The Young and the Restless

I tried to set up some interviews this week with UCLA’s new coaching staff, but I was rebuffed pretty quickly. “They’re pretty much all on the road,” is what I was told. Let’s just say I haven’t been told that so often in the past.

But it appears that the Bruins’ new staff is full of tireless recruiters, and the results so far have proven that to be true. UCLA has already secured the verbal commitments of 14 players since Jim Mora’s hire on Dec. 10, while losing a handful of formerly committed players, and closed the gap on some of the country’s top recruits. With less than a week until signing day, and players such as Arik Armstead, Shaq Thompson, Bryce Treggs, Kodi Whitfield and others still up in the air, Jim Mora and Co. are racking up the frequent-flyer miles.

Why?

Call it a youth movement.

As Mora’s staff started to round into form, there was a trend setting in: the assistant coaches all seemed to be around the same age. Now that the staff is complete, we have the full picture: Aside from offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, all of Mora’s new coaches are between 32-44 years old, with an average age of 41.8. Consider: In 2008, Rick Neuheisel’s staff averaged 48 years old.

I’ve heard some horror stories about UCLA’s recruiting the last couple years, and the lack of emphasis put on recruiting by some of the Bruins’ elder statesmen. Ultimately, Neuheisel was left with a pretty big burden, and sometimes he succeeded and sometimes he failed. To have landed the ’09 and ’10 classes with the relative amount of help he got was a pretty big feat.

Mora, though, is no one-man army, and he recognizes that. As a first-time recruiter, he has humbled himself and accepted that so much of the game in college football is having a staff of hungry go-getters who will get out on the road and put in time to maintain relationships. In assembling a staff that is more 21 Jump Street than Matlock, Mora has brought in guys who relish some of the dirty work. Forget the ties formed between coach and recruit at each of the coach’s previous schools – relationships that have paid off handsomely for the Bruins – the coaches have been hustling.

As I’ve written before, I’ve always thought that one of Neuheisel’s biggest issues was his staff make-up. How is there supposed to be real staff chemistry when half the room is 55-plus, and the other half is under 38? One of the themes consistently mentioned by recruits in recent weeks is the team effort that UCLA is utilizing in recruiting, with Adrian Klemm, Eric Yarber, Angus McClure and Demetrice Martin frequently mentioned by recruits.

Here’s a breakdown of the new staff and their respective ages.

Head Coach: Jim L. Mora – 50
Offensive Coordinator: Noel Mazzone – 54
Defensive Coordinator: Lou Spanos – 40
Offensive Line: Adrian Klemm – 34
Running Backs: Steve Broussard – 44
Wide Receivers: Eric Yarber – 48
Tight Ends: Marques Tuiasosopo – 32
Defensive Line: Angus McClure – 44
Linebackers/Special Teams: Jeff Ulbrich – 34
Defensive Backs: Demetrice Martin – 38

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
  • Anonymous

    yarber is 48

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/ucla Jon Gold

    *THANKS for the catch. Think I just did the math wrong.

  • BruinFaithful

    Rick really did have to do it on his own. Norm Chow hated recruiting.

    Surprisingly, I’ve heard that Jim Mora is probably the best recruiter of them all.

    According to Sacramento Bee writer Joe Davidson on his Twitter:

    sb_joedavidsonJoe Davidson
    @PeterKhang “Players have always liked Mora. Recruits I have tlked to said Mora is THE over-the-top reason they commit”

    sb_joedavidsonJoe Davidson
    @PeterKhang “I can see why. Very personable and knows how to charm recruits. Isn’t smug like a Spurrier”

    McClure also gets high marks from the Sac recruits as well, according to Davidson. Huge talent coming out of Sac area this year. Next year should be decent too. McClure and Spanos are out on visits to Armstead and Thompson.

    I don’t think we have a realistic shot at Armstead, but Shaq Thompson and Bryce Treggs are looking good. Treggs was over at UCLA yesterday meeting with Yarber and Mazzone, as they pitched him on how they would use him in their offense. Mom went to UCLA, Dad went to and played at Cal, and he really likes Yarber and so does his Dad, so we’ll see. He’s now visiting SUC, for a Thurs. Fri. official, then he goes up to Cal for an unofficial Sunday, before coming back home. Hopefully, we get at least one more unofficial or home visit or both before Wed from Treggs.

