UCLA outside linebackers and special teams coach Roy Manning has been hired to coach defensive backs at Oklahoma, according to the official Oklahoma website. He will be reunited with new OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who he worked with at Washington State.
Manning spent only one season in Westwood after joining Chip Kelly’s staff from Washington State.
Manning’s performance this season was questioned by many due to the fact that UCLA’s special teams were terrible for most of the season and his departure is sure to renew the debate over whether Kelly should hire a dedicated special teams coach.
During the season, Kelly sounded opposed to the idea. He even kind of ridiculed the notion by speculating about what a dedicated special teams coach would do during the portions of practice that the team wasn’t working on special teams. In an exchange with LA Times beat writer Ben Bolch on November 5th, Kelly said:
But, what would they do the rest of the practice if they were the special teams coach? Because all those guys that are on special teams play other positions. So, they’d have to take a vacation. Get a lawn chair out there for them. Have them sit down and not do anything.
The day before Kelly made that comment, I wrote:
After watching the special teams cost UCLA a win yesterday and factoring in how things went against Utah, Manning needs to go and a dedicated special teams coach needs to be brought in. Pellum’s duties can be expanded to cover the outside linebackers too.
Well, now, Manning is gone and Kelly needs to figure out who will coach the outside linebackers next season and who will coach special teams.
Will it be the same person coaching both outside linebackers and special teams? Or, will Manning’s duties be split to two coaches? Will one be a dedicated special teams coach?Who will fill the vacancy created by Manning’s departure and what will they coach? Will Kelly fill the vacancy as soon as possible or will he wait until after National Signing Day on February 6th?
Of course, adding a new assistant coach between now and National Signing Day could help swing some recruits. Given the “meh” state of the 2019 recruiting class, Kelly would probably be better served if he can fill the job right away and hire someone who can bring a few top notch recruits with him.
For now, UCLA Bruins fans will just have to wait to get the answers to these questions.