poor our defensive line was this past year, it's a bit concerning that we don't have a proven DL coach coming in to coach up these guys. We hope that McClure will be the DL coach in name only, instead focusing on recruiting, and leaving the actual coaching to guys with defensive experience, like Mora or Spanos. So, while McClure doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the Bruin fan base (especially with how poor our special teams were under his watch), his recruiting acumen in Northern California can't be ignored, with the Sacramento native having led UCLA's recruitment of Nate Iese, Marcus Rios, and Ian Taubler (as well as the effort to try to flip Shaq Thompson following his decommitment from Cal).
Total years of coaching experience: 20 years, 0 as a defensive line coach
Coaching resume: Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/offensive line coach/tight end coach (McClatchy HS, 3 years); tight ends coach (Nevada, 1 year); assistant head coach/offensive line coach (Sacramento State, 7 years); offensive line coach (Nebraska, 2 years); offensive line coach/running game coordinator (Buffalo, 1 year); tight ends coach (UCLA, 1 year); director of on-campus recruiting (UCLA, 3 years); special teams coach (UCLA, 1 year)
Alma mater: California State University, Sacramento
Notable players coached: Matt Slauson, OG (Nebraska); James Starks, RB (Buffalo); Logan Paulsen, TE (UCLA)
Alright everyone, that's the first part of our focus on the position coaches that will lead our Bruins on the field as we get underway soon with spring football around the corner. Tomorrow morning, we'll wrap up our coaching preview with the remaining position coaches (Tui, Yarber, Ulbrich) and our new S&C coach (Alosi), followed by the full-blown spring football preview, beginning with an overview of the defensive philosophy shift from the 4-3 to the 3-4, with individual position groupings to follow.
Fire away with your thoughts, opinions, and takes in the thread.