UCLA grabs Michigan's Jedd Fisch as offensive coordinator
LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA hired Michigan assistant Jedd Fisch as its new offensive coordinator on Thursday, selecting an experienced offensive mind to revitalize the Bruins' struggling group.
UCLA coach Jim Mora emerged from a six-week search for Kennedy Polamalu's replacement with Fisch, who spent the past two seasons as Jim Harbaugh's passing game coordinator, quarterbacks coach and receivers coach with the Wolverines. Before that, the 40-year-old Fisch was the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator in 2013-14.
''We have very common backgrounds in terms of some of the people we've been around,'' Mora said. ''Jedd has an extensive and very impressive resume. He's been around some of the finest minds in football.''
UCLA's offense struggled mightily while the Bruins went 4-8 last season, Mora's worst in his half-decade in charge in Westwood. The Bruins, who went 2-7 in Pac-12 play, were 91st in the FBS in total offense and 127th out of 128 teams in rushing offense.
Fisch didn't call the plays at Michigan, and he was eager to get back into a coordinator role. He is eager to take charge of the defense-minded Mora's offense, which should have promising quarterback Josh Rosen at the controls for his junior season.
Fisch said he was thrilled to be joining ''a storied program and really one of the top universities in the land.''
Fisch has coached a new quarterback in each of his last six seasons of football, beginning with two years as the University of Miami's offensive coordinator in 2011-12. Rosen will be playing for his third offensive coordinator in three seasons, but Fisch sounds determined to get the most out of the quarterback, who already has been exchanging text messages with his new coach.
''I'm thrilled to be able to coach Josh,'' Fisch said. ''I also understand the responsibility of coaching somebody with the talent Josh has. It's been fun each year coaching a new quarterback, and it'll be another this season. He's going to learn, and we're going to challenge Josh.''
Rosen missed the second half of last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery in November. He will be re-evaluated by UCLA's team doctors this month, but Mora said: ''All indications are that he's doing very, very well.''
Fisch replaces Polamalu, the veteran running backs coach who was fired shortly after the Bruins' season finale. After replacing Noel Mazzone last winter, Polamalu spent just one frustrating season in charge.
Polamalu and Mora wanted to build a run-based scheme, but the Bruins managed a meager 84.3 yards rushing per game. UCLA had three decent tailbacks, but failed to run the ball consistently behind an offensive line that seemed ill-suited to the task.
UCLA's new offense will be much more difficult to pin down with a name, Fisch and Mora said. They plan to run multiple looks in every game, adapting to the Bruins' strengths.
''The first thing we're going to do is evaluate all the players and make the offense best suited for the personnel and the talent that has been recruited to UCLA over the last four years,'' Fisch said. ''We are a multiple offense.''
Fisch has worked for Steve Spurrier, Mike Shanahan, Dom Capers, Brian Billick and Pete Carroll during his career as an assistant.
UCLA opens next season at the Rose Bowl against Texas A&M on Sept. 2.
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