UCLA's Jim Mora hoping to keep assistant Ulbrich with Bruins

LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA coach Jim Mora found himself back on the recruiting trail this week, but he isn't chasing a high school player this time.

Mora says he hopes to persuade Bruins defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich to stay on campus rather than become the linebackers coach for the Atlanta Falcons.

New Falcons coach Dan Quinn gave Mora a courtesy call to inform him of the interest, but a formal job offer for Ulbrich was not extended until late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, Mora said.

Mora brought Quinn to the Seattle Seahawks in 2009 as the defensive line coach. The two are ''good friends,'' Mora said, but the Bruins coach playfully promised to do what it takes to keep Ulbrich at UCLA.

''I'm going to fight tooth and nail to keep him here, because I think he is an outstanding coach,'' Mora said. ''It's going to be a heck of a battle because Dan Quinn, he is a fighter.''

The timing created confusion for touted linebacker Roquan Smith from Montezuma, Georgia. Smith committed to UCLA on national television Wednesday morning, only to delay sending in his letter of intent.

Mora is not allowed to speak about a specific recruit until that player has signed.

''I'm confident, I'm hopeful that we will be able to talk about some more players down the line,'' Mora said.

Mora also praised Ulbrich for being up-front with recruits and their parents about the recent developments.

Ulbrich played linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers while Mora was their defensive coordinator. Ulbrich joined the UCLA coaching staff in 2012 and has been credited with the development of Bruins linebackers Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Myles Jack.

Still, the UCLA defense allowed 28.1 points per game this past season, Ulbrich's first as defensive coordinator.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.