The UCLA Bruins are looking to improve on a 2005 season that saw them go 10-2 and finish with a victory in the Sun Bowl over Northwestern. The two losses the Bruins encountered were complete embarrassments at the hands of Arizona, 52-14, and cross-town rivals, USC, 66-19.
Although the Bruins’ offense ranked among the best in the nation, their defense allowed below average teams to run all over the field and stay in games the Bruins’ offense was dominating. With the departure of key offensive players Drew Olson, Maurice Drew, and Marcedes Lewis, the Bruins know they will need to improve their defense to counteract their losses on offense.
In order to improve their defense for the 2006 season, the Bruins have made changes on their coaching staff and with their players. Former NFL defensive coach, DeWayne Walker, has been hired as the new Bruin defensive coordinator.
Walker spent last season as the secondary coach for the Redskins where he mentored rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers among other top NFL secondary players. Walker’s 2005 Redskin secondary reflected his strength in coaching as they led the league in opponent’s passing percentage (54.5%). His secondary only allowed fifteen passing touchdowns to finish second in the league.
Among other coaching positions Walker has held, he served as associate head coach and secondary coach under Coach Pete Carroll at USC in 2001.
While Walker’s presence should improve the Bruins’ pass defense, Walker and Coach Karl Dorrell are relying on a shift of Chris Horton from free safety to strong safety to help strengthen their run defense which has been one of the worst in the nation over the past two seasons.