UCLA post-spring position outlook: Special teams

Spring football is done, and over three months still stand between us and the start of UCLA’s third season under Jim Mora — one that comes with national title aspirations and accompanying media glare. This blog has covered the status of each position group moving forward. Last in the series is …

Special teams

Recently, special teams hasn’t been a major concern for UCLA. Over the last two seasons, the team blocked 12 kicks and punts — an FBS total matched only by Rutgers. Last year, it ranked top-20 in both opponent punt and kick returns; in four of the five years prior, the Bruins ranked outside the top 40 in the former and the top 100 in the latter.

A key difference looms heading into this fall: Jeff Ulbrich is no longer the UCLA special teams coordinator.

Promoted the defensive coordinator, Ulbrich will continue coaching inside linebackers but surrenders lead oversight of the unit that helped extend his own professional career. Outside linebackers will be charged to new assistant Mike Tuiasosopo, who also holds the title of special teams coach. Continue reading

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Spring notes: ‘Real’ spring game hinges on health of UCLA offensive line


– With the UCLA in injury-prevention mode, Monday night practice was fairly light and almost entirely non-contact. The Bruins ran some seven-on-seven drills, but otherwise, there wasn’t much competitive work to start the week.

Head coach Jim Mora said he wasn’t sure yet whether or not he would keep the team out of pads for the rest of the week. Schools around the country have already held their spring games, and many of them seem to have played full-on competitions rather than the mixed-drill event UCLA held a year ago. Mora said last week that he hopes for more “actual football” on Saturday at the StubHub Center, but much of that will depend on the team’s health.

“You always want to put on a good show for your fans,” Mora said. “People come out that support your program, I think it’s important that you put on a good show for them. Our primary objective has to be the health of our football team, and I think everyone would understand that.” Continue reading

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Mike Tuiasosopo to coach outside linebackers, special teams

New assistant coach Mike Tuiasosopo will coach outside linebackers and special teams, UCLA officially announced today.

He fills the role vacated by Jeff Ulbrich, who was promoted to defensive coordinator after Lou Spanos left for the Tennessee Titans last month. Tuiasosopo had spent the bulk of his career as a defensive line coach, most recently at Colorado (2011-12) and Arizona (2004-10). Continue reading

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Report: Mike Tuiasosopo joins UCLA staff

UCLA has plugged a familiar family name onto its coaching staff.

According to Bruin Report Online, the Bruins hired Mike Tuiasosopo to fill the vacancy that opened when defensive coordinator Lou Spanos left for the Tennessee Titans. Linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was promoted to coordinator,

Tuiasosopo was most recently a defensive line coach at Colorado under Jon Embree in 2011 and 2012. He coached the same unit at Arizona from 2004-10.

His cousin, Manu, was an All-American defensive lineman at UCLA in the 1970s. His nephew, Marques, was the Bruins’ tight ends coach in 2012 and recently joined Steve Sarkisian’s USC staff.

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