This afternoon, UCLA officially announced the hiring of tight ends coach Derek Sage and offensive line coach Justin Frye.
Sage replaces Angus McClure, who departed UCLA recently for a coaching job at the University of Nevada, while Frye replaces Hank Fraley, who left UCLA to become the assistant offensive line coach of the Detroit Lions.
While both coaches are young, they bring with them some very pertinent experience.
Sage spent last season at Washington State. He was initially hired as the inside receivers coach but switched to outside receivers before the start of the season. The Cougars were ranked second in the nation in passing offense with 366.8 yards per game last season and they led the Pac-12 in passing yards per game, touchdown passes with 37 and total passing yards with 4,769.
Before joining Mike Leach’s staff at Washington State, Sage was the wide receivers coach at the University of Toledo from 2014 through 2016. Sage has also served stints at Wyoming from 2010-13 and with Coach Kelly at the University of New Hampshire from 2005-09.
In 2003 and 2004, Sage was a graduate assistant in 2003-04 at Nevada and, in 2002, he served as offensive line and tight ends coach at Moorpark College. Sage played two seasons at tight end for Sacramento City College in 1998 and 1999 and transferred to Cal State Northridge for the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
Frye comes to Westwood from Boston College where he served as the run game coordinator/offensive line coach for the past five seasons. As I wrote last week, Frye’s resume looks like the best possible job application for UCLA offensive line coach. That’s because Frye coached an offensive line that produced a Heisman Trophy finalist and the Atlantic Coast Conference’s first Doak Walker Award recipient. His offensive lines had two running backs ranked among the nation’s top 10 in rushing yards for a season and the Eagles were listed among the top 25 rushing offenses in the nation in three of those seasons. It’s just what the doctor ordered for UCLA’s offensive line.
This past season, Boston College was ranked 25th in the nation in rushing offense with a 220.4-yard per game average. By comparison, UCLA was ranked 115th of 129 FBS teams. In 2016, UCLA was ranked 127th of 128 FBS teams.
So, hiring someone like Justin Frye to fix and rebuild the UCLA offensive line is exactly what needed to be done.
Welcome to Westwood, Coach Sage and Coach Frye!