Ranking 20 Years of UCLA Defensive Coordinators

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Oct 11, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins helmets during the game against the Oregon Ducks at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

10. Larry Kerr, 2003 – 2005

Karl Dorrell‘s first DC, and the worst that I can remember at UCLA, is inexplicably tied for longest tenured DC in the time under consideration. Kerr came to UCLA after ten years as DC at Colorado State under Sonny Lubick.

Statistical Rankings
Year | SOS | SD | TD | DFEI | DS&P+
2003 | 35 | 49 | 18 | n/a | n/a
2004 | 14 | 66 | 103 | n/a | n/a
2005 | 34 | 110 | 115 | n/a | 77
Avg. | 28 | 75 | 79 | n/a | 77

Kerr was going to bring in a base 4-3 formation, ‘blitz-happy,’ ‘Tampa-style’ defensive scheme that emphasized speed. The only speed we saw was how quickly the Bruins gave up scads of points.

Some of Kerr’s lowlights included a loss at Oklahoma in which the defense gave up 59 points; losses at Cal and Arizona State, giving up 45 and 48 points, respectively; the dream-season-killing 2005 loss at 3-8 Arizona when the defense gave up 52; and two lousy efforts in losses to USC, giving up 47 points in 2003 and the 66-19 embarrassment in 2005.

I know we all remember that 2005 season fondly, but the MO of that team was to spot the opponents a squajillion points before scoring a squajillion+1 before time expired. That worked (wins over Cal, Washington State, and Arizona State, despite giving up 40, 41, and 35 points respectively) until it didn’t (Arizona, USC). That magical run was more due to the tandem of Drew Olson and Maurice Drew than to stellar defensive play.

Kerr started with a wealth of defensive talent – as the statistical rankings bear out – including future draftees Rodney Leisle, Dave Ball, Brandon Chillar, Matt Ware, Ben Emanuel, and Jarrad Page. But Kerr and Dorrell’s inability to recruit defensive talent began to show as Kerr’s 2004 and 2005 squads only added future draftees Chris Horton and Bruce Davis. When Kerr was fired after the 2005 season, he blamed his woes on ‘lack of depth,’ as if he had no responsibility for that.

Where is he now: Kerr is currently the DC for Northern Colorado.

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