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UCLA's Chip Kelly begins rounding out his coaching staff

UCLA's Chip Kelly begins rounding out his coaching staff
UCLA football assistant DeShaun Foster works with running backs during spring practice on April 6. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Chip Kelly will not be starting completely anew with his UCLA football coaching staff.

The Bruins coach is expected to retain offensive assistants DeShaun Foster, Hank Fraley and Jimmie Dougherty, said two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to comment publicly because the moves have not been formally announced.

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Kelly has also hired California defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro to be the Bruins’ defensive coordinator and former longtime Oregon assistant Don Pellum to coach the linebackers. Azzinaro and Pellum both coached at Oregon when Kelly was the head coach, from 2009-2012.

Azzinaro, 59, followed Kelly to his stops with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. Pellum remained at Oregon as the linebackers coach and later the defensive coordinator under Kelly’s successor, Mark Helfrich. Pellum, 55, was solely the linebackers coach with the Ducks during the 2016 season before Helfrich and his staff were fired.

Oregon’s defense ranked No. 3 in the Pac-12 Conference in scoring defense (21.6 points per game) and No. 6 in total defense (374.2 yards allowed per game) during 2012, the last season Azzinaro and Pellum both coached under Kelly.

Kelly is also considering keeping UCLA defensive line coach Angus McClure, who has been with the Bruins since 2007 and is widely considered a top recruiter whose knowledge of the inner workings of the UCLA academic system make him valuable.

Kelly has also engaged in discussions with UCLA interim coach Jedd Fisch, the offensive coordinator whose future remains unclear beyond his commitment to coach the Bruins (6-6) in the Cactus Bowl against Kansas State (7-5) on Dec. 26 in Phoenix.

Fisch has overseen an offense that ranked No. 5 in the country in passing offense (345.3 yards per game), No. 19 in total offense (465.7 yards per game) and No. 31 in scoring offense (33.8 points per game).

Kelly will have an extra hire to make after the NCAA allowed coaching staffs to increase from nine to 10 assistants for the 2018 season. The Bruins have two big recruiting weekends ahead before the Dec. 20 early signing period.

UCLA has picked up commitments from Tulare Union High tailback Kazmeir Allen and Etiwanda offensive tackle Alec Anderson since Kelly’s arrival. A few other prospects have decommitted, with Tyreke Johnson, a defensive back from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy, tweeting that he was no longer considering the Bruins because of “the instability of the coaching staff.”

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