UCLA officially promotes Kennedy Polamalu to offensive coordinator

UCLA running back coach Kennedy Polamalu talks to his player during the Bruins morning practice at Cal State San Bernardino in San Bernardino, Ca., Wednesday, August 19, 2015. (Photo by John Valenzuela/The Sun)

UCLA hopes that promoting running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu to offensive coordinator will make for a “a multifaceted offense.” (John Valenzuela/Staff)

UCLA has officially announced its promotion of Kennedy Polamalu to offensive coordinator, as well as the hiring of Marques Tuiasosopo and Rip Scherer — moves that the team hopes will help build a more diverse offense.

“As we continue to evolve as a program and tailor our philosophies and schemes to the strengths of our players, what you will see is a multifaceted offense incorporating tight ends and fullbacks into our schemes,” head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “Our objective is to be a big, strong and physical offensive unit that has flexibility of personnel groupings. I know we have the right men in Kennedy, Marques and Rip to implement this philosophy.”

ANALYSIS: Breaking down the implications of UCLA’s new coaching hires

Polamalu’s new role comes after two seasons of working as the Bruins’ running backs coach, a period that saw him become one of the most effective members of the staff. UCLA has averaged 4.95 yards per carry since he arrived in Westwood, and have developed depth at running back to replace former Pac-12 leading rusher Paul Perkins, who declared for the NFL draft. Continue reading

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UCLA close to hiring Kennedy Polamalu as offensive coordinator

UCLA running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu is close to being promoted to offensive coordinator. (Brad Graverson/Staff)

UCLA running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu is close to being promoted to offensive coordinator. (Brad Graverson/Staff)

UCLA appears close to promoting running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu to offensive coordinator, filling the vacancy left by Noel Mazzone earlier this week.

Polamalu’s name has been floated for the position ever since Mazzone took the same position at Texas A&M earlier this week. 247 Sports first reported this morning that Polamalu has accepted the offer.

The 52-year-old held the title of offensive coordinator at USC from 2010-12, but ceded playcalling duties to then-head coach Lane Kiffin. He has served as UCLA’s running backs coach for the past two seasons, but his responsibilities have expanded beyond the backfield, working with the offensive line when position coach Adrian Klemm was suspended for the first two games of the season.

The Bruins are also set to hire USC assistant Marques Tuiasosopo to replace former quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone, expected to follow his father to College State. Tuiasosopo was UCLA’s Y-receivers coach in 2012, but left to join Steve Sarkisian’s staff at Washington. He was the interim coach during the Huskies’ 31-16 win over BYU in the 2013 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl before following Sarkisian to USC.

UPDATE: Rip Scherer is also set to become UCLA’s tight ends coach, according to FOX Sports. The 63-year-old has served as a Bruin associate athletic director for the past two years, but has decades of coaching experience in both the NFL and college.

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Pac-12 links: Who will head to the Rose Bowl?

— Why Stanford will beat Arizona State for a Rose Bowl berth, according to the Bay Area News Group’s Jon Wilner.

— Steve Sarkisian has already hired two members of his Washington staff. Might defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox be the next to head to USC?

— An older man kicked a younger man in the face at last week’s Territorial Cup game between ASU and Arizona. Continue reading

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Taylor Mazzone named Y receivers coach

Graduate assistant Taylor Mazzone will be promoted to the Y receivers coaching spot vacated by Marques Tuiasosopo. The news was first reported yesterday on Twitter by FootballScoop.

“A lot of excitement and anxiousness,” Mazzone said of his feelings upon hearing the news. “I’ve been waiting for quite a while. This is a great opportunity at a great university. Coaching in the Pac-12 for my first job is unbelievable.”

The son of offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, Taylor worked previously as a graduate assistant at Arizona State, where he helped groom quarterback Brock Osweiler. He has also worked with Tim Tebow and Christian Ponder; he and his father have been credited for helping the latter become the No. 12 overall pick in 2011 NFL Draft.

Head coach Jim Mora told Mazzone after the Holiday Bowl that a position could be available for him if someone from the staff leaves. Two days after the Bruins’ 49-26 loss to Baylor, Washington officially announced that it had hired Tuiasosopo as its new quarterbacks coach. Tuiasosopo had led the Huskies to a Rose Bowl victory over a decade ago. Continue reading

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