Two more in, just two more to go.
UCLA announced the long-expected hiring of Noel Mazzone as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach on Friday morning, along with the hiring of special teams/linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich.
Mazzone turned Arizona State’s passing game around almost overnight with the rapid improvement of little-known Brock Osweiler, who helped lead the Sun Devils to a No. 10 national ranking in passing offense and No. 26 in total offense in 2011. In 2010, when Mazzone was hired, Arizona State improved to 15th in passing and 29th overall, a year after the Sun Devils finished 61st in passing and 89th overall.
“Noel is an astute offensive strategist who has run numerous offenses in his 30-plus years in football,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora said. “We look forward to giving him the opportunity to tutor our student-athletes day in and day-out, especially at the quarterback position.”
The well-traveled Mazzone also had stints in the NFL, with both the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, and several college football stops, including offensive coordinator positions with Mississippi, Auburn, Oregon State and North Carolina State.
Ulbrich, meanwhile, has just one coaching gig on his resume after a 10-year playing career. Ulbrich arrives from the Seattle Seahawks, where he joined Pete Carroll as an assistant special teams coach in 2010 after playing 10 years for the San Francisco 49ers, where he became very familiar with Mora, who served as his defensive coordinator until 2003.
“I had the pleasure of coaching Jeff for part of his playing career; he was always one of the most dedicated and hard-nosed players on the field,” Mora said. “On the day I met him, he told me he wanted to be a coach, and I am proud to help him accomplish that dream.”
The hiring of Mazzone and Ulbrich gives UCLA seven of its nine assistant coaches, as the duo joins offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, running backs coach Steve Broussard, tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo, defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield and defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin. UCLA is expected to bring in former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, but the Bruins are targeting a defensive coordinator as well. San Diego Chargers linebackers coach John Pagano, who was reported to have accepted the defensive coordinator position at UCLA, instead was promoted to defensive coordinator of the Chargers.
Offensive Coordinator: Noel Mazzone
Running Backs: Steve Broussard
Wide Receiver: Eric Yarber?
Offensive Line: Adrian Klemm
Tight Ends: Marques Tuiasosopo
Defensive Coordinator: ???
Defenslve Line: Inoke Breckterfield
Linebackers: Jeff Ulbrich
Defensive Backs: Demetrice Martin
Special Teams: Ulbrich
(note: only nine assistants per staff, so some positions will double-up)