Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Jim L. Mora has finished filling out his initial coaching staff at UCLA, dipping into the NFL ranks one more time to hire his ninth assistant--and his first defensive coordinator.
That hire is Washington Redskins linebacker coach Lou Spanos, who Mora introduced with a statement Tuesday afternoon. A longtime NFL veteran, Spanos spent one season with the Redskins after 15 as part of a Pittsburgh Steeler defensive staff that oversaw some of the NFL's best units during that span.
"I am thrilled a coach with Lou's NFL background and defensive pedigree has agreed to join our staff. Now that our coaching staff is complete, I'd like to thank [athletic director] Dan Guerrero for his support as we sought to bring the finest coaches in football to UCLA," Mora said. "We have a collection of men that will not only be mentors to our student-athletes, but given their experience at the highest levels of football, will also be able to provide them a blueprint for competing and winning, and reaching their athletic potential."
Spanos has his work cut out for him; he takes over a Bruins defense that finished 89th in total defense this past season and 94th in 2010. He'll also have to climb that hill without any experience as a coordinator at either the pro or collegiate level.
Fortunately for the Bruins, Mora has plenty of that kind of experience; between the two of them, there's no shortage of NFL-tested experience ready on the defensive side of the ball. Thanks to other hires out of the pro ranks like linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and strength and conditioning coach Sal Aloisi, the Bruin staff (per the announcement) "have over 90 years of experience in NFL as either players or coaches."
How much that experience is worth remains to be seen, since plenty of college staffs have been built around the idea of "NFL experience" before and failed miserably. But on paper, Mora has built the kind of staff that should be able to compete in the Pac-12.
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