Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/3/12
Noel Mazzone, UCLA's new offensive coordinator, never got around to watching game tapes to see what quarterbacks he inherited. No reason, he said. Mazzone had only a few short meet-and-greet conversations with Kevin Prince and Brett Hundley, and even fewer with Richard Brehaut, during his first two months on the job. This is a new era around Westwood, and at first pass it has a laid-back look, right down to Mazzone's T-shirt and goatee. All he's missing is a flannel shirt and Nirvana CD. Then, with the voice of a general, Mazzone paraphrases George Patton: "A simple plan, finely executed today, is better than a perfect plan executed next week." Clearly, behind that "hey, dude" appearance lurks a get-it-done personality with an all-for-one style. "A staff is like a family working together," said Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville, who employed Mazzone as offensive coordinator at Mississippi and Auburn. "Noel is very good at working with people he hasn't worked with before. He loves golf, he's going to be great with boosters, those type of things." And, Tuberville said, "He knows a lot of football." This is the sixth offensive coordinator in eight years for UCLA. Philosophies, some with "War and Peace"-length playbooks, have come and gone. Yet, the offensive doldrums have remained since quarterback Drew Olson and running back Maurice Jones-Drew left after the 2005 season. Now comes Mazzone, with intensity and simplicity. Huddles? "They slow the game down," he said. Extensive playbook? "We only have about 20 plays," he said. Complicated system? "We're looking for quality, not quantity," he said. Said Tuberville: "He's not an ego guy. He knows to let the players win the game for him." Mazzone, 55, has honed his offensive theories since leaving Raton, N.M. population 7,282 to play quarterback at the University of New Mexico in 1975. He has been offensive coordinator at Mississippi twice, and also at Auburn, Oregon State and North Carolina State before landing at Arizona State, where he coached the last two seasons. Although his body of work which also includes three seasons (2006-2008) as the New York Jets' wide receivers coach doesn't rate a mention in Raton's Wikipedia entry alongside town native Tom Blackburn, who wrote the "Ballad of Davy Crockett," Mazzone is well-respected around football. For example, in the last few months he has been called on to work with NFL quarterbacks Tim Tebow, Philip Rivers and Christian Ponder. "It's not, 'My way or the highway,'" Tuberville said of Mazzone's style. "He's going to take the personnel at UCLA and conform his offense to it." Arizona State lost its last five games and finished with a 6-7 record in 2011, but the offense wasn't culpable. Quarterback Brock Osweiler passed for 4,036 yards. Cameron Marshall gained 1,050 yards rushing. Gerell Robinson had 1,397 yards receiving. "I try to create space for playmakers," Mazzone said. "I'm going to get you the ball where all you've got to do is beat one guy man-to-man. I do that, then it's up to you." He also said his was "a quarterback-driven offense." UCLA has not had a quarterback drafted by the NFL since Cade McNown in 1999. Mazzone's quarterback checklist is specific: "Is he accurate? Is he a decision maker? Is he mobile? Can he create? Does he have good arm strength?" What he wants is someone who can take charge. "I call a lot of bad plays in a game," Mazzone joked. "He has to make my bad play calling into good play calling." At UCLA, he inherits Prince, Hundley, Brehaut and Jerry Neuheisel, all of whom have "a clean slate," Mazzone said. Toss into the mix T.J. Millweard, a freshman from Texas who is enrolling early to try to win the job. "We're going to learn about each other this spring," Mazzone said. Prince, who will be a senior, won the job the last three seasons but has battled injuries trying to keep it. "I've done it before, I can do it again," Prince said. "It's a challenge that keeps you on your toes." Hundley, who redshirted as a freshman last season, was an Internet obsession of some UCLA fans, who have now moved on to Millweard and Devin Fuller, another freshman quarterback who is due to enroll this summer. "Every year a coach is going to bring in someone to beat out the guy already there," Hundley said. Millweard, from Fort Worth All Saints High, is that guy this spring. He planned to attend Arizona State but followed Mazzone to UCLA. "He makes me laugh, which is something I love," Millweard said. "When I'm doing my best, when I'm calm and cool and collected, I'm laughing a little bit." Yet, Millweard can already look over his shoulder. UCLA has a commitment from Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter quarterback Eddie Printz, a high school junior. "Life is performance-based," Mazzone said. "I told the guys who signed this year: 'Guess what I'm going to do next year? Try to sign another guy to come beat you out.'" Patton couldn't have said it better. --Chris Foster
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Twitter, Facebook report engagement decline during Super Bowl

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Daniel Bryan says goodbye to WWE during teary retirement speech

Paul George delivers great line about driving by Kobe Bryant

WATCH: Oklahoma beats Texas on Buddy Hield's 3-pointer

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker