Report: Chip Kelly adding former Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads to UCLA staff
Rhoads led Iowa State to three bowl games in seven years as head coach
UCLA coach Chip Kelly is reportedly rounding out his defensive staff with another strong hire, targeting former Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads as the Bruins' defensive backs coach, according to Sports Illustrated's Bruce Feldman.
The 50-year old Iowa native was an assistant at Iowa State (1995-99), Pittsburgh (2000-07) and Auburn (2008) before replacing Gene Chizik as the Cyclones head coach in 2009. Rhoads led Iowa State to three bowl games in his first four seasons and famously led the team's upset of No. 2 Oklahoma State in 2011, but his seven-year run ended with a 32-55 record. He joined Bret Bielema's Arkansas staff in 2016 and was the team's defensive coordinator this past season.
Rhoads joins a defensive staff at UCLA that is anchored by a pair of Kelly's former colleagues, with Jerry Azzinaro as defensive coordinator and Don Pellum as linebackers coach. Azzinaro was a defensive assistant for Kelly at Oregon and in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers while Pellum, an Oregon alum, was an assistant for the Ducks from 1993-2016.
While Kelly's return to college football is going to draw the intrigue of offensive enthusiasts everywhere, UCLA's success over time will require the Bruins to shore up a defense that ranked in the bottom 25 among 130 FBS teams in both yards allowed per game (488.8) and yards per play allowed (6.25).
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