Wednesday, May 22, 2024

AdvertiseDonateSubmit
NewsSportsArtsOpinionThe QuadPhotoVideoIllustrationsCartoonsGraphicsThe StackPRIMEEnterpriseInteractivesPodcastsBruinwalkClassifieds

IN THE NEWS:

USAC Elections 2024SJP and UC Divest Coalition Demonstrations at UCLA

Defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn brings cohesion, fresh ideas to UCLA football

UCLA football defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn coaches during a drill. Lynn was hired to lead the Bruins’ defense after spending numerous seasons as a secondary coach in the NFL. (Lauryn Wang/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Benjamin Royer

April 13, 2023 4:06 p.m.

This post was updated April 13 at 10:16 p.m..

The defensive coordinators in Westwood over the past five seasons have centered around coach Chip Kelly’s previous ventures.

Bill McGovern and Jerry Azzinaro coached outside linebackers and the defensive line, respectively, for the Kelly-led Philadelphia Eagles before eventually leading UCLA football’s defense and reuniting with their former boss. But after McGovern failed to improve on the previous year’s Azzinaro-coached defense – allowing more points and yards per game than his predecessor’s 73rd-ranked defense – and missed most of the season with health concerns, Kelly turned to two NFL minds for advice on his third right-hand man in as many years.

D’Anton Lynn, more than 25 years younger than his predecessors, emerged to fill the role of defensive coordinator when he was hired by Kelly on Feb. 27.

“A lot of my friends that coach in the NFL have spoken very highly of him,” Kelly said. “Specifically, Bill O’Brien was with him when he was the head coach of the Houston Texans and John Harbaugh with Baltimore. D was one of the first (and) the highest guys that we talked to.”

[Related: D’Anton Lynn announced as UCLA football’s new defensive coordinator]

Spending time with the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens over the past five years and in the NFL as a whole since 2014, Lynn may not have worked as a coach under Kelly until now, but he was no stranger to much of the Bruins’ coaching staff.

Assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and safeties coach Brian Norwood recruited Lynn to Penn State, where he was an All-Big Ten defensive back from 2009-2011 before joining the coaching ranks.

Meanwhile, inside linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. played for the San Francisco 49ers alongside the 33-year-old Lynn’s father – former Los Angeles Chargers head coach and current 49ers assistant head coach and running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

Kelly said the staff’s previous knowledge of Lynn has helped with implementing fresh ideas.

“That transition from bringing him in has been really seamless,” Kelly said. “Our defensive players would say the same thing. When you watch him stand in front of the room and put in the fronts, coverages, pressures, things like that, there’s a way about him that you gain confidence.”

Senior linebacker Darius Muasau echoed his coach’s statement, attesting to Lynn’s character.

“He’s a great coach, but he’s an even better person,” Muasau said. “Just talking to him every day and just being in the meeting rooms. He’s a good person and a generous dude.”

Despite UCLA’s defense allowing 29 points per game last season – the 92nd-ranked unit in the nation – the former Hawai’i transfer in Muasau was a bright spot, earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors after leading the team with 91 tackles.

Edge rusher and redshirt junior linebacker Laiatu Latu similarly earned individual accolades last season.

The former Washington transfer – who was once medically retired – tallied a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks and was pegged as first-team All-Pac-12 and named the College Football Comeback Player of the Year.

Latu said Lynn brought the defensive line in on coverage conversations and shifted practice to have the whole defense participate in position-specific drills. The linebacker added that the new defensive coordinator has helped the team operate on the same wavelength.

“Everybody knows what everybody’s doing (and) trying to be on the same page,” Latu said. “That’s what I love about him.”

Share this story:FacebookTwitterRedditEmail
Benjamin Royer | Assistant Sports editor
Royer is the 2023-2024 Assistant Sports editor on the baseball, gymnastics and men's water polo beats and a reporter on the football beat. He was previously a staff writer on the baseball, football and gymnastics beats. He is also a fourth-year communication student.
Royer is the 2023-2024 Assistant Sports editor on the baseball, gymnastics and men's water polo beats and a reporter on the football beat. He was previously a staff writer on the baseball, football and gymnastics beats. He is also a fourth-year communication student.
COMMENTS
Featured Classifieds
Apartments for Rent

WESTWOOD VILLAGE Large 1BR 1 Bath $2,700 (includes 1 parking space). ONLY TWO LEFT!!! Available July 1 and September 1. Beautifully landscaped courtyard building, laundry room, pool, elevator, subterranean garage. 691 Levering Avenue leveringheights.com (310) 208-3647

More classifieds »
Related Posts