Noel Mazzone

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UCLA makes offensive staff adjustments to fill vacancies

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UCLA’s latest coaching staff changes figure to raise a few eyes around Los Angeles. Filling the role of offensive coordinator at UCLA will be running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu. The news of the in-house promotion was first reported by Ryan Bartow of 247 Sports. Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports also reported the news regarding Polamalu, along with word UCLA will hire Marques Tuiasosopo away from USC and will add Rip Scherer to the staff as a tight ends coach. Tuiasosopo will take on the role of quarterbacks coach. UCLA had coaching spots to fill with the departure of offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone to Texas A&M.

Tuiasosopo has been on the coaching staff at USC for the past two seasons and he was in Washington in 2013 under former Huskies and Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian. He will now have the chance to go from coaching Cody Kessler at USC to young phenom Josh Rosen, coming off a freshman season with 3,669 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. Tuiasosopo’s father, Manu Tuiasosopo, played defensive line for UCLA in the 1970s and earned all-conference honors. Marques Tuiasosopo also got started in coaching at UCLA as a graduate assistant under Jim Mora before moving to Washington.

UCLA’s offense was 45th in the nation in scoring offense (32.2 ppg), 58th in rushing offense (177.62 ypg), and 62nd in passer rating. With the talent UCLA has, it still is looking to make the leap to become a viable Pac-12, if not a playoff, contender. The Bruins have long been stuck in neutral when opportunities to become the team to beat in the Pac-12 have presented itself, so the new-look offensive coaching staff will look for ways to kick things up a notch.

It should probably go without saying that UCLA adding coaches from USC’s staff adds a bit of fuel to the fire that is the rivalry between the crosstown foes.

Status of UCLA starting WR unknown following practice injury

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UCLA needs one more win to clinch the Pac-12 South Division, but the Bruins may have to do so without the services of one of their top wide receivers. Thomas Duarte had to leave practice on Tuesday after injuring his left leg, putting his status for Saturday’s contest with Stanford in some question.

“He is so important to us,” UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said according to The Los Angeles Times. “He has excellent ball skills, and that’s big for us. He is an inside guy that causes matchup problems.”

Duarte is UCLA’s second-leading receiver this season with 458 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Scott has been listed behind Duarte on the UCLA depth chart and could be in line for a spot start if needed. Freshman Mossi Johnson could be another possible option if it comes to needing to replace Duarte.

If UCLA defeats Stanford, the Bruins will win the Pac-12 South and face Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game. A UCLA loss to Stanford will hand the division championship to the winner of the Arizona-Arizona State game.

Stanford will be playing UCLA without its top wide receiver. Ty Montgomery has been ruled out due to a right shoulder injury.

Broyles Award nominees include Kiffin, Venables, 38 others

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With the next round fo the coaching carousel about to get underway at full speed, some programs may want to pay attention to the list of names nominated for the Broyles Award. The Broyles Award is presented annually to the top assistant coach in college football, and the list of 40 nominees for this year’s award includes some names with previous head coaching experience and others about to be in line for a head coaching gig somewhere around the country.

Current head coaches who previously won the Broyles Award include Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, UConn’s Bob Diaco and Duke’s David Cutcliffe. Last year’s Broyles Award winner was Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who many feel could be ready for a head coaching offer in the next round of the coaching carousel.  This year Narduzzi is not a finalist for the award, but Spartans co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner is.

“This will be one of the most challenging years ever for our selection committee to choose the top 5 finalists and winner, so many assistant coaches did outstanding work this year,” David Bazzel, Broyles Award executive director.

This year’s Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 9 by The Rotary Club of Little Rock and sponsor Delta Dental. The award is named after former Arkansas head coach Frank Broyles, who had a solid track record of pumping out quality assistant coaches. Some of the assistants who coaches under Broyles include Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, and Jackie Sherrill.

Broyles Award Nominees

Alabama – Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator
Appalachian State – Dwayne Ledford, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Arizona – Jeff Casteel, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas – Robb Smith, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas State University – Walt Bell, Offensive Coordinator
Boise State University – Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator
Boston College – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator
Brigham Young University – Nick Howell, Defensive coordinator
Clemson – Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator
Colorado State – Dave Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
Duke University – John Latina, Run Game Coordinator/OL
East Carolina University – Lincoln Riley, Offensive Coordinator
FIU – Josh Conklin, Defensive Coordinator
Georgia Southern University – Doug Ruse, Offensive Coordinator
Louisiana – Marquase Lovings, Running Backs
Louisiana Tech – Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
Louisville – Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator
Memphis – James Shibest, Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
Miami – Mark D’Onofrio, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan – Greg Mattison, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan State University – Dave Warner, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Minnesota – Tracy Claeys, Defensive Coordinator
Mississippi State – Geoff Collins, Defensive Coordinator
Missouri – Dave Steckel, Defensive Coordinator
NC State – Desmond Kitchings, Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator
Ohio State University – Tom Herman, Offensive Coordinator
Ole Miss – Dave Wommack, Defensive Coordinator
Oregon – Scott Frost, Offensive Coordinator
Penn State University – Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator
Stanford – Lance Anderson, Defensive Coordinator
TCU – Doug Meacham, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Temple – Phil Snow, Defensive Coordinator
UCF – Brent Key, Offensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
UCLA – Noel Mazzone, Offensive Coordinator
Utah – Kalani Sitake, Defensive Coordinator
Utah State University – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator
UTSA – Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator
West Virginia University – Tony Gibson, Defensive Coordinator
Western Michigan University – Kirk Ciarrocca, Offensive Coordinator
Wisconsin – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator