FanPost

UCLA Football Coaching Staff: Power Rankings

With the exciting news beer&math brought this morning in "What's Bruin" (What's Bruin: McClure stays in Westwood) about DL coach Angus McClure signing a new contract and spurning the overtures by Nebraska, I proclaimed in the comments that I think McClure is the 2nd best coach on the staff. It got me thinking that I should give my own power rankings of the coaching staff assembled, especially so with the new additions in Marques Tuiasosopo and Rip Scherer. Plus, football season can't come fast enough.

With that, I give to you my coaching staff power rankings. Coaches are ranked based on what they produce relative to what is expected of a position coach or coordinator. I welcome your feedback in the comments, whether good or bad. I apologize for the lengthy post, but there are 9 coaches to go through. With that, onto the rankings:

1. Kennedy Polamalu - 2016: Offensive Coordinator, 2015: Running Backs coach

The far and away favorite in my mind. What's interesting is that his predecessor, Steve Broussard, was a perfectly capable coach. However, Coach Mora saw a need to upgrade in a big way, and hiring KP was the best move he's made since coming to Westwood. I think the results speak for themselves - Perkins was all-conference after being previously unheralded, and KP's one-cut coaching style (teaching his backs to "light a match off the lineman's @$$") fit his skill set like a glove. Perkins should go on to do well in the NFL in the vein of previous KP backs like Justin Fargas (albeit Perkins should last a lot longer than Fargas did). Guys like Soso, Starks and Bolu should run wild next season. Whoever the back is, he exudes good patience and an ability to hit the hole hard, and all of them are capable blockers. That speaks to KP's coaching and having all guys ready when his name is called.

While I do have questions about what his playcalling acumen is going into 2016, Kennedy's track record so far in Westwood speaks for itself, and he's earned the #1 spot on my list.

2. Angus McClure - 2016: Defensive Line, 2015: Same

A potentially controversial selection, but I think there are a lot of reasons why Angus has earned the second spot, beginning with his willingness to switch sides from tight ends after the Neuheisel firing and learn a new position. I know coaches do it all the time, but I think very highly of guys who are willing to learn and do whatever it takes to help the team. His bringing in of a martial arts expert right after being brought on speaks to his creativity and ability to recognize what can make guys successful while coaching a new position. Kenny Clark's best attribute was his ability to generate serious leverage, and his hand usage is borderline-NFL elite already.

As a result, the defensive line has been steady throughout his tenure as DL coach, and it is becoming quite the pipeline to the NFL -Marsh, Owa and the future draft pick Kenny Clark come to mind, alongside guys like Eddie and Takk who figure to be drafted in 2017. While the D-Line was decimated by injuries last year, and the run defense was downright putrid at times, young guys like Jacob Tuioti-Mariner and Matt Dickerson came on towards the end of the season. I expect them to be regular contributors in 2016, and McClure has done a good job to build the line depth going forward.

While there have been some questions about his recruiting slipping a bit, he is still a very good recruiter, and I think his overall coaching acumen has earned him the #2 spot on the staff.

3. Demetrice Martin - 2016: Defensive Backs, 2015: Same

Remember the old days when UCLA defensive backs got grilled like carne asada at your Saturday barbecue? Yeah, me neither. The reliability of UCLA's DB play is one of my favorite things about the program, and Meat is an outstanding coach. The guys who have come through his system - Wadood and Moreau immediately spring to mind, and Rios, Goforth and Johnson are right there - are solid and physical players. What a relief it is to see a defensive back actually turn around and look for the ball!

Meat is also a stud recruiter - the defensive backs are probably the deepest on the roster, and I fully expect someone of the Colin Samuel/Dechaun Holiday/Octo Spencer trio to emerge as an all-conference corner. Meat has the defensive backfield cooking.

4. Tom Bradley - 2016: Defensive Coordinator, 2015: Same

Potentially the most polarizing ranking, I am fully on Team Scrap. Yes, the defense was not very good last year. Yes, the run defense struggled on a good day and was soft on its worst. However, I think the track record speaks for itself, and I am willing to give Scrap the benefit of the doubt. The reason is because I saw the lights turn on for the defense last year at the start. Shutting down Virginia, BYU and UNLV were encouraging signs. I saw the potential and I saw an actual gameplan, which was an improvement from Ulbrich at times last year.

