AssistINTROS: Noel Mazzone Pt. 1

Throughout the week, I’ll be bringing you some of the opening words from the new UCLA assistant coaches. A very energetic group, with a common purpose. We’ll continue with new UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who came to the Bruins from Arizona State.

Jon Gold: Do you have a good feel for the guys on UCLA’s roster or will you learn about them more from their play on the field?
Noel Mazzone: “That’s the way I like it anyway. I have no preconceived notions on any of these guys. I kind of like it that way. Everyone starts with a clean slate. Life is performance-based. I don’t want to watch 11 games on a guy and say he can’t do this or that. I don’t do a lot of time watching that – I’ll go through it real quick.”

JG: How familiar were you with UCLA’s offense last season?
Mazzone: “I really don’t concern myself with what they had done before, what kind of offense they ran. They did a lot of good things in the offense before. I really don’t go look at their stats, what they rushed for, what they threw for. That offense has won a lot of football games for some football teams. Whatever happened with the past offense really has no bearing in my mind of where we’re going from here.”

JG: When you inherit a program, there’s this idea of putting your stamp on it. Making it your own. How quick of a process can that be? Do you want it to be?
Mazzone:”First of all, we’re not a volume offense. That helps. A couple things: We want to play fast. We’re a no-huddle offense. More things we have to think about the more it slows us down, in my mind. We’re a pretty simple offense, really. I want to be able to play fast, I want to be able to create space for playmakers and I want to put the ball in the right guy’s hands. That’s my job as the offensive coordinator.”

JG: The Pistol offense was so methodical, so plodding, almost like chess. I do this now so I can do this later. You watch Oregon, and it doesn’t seem like a lot of chess. It’s boom, boom, boom, the defense is on its heels…

Mazzone: “I always think this and I’ve been in those situations before, so I’m a firm believer I don’t want to play defense on offense. I want to play offense on offense. I’m going to let the defense dictate to me what I can and can’t do. Now I’m playing defense. ‘Oh, I can’t call that one because the defense ‘might’ do this. You know what? I don’t really care. This is what we do, we’re going do it as fast as we can. We’re a big play the next play team.
The other thing is, you don’t inherit an attitude in my mind, you create an attitude. We want to play fast, put the ball in our playmaker’s hands, want to be tough and we want to play the next play. That’s going to be our motto. Problems are going to arise, but this is more of a build offense. I want to be able to fix the problems within the parameters of this offense.
You know what? Come on. Calling plays is easy. Calling plays is calling plays. A lot of time, that get’s overrated. There’s going to be a handful of times in a game where the decision you make as a playcaller is going to matter. Some of the best plays I ever called, some of the best plays that turned out, were probably some of the worst I could’ve called in that situation.
I really want our guys to take ownership of what we’re doing. The more I involve more people, the more they have fun – I still believe a game should have some fun to it – the better they’re going to practice and the better they’re go to play.”

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  • Bruin Brian

    Can anyone define a “volume offense”? Never heard that term……….

  • Knue Rockne’s Sidekick

    @Bruin Brian,

    I think the coach was refering to teams that have let’s say 5 variations of an off-tackle run, or 4 types-of pitch outs. Basically the same play using “volumes” of variations.

    As Knute like to say…we get the ball and we run, run, run. They know what’s coming, but we lay the lumber on ’em anyway!

  • Boston Bruin


    Good interview…looking forward to the follow-up with CNM…and the other coaches.

    In reading this brief, but insightful content (and then between the lines), I just don’t see how the Not-So-Fresh Prince of Bel Air ever takes another snap.

    His indecision will not be tolerated as the playmaker…I just don’t see how he fits the model of a leader of an ongoing hurry-up offense.

    If he has designs for NFL play, he should pull a Drew Bennett and covert to a receiver (a slot receiver who can take punishment over the middle) because I can’t see how he has a future as a QB even as a Bruin.

  • Anonymous

    This is going to be fun!

  • Coach Bone Dog

    Sounds like this offense is tailor-made for Hundley or the athletic QBs just recruited.

    Lets just hope its not more smoke being blown up our asses like the last 10 years were.

    Coach Bone Dog

  • Bruintx

    You mean we are finally going to be coming out of our CRN induced conservative offense coma?

    Where are my sunglasses? This is going to be like stepping into the sunshine after spending 4 years in a cave!

    Really enjoying these interviews Jon, keep ’em coming!

  • mindshed

    Conservative has been UCLA’s MO for a bit longer than RN’s tenure. I do look forward to something different.

  • localbruin

    Yeah, it’s all punch and giggles until the “fast” “next play” offense begins turning our next play into their next play by throwing some pick sixes out in the flat.

    ASU threw a ton of laterals last year, prime pick six material. And they had someone who could actually throw the ball. We don’t have that guy, at least not now.

    Gold seems to dislike the pistol, but it was more interesting to watch than a failed pro-style offense (Chow).

    Glad to see fresh blood on offense and hoping for the best but still jaded by 14 years of futility.


    Dont let this guy ruin your high powered offense.

  • BruinBall

    Is the Pistol offense always slow (like chess), even when Nevada runs it? Or is that just the way UCLA ran it the last two years?

  • doug4ucla

    Put the turtles away and bring on the RABBITS…… bear run

  • Blue Bruin


  • Anonymous

    USC, don’t let CHEATON ruin your sanctions!

  • Bruin Gold

    When we implement Noel Mazzone’s offense, UCLA will be very very exciting!

    The Pistol offense was slow as molasses because we don’t have the players to run it, nor the experience to run it.