UCLA suspended offensive line coach Adrian Klemm Monday for possible, unspecified NCAA violations, the university athletic department announced in a statement. Below is the statement, courtesy of ESPN.com Pac-12 reporter Kevin Gemmell:
UCLA suspends assistant coach Adrian Klemm. pic.twitter.com/23gK1piiXt
— Kevin Gemmell (@Kevin_Gemmell) March 16, 2015
The suspension of Adrian Klemm is not the first bad news pertaining to one of his assistants that UCLA head coach Jim Mora’s endured this offseason. The Bruins lost Jeff Ulbrich to a position with the Atlanta Falcons in February, the second time in as many years UCLA saw its defensive coordinator depart for the NFL. Lou Spanos left UCLA in 2014 to join the Tennessee Titans.
It’s not so much Ulbrich leaving in and of itself that was problematic for UCLA; Mora made a solid hire in former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley.
Rather, how Ulbrich departed cast a damper on a national signing day that was otherwise cause for celebration in Westwood. Rumors of his entertaining an offer from the Falcons emerged on signing day, just moments after highly touted Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith announced his commitment to the Bruins. Ulbrich was Smith’s primary recruiter, as he was for many of UCLA’s top defensive talents.
Likewise, Adrian Klemm has been a vital cog in the aggressive recruiting strategy Mora implemented upon his arrival at UCLA in 2012.
Klemm’s skill on the recruiting trail ignited a bidding war of sorts between UCLA and USC last year. As USC’s Steve Sarkisian was building his staff, Klemm told ESPN.com’s Jeremy Crabtree, “I was being recruited. The shoe was definitely on the other foot.”
A $650,000 salary and status as UCLA’s associated head coach were his rewards for staying loyal to the Bruins. And, in turn, Adrian Klemm helped UCLA land the Pac-12’s No. 2-ranked recruiting classes each of the last two seasons.
Losing Klemm ahead of spring practices deals UCLA another significant blow, and one that could be felt much more immediately than his absence might have on the recruiting trail.
UCLA needs all the offensive line support it can muster after finishing 2014 as one of the nation’s worst teams in terms of giving up sacks. The Bruins return a veteran unit up front, but losing the coach with whom they have worked for the last few years could be a considerable step back for the UCLA linemen.