Now I get it, injuries are a lame excuse. And Scrap isn't totally out of the woods; as beer&math says, his rigidity when using the backups may have cost him when he could have let them just play with reckless abandon. However, this ranking is partly reflective of my expectation that the defense will bounce back in a big way. Losing Myles and Kenny will hurt, but Scrap's track record of great defenses still holds a lot of weight with me. I totally get if it doesn't for you, though.

5. Eric Yarber - 2016: Wide Receivers, 2015: Same

Yarbs is probably the least heralded coach on staff, and yet he is one of the most consistent. His track record with guys like Shaq Evans and Jordan Payton being all-conference and reliable receivers speaks for itself-they were tough, physical receivers who always got open and threw mean blocks on the outside. The receiver position is arguably the deepest on the roster, and Yarbs deserves credit for that as well. The emergence of slot guys like Stephen and Mossi Johnson also bodes well for 2016. With the offensive scheme change, I'll be interested to see how the receivers do, but I'll know that they are being coached up well by Yarbs.

6. Marques Tuiasosopo - 2016: Quarterbacks Coach, 2015: same position, southerncal

One of Mora's first hires comes back to the nicer parts of Los Angeles after spending time donning red and gold. This ranking may seem low to some, and that's because I won't profess to watching a lot of southerncal games and the quarterback play. What is undeniable is that Tui has earned himself a fine reputation as an ace recruiter, and the quarterback play across town has been good-Kessler had great numbers under his tutelage. Along with Scott White, his ranking could jump drastically given that Josh Rosen will have an adult and competent coach in his ear every day.

7. Jim Mora - 2016: Head Coach, 2015: Same

The head man in charge. What Mora has done for UCLA football to get the program off the mat after the lost decade can't be ignored. The program is solid, although flawed, and it's the most successful run of UCLA football I can remember (DISCLAIMER: I'm 22, and I can't lie and say I remember the Toledo-McNown years when I was 4/5 years old, so please take that into consideration when I say that). Mora deserves credit for consistently getting the recruiting on a level to where UCLA should be given its advantages, and for utilizing that talent better than Neuheisel or Dorrell ever did. He also has hired a good staff (yes, the Mazzone hire was fine the first year or two, but it dragged on longer than it should have), although he's not batting 1.000 in coaching hires.

That said, the flaws with the program - the dumb penalties, the listless outings against Stanford, the at-times mind-numbing game plans, the really dumb penalties - cannot be ignored, and there's been little to suggest things will change. His best asset - his loyalty to players and staff - has come back to hurt him time and time again. I'm not in the camp that thinks Mora should be fired, but I'm also not completely satisfied. Calling me wishy-washy on that is fair, but I'll own it. UCLA football is in limbo, better than where it was, but not where it arguably should be, but I'm in the camp of crediting Mora for getting UCLA closer to the echelon it should be in rather than wanting Mora out for not getting to that level.

8. Scott White - 2016: Linebackers, 2015: Same

This feels too low for Scotty, but I don't know where else to put him. However, he has the highest ceiling of any coach on this list, and I'm excited to see what he can do with the backers this year. As a GA hire in Mora's first year, he has worked alongside with the great linebackers we've seen come through the ranks in recent history, and he's quickly becoming an ace recruiter.

That said, the linebackers were inconsistent at best and woeful at worst in 2015, and that can't be ignored. I'm hopeful, though, that Scotty will crack the top echelon of this group after this season. This is a little harsh, but I think it's fair, and the sky is the limit for the youngster on the staff.

9. Adrian Klemm - 2016: Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator, 2015: Same

While there's a lot of shuffling you could do for 1-8, I think Klemm is the consensus 9. His recruiting acumen can't be understated, but even that took a hit with the violations last year. As for the coaching, it's easy to see the struggles since he's been here. While he doesn't deserve all the blame (Brett's fatal flaw was holding the ball too long), he deserves the lion's share of criticism for the inconsistent play. I don't think it's a coincidence that while he was out last year, Jake Brendel became the effective OL coach and the unit seemed a lot more cohesive.

NR: Rip Scherer - 2016: Tight Ends, 2015: Associate AD - Football

As it stands, I can't make judgment on Rip one way or another. This is the first time in the Mora era UCLA will feature a traditional tight end, so this is TBD. Nice to have someone with experience on staff, however.

So out of the ten coaches, there is my 1-9 with a tenth still TBD. I'm happy to discuss yours in the comments.

Go Bruins! #FinestFourLetters

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.