Ranking 20 Years of UCLA Defensive Coordinators

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Nov 8, 2014; Austin, TX, USA; (Editors note: Caption correction) West Virginia Mountaineers senior associate head coach Tom Bradley prior to kickoff against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

?. Tom Bradley, 2015 – ?

We’ve discussed Tom Bradley‘s hire at length. He was with Joe Paterno at Penn State from 1979-2011, since 2000 as the defensive coordinator. He comes to UCLA via West Virginia, where he coached the defensive line. It looks like he will shift UCLA’s defense back to a 4-3, but one that aligns very similar to Spanos’ 3-4, again blending the distinction between DE and OLB.

Bradley heavily favors a zone coverage, as opposed to Spanos’ preferred man-to-man. From this, Bradley likes to order up a zone blitz, rushing four and dropping seven, but mixing up who rushes and who drops into coverage. This keeps the offensive blockers off-balance because they don’t know who to expect.

Beyond schematics and strategy, Bradley brings a hard-nosed, traditional approach to coaching, one that will jive well with the professional, disciplined culture that Mora has successfully created since he took the job.

Expectations are high for Bradley as the new DC, and his hiring caught national media attention. If he lives up to his promise, he could easily find himself creating a lasting legacy among UCLA’s modern defensive coordinators.

Next: UCLA Football 2015 Schedule Preview: Washington State Cougars

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