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Report: Is Jeff Ulbrich UCLA's Next Defensive Coordinator?

Report indicates that Jim Mora is planning to promote UCLA’s line backer coach Jeff Ulbrich to fill the defensive coordinator position in Westwood.

Doug Pensinger

As Patroclus noted yesterday Jeff Ulbrich figures to be as a prominent candidate as a possible replacement for Lou Spanos. And, now it looks like rumor mill is pointing to Ulbrich as the guy:

Bruins linebackers/special teams coach Jeff Ulbrich will be promoted to defensive coordinator, as head coach Jim Mora moves to limit any recruiting fallout from Spanos' sudden jump to the NFL.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. In just two years Ulbrich (and many of us were big fans of him as a fiery LB for the 49ers) has established himself as one of the best defensive assistants in the country. He has proven to be a fierce recruiter, a great talent developer (See Anthony Barr and Jordan Zumwalt), and a pretty solid special teams coach. He seems to have that "it" factor with fire and energy that seems to be a perfect fit for the college game. So it would make a lot of sense of Jim Mora promotes him to be our next defensive coordinator.

There are some buts here though. As we have discussed now - next year is a big one for UCLA. It could be "the year" for our Bruins (perhaps the year when we finally exorcise the demons of "Melsby was down."). So, Mora needs to get this DC hire just right. Is Ulbrich the guy given he has no experience as a defensive coordinator? Remember what happened last time a UCLA coach promoted a LB coach to be it's defensive coordinator (Search "Chuck Bullough" on this blog ... gulp).

Some interesting names came up in our Spanos thread yesterday including guys like Dava Aranda, Clancey Pendergast and Ed Donatell. They maybe good ideas as well. But frankly wrt to this hire, we are not worried all that much.

If Mora thinks Ulbrich is the guy then so be it. Ulbrich has earned this shot. This also gives Mora an opportunity to bring in another kick-ass recruiter in the staff as either a special teams coach or LB's coach to take give Ulbrich some room to grow into his DC role and also increase the recruiting firepower for an already potent staff.