With Pac-12 Media Days complete, we turn our attention to previewing Fall Training Camp which starts on August 10th in San Bernardino. Today, we'll look at the changes to the coaching staff compared to last season.
There were only two major changes to the coaching staff in the offseason. The first was that Tom Bradley was hired as Defensive Coordinator to fill the vacancy created by Jeff Ulbrich's departure for the Atlanta Falcons. The second saw Scott White being named Linebackers and Special Teams coach replacing Mike Tuiasosopo who was not retained.
Let's look first at the hiring of Tom Bradley.
There is absolutely no doubt that, from a football perspective, Tom Bradley is a home run hire. All you have to do is look at his accomplishments to realize that having "Scrap" on our staff should improve our defense tremendously. Bradley is an experienced Defensive Coordinator who served in that capacity at Penn State under Joe Paterno from 2000-2011. That's more experience as a Defense Coordinator than anyone since Larry Kerr was our DC.
But it's not just Bradley's experience that makes him a great choice to lead our defense. It's his accomplishments while DC at Penn State that do that. Bradley's bio on the official site details what his defenses accomplished:
Bradley guided the Nittany Lions to six consecutive top 15 finishes in both total and scoring defense (2004-09). From 2004-2011, Penn State held 53 of its 88 opponents to 17 points or fewer, including a run of 10 games during the 2009 season. During that same eight season span, Bradley’s defenses ranked in the top 10 nationally in points allowed seven times and in the top 20 nationally in total defense seven times. In particular, the 2008 unit was one of only four defenses nationally to rank in the top 10 in rushing, total and scoring defense and led the Big Ten in both rushing and total defense.
He was the Rivals Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 2008, the AP Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 2005, and one of Sports Illustrated's Top 10 recruiters in the country in 2005.
He is the reason why big things are expected from our defense this season.
Of course, to say his hiring was controversial might be a bit of an understatement. There was a lot of concern from many Bruin fans including yours truly because he was at Penn State during the time of the Sandusky scandal. Frankly, when the rumors of his candidacy surfaced, Coach Bradley wasn't a known entity to Bruin fans and the UCLA Athletic Department appeared to drop the ball when performing its due diligence prior to the hiring of Basketball Coach Steve Alford. But, according to Coach Mora, there was plenty of due diligence performed. We trust Coach Mora on that and we are looking forward to seeing what Coach Bradley brings to our defense.
The other major change to the coaching staff is the promotion of Scott White. He has served on the UCLA Football coaching staff for the previous four seasons, primarily in the role of defensive quality control coach. White was promoted to Linebackers & Special Teams coach when there was a decision made not to retain Coach Mike Tuiasosopo after last season. White previously coached Linebackers at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. He was an outside linebacker at the University of Washington from 2003-2006.
Coach White was integral in recruiting and was mentioned by Roquan Smith as being heavily involved in his recruitment and, while Smith ultimately chose Georgia over UCLA, it's still good to know that Coach White has the ability to recruit top talent to our program.
The only other coaching change was a minor one. Demetrice Martin (aka Coach "Meat") has been promoted to Assistant Head Coach, Defense/Secondary. This change comes in conjunction with a pay raise and reflects the formal addition of duties rather than any sort of reorganization.
The changes look solid on paper. The addition of Coach Bradley promises to bring improved performance on the field and, in a conference known for high-flying offense, I know I'm looking forward to having an aggressive defense to stop them with.