Ranking 20 Years of UCLA Defensive Coordinators

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Nov 21, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego State Aztecs head coach Rocky Long reacts against the Air Force Falcons during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

4. Rocky Long, 1996 – 1997

Rocky Long sits atop the middle tier of our rankings, relatively equal to Bob Field and Jeff Ulbrich as DCs. Long had been the DC at Oregon State since 1991 when new head coach Bob Toledo brought him in to coordinate the Bruin defense. While the available information is scarce, Long appears to have run a 4-3 defense which featured future NFL draftees Atkins and Shaun Williams.

More: Ishmael Adams and Fabian Moreau Named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

Statistical Rankings
Year | SOS | SD | TD | DFEI | DS&P+
1996 | 4 | 76 | n/a | n/a | n/a
1997 | 14 | 34 | n/a | n/a | n/a
Avg. | 9 | 55 | n/a | n/a | n/a

Long’s defenses were statistically average (with a mean scoring defense rank of 55 out of 112 Div. I-A teams).

In 1996, Long’s defense gave up scads of points in losses at Tennessee (35), at Michigan (38), to Arizona State (42), at Washington (41), and at Arizona (35). Additionally, the 1996 defense gave up 41 in a victory over USC.

The defense improved in 1997, with only two bad performances (giving up 30+ in losses at Washington State and to Tennessee). Most notable was the multi-faceted pantsing of Texas, forcing eight turnovers and giving up only 3 points in what has become known as Rout 66(Do yourself a favor and read the linked article. It’s hearbreaking, exhilarating from a UCLA perspective, and informative about Long’s defensive approach to that game.)

After the 1997 season, Long left to become the head coach of his alma mater, New Mexico. Let’s not think too hard about how whether he could have done better than his successor the following year against Miami…

I said don’t think about it!

Where is he now: After resigning the New Mexico head coaching gig in 2008, Long took the DC role at San Diego State, where he now serves as head coach, having replaced Brady Hoke in 2011.

Next: The Top Tier