Colletto, Svoboda Fill Key Positions

Times Staff Writer

UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell filled two important positions on his staff Tuesday, hiring Jim Colletto as his offensive line assistant and promoting quarterback coach Jim Svoboda to offensive coordinator.

“I’m so excited about this, getting a chance to add an experienced line coach of [Colletto’s] qualifications is huge,” Dorrell said.

“And [Svoboda] has shown to be a smart and hard-working guy who’s ready to be coordinator. He’s been around our offense the last two years and has done a great job with our quarterbacks.”


Colletto, 61, who played football and baseball for the Bruins in the mid-1960s, replaces Tom Cable, who also was the offensive coordinator the last two seasons. Last week, Cable