The Atlanta Falcons have offered UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich a position as the linebackers coach, interrupting what was looking like a very successful National Signing Day.
However, the 37-year-old has yet to decide whether to accept the job opening.
“Jeff has assured me he has not come to a conclusion yet,” said UCLA head coach Jim Mora. “He is contemplating whether or not he wants to do that. I’m going to fight tooth and nail to keep him here because I think he’s an outstanding coach. …
“I’m going to fight like crazy to keep that sucker, and it’s going to be a battle, because Dan Quinn, he’s a fighter.”
Mora said that newly hired Falcons head coach Dan Quinn first reached out to him as a courtesy on Tuesday night, asking if he could contact Ulbrich. Mora said no — smiling, as he recalled the moment — but in the NFL, permission isn’t needed. Mora and Quinn’s relationship stretches back to their time on the San Francisco 49ers staff. The former became the defensive coordinator in 1999, and hired the latter as a defensive quality control coach two years later. Quinn was soon promoted to defensive line coach.
That same connection also ties the men to Ulbrich, who spent his entire 10-year NFL career in San Francisco before retiring from playing in 2009. He has called both Mora and Quinn significant influences on his defensive philosophies.
The news of Ulbrich’s interest in the Falcons broke late Wednesday morning, shortly after four-star linebacker Roquan Smith verbally committed to UCLA over Georgia on ESPN. Smith reopened his recruitment a few hours later, and is now deciding between not only the Bruins and the Bulldogs, but also Texas A&M and Michigan.
Mora said he did not give Ulbrich a timeline for when he wanted a decision.
“I’m not ready to put that pressure on him yet,” he said. “The fact that he’s been in contact with the recruits, I think is the right way to handle it”
Asked if he expects any other recruits to join UCLA’s 2015 class, which now stands at 19, Mora said: “I hope so.”