    Ishmael Adams has been hinting on his Twitter that a huge recruit will be a surprise commit on Wed. I’m thinking Azziz Shittu, who visits this weekend. Lot’s of chatter between Adams, Treggs, Thompson, Armstead, and Shittu. They even went to so far as to speculate what it would be like if they all landed at the same place. The only really solid guy of that group, is Adams, if that means anything. Shittu, seems like more of a follower, hopefully he follows Adams to Westwood. However, Shittu is a REALLY smart kid with like a 3.8, who is already fully qualified to Stanford. So I think it’s a UCLA Furd battle. We’ll see.

  • Drone ON and ON and ON

    …get your own blog, dickhead.

    Nobody cares.

  • uclarry

    Actually I thought it was an interesting post. No reason to be a jerk about it. If you aren’t interested, don’t read it.

  • Anonymous

    I think the youth movement angle is misplaced. Either people like to work hard or they don’t. Either they like recruiting or they don’t. I don’t believe either of those two change with age.

    In fact, some of the laziest people I know are young.

    Mora has a staff that loves what they’re doing and they do it with full gusto.

    Neuheisel was a poor manager that hired people that weren’t that great at recruiting.

    It will be interesting to see if these recruiters that Mora has hired are also good coaches. The two talents don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

  • Marc

    On a flight to LA right now from fort lauderdale with a couple of recruits. Looks good

  • Regional VP, Union of Steward/Stewardesses

    @Marc

    On your next flight make sure you get the hot coffee to the paying passengers before chatting it up with the teenagers!

  • Coach Thom

    The comments on this board are some of the most entertaining I get a chance to read. Keep up the good (?) work. PS. Jon, don’t take any of the comments seriously. They are meant for low humor only.

  • Happy Traveler

    @Marc

    Are you a Flight Attendant on the “Greyhound of the Skies” Southwest Airlines? If so, I applaud your creative announcements, low airfares, and no fees for baggage. Cheers.

  • Qt

    2 things: 1)You should include Neuheisel’s staffs’ age as well for perspective, 2) who are the players that decommit?

    Thanks.

  • tim warren

    The Rutgers HC took the tampa Bay job today, maybe Fuller will come to UCLA

  • Coach Rick Neuheisal

    We all remember the “Dream Team”, right? It wasn’t that long ago endless optimism reigned the land and then we started playing games. In other words, I’ll withhold judgement until I see some actual games played this Fall.

  • TruBluBruin

    Thanks for the info Jon. It’s nice to hear that the staff is off to a good start, but time will tell how good they all really are. And lastly, it was painfully obvious from the middle of year two and onward that Rick Neuheisel was an incompetent head coach. He failed miserably in just about all facets of his organizational responsibilities. I’m hopeful CJM will make great strides and improve the program dramatically sooner rather than later.

  • Marc

    I am a business traveller and was coming back to LA on Virgin America flight. Across the isle from me were two recruits; I started chatting with them. One is a corner back who is also considering Wake Forest and the other is a wide receiver also considering Miami. Of course, can’t remember their names. I wish I could.

    Anyway, told them how I was a season ticket holder in section 22 and there is excitement regarding the start to coach Mora’s tenure. They were pretty chill, but looked like athletes, particularly the wide receiver prospect.

    Not sure if they are seriously considering UCLA or if UCLA is seriously targeting them, but it was cool to chat pretty quickly with a couple of kids from Florida coming out on a recruiting trip.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing, Marc. That’s cool to hear about.

  • NCAA Review Team

    @Marc,

    Thanks for your insider information, the young athlete you were in discussion with was Malcolm Lewis out of MiraMar HS FL.

    We find it intriguing that young Mr. Lewis is on a recruiting trip to UCLA, while Scout, Rivals and ESPN report he had given a verbal commitment to U of Miami on (1/17/12). Seems he wanted to test the waters (so to speak) of both coasts.

    While not illegal…certainly portrays the youngster as true “U” material…commit and travel!