As the Pac-12 season ended, we all could see that UCLA’s offense was obviously the stronger side of the ball this year, especially the passing game. UCLA finished the season ranked number five in the Pac-12 in scoring offense, number three in total offense and number two in passing offense. These types of numbers look to have possibly helped some of UCLA’s current assistants stay on with Chip Kelly. FootballScoop.com is reporting that three of the Bruins offensive assistants will be retained.
Source tells FootballScoop Chip Kelly is planning to keep three offensive assistants from Jim Mora’s staff – Jimmie Dougherty (who coached receivers for Mora), DeShaun Foster (RBs) and offensive line coach Hank Fraley.
Meanwhile, Bruin Report Online is reporting that Foster and Dougherty will be retained, but their article does not mention Fraley.
Both sites have also reported that Chip Kelly has hired Cal’s defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro to serve as UCLA’s defensive coordinator. Azzinaro and Chip Kelly have worked together during Kelly’s time at Oregon, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Who is Jerry Azzinaro? I found this quote about Azzinaro from former Oregon Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliottio in a PhillyMag.com article.
He’s a tireless worker. The guy will watch film forever and ever and study opponents and what I like to call ‘crack the code’, find a way to crack the code of offensive linemen or something that he catches – a lean or a tilt or something like that. Azz is a fantastic coach in all aspects. A lot of d-line coaches don’t know coverages and schemes; I hate to pigeon-hole them but a lot of them don’t, they just know their own little world. Azz has a great grasp of all of it – the back end as well as the linebackers as well as the d-line.
To hear a description of a coach in that way makes you excited to see what he can bring to UCLA as well as the kind of teaching he can provide to the Bruins on the defensive side of the ball.
Bruin Report Online is also reporting that it looks like Kelly is also looking to retain two coaches that many felt would be important holdovers from Mora’s staff. It’s looking like defensive line coach Angus McClure and DB coach Demetrice Martin might also be hanging on to join Azzinaro’s defensive staff.
Of course, until the staff is officially announced any of these possibilities can change.
But, at a time, when I recently wrote on Twitter that some of these assistant coaching positions needed to be made in the next few days, it looks like things are starting to unfold and the UCLA coaching staff will be settled in time to make a last solid push in recruiting.
Don’t forget: this year is the first year that college football has an early 72-hour signing period in December, beginning on December 20th and ending on December 22nd, where players can sign National Letters of Intent earlier than the traditional National Signing Day in February. Of course, players can still opt to wait until the traditional period if they choose, but having an early signing period makes getting a new coach and full staff in place quickly very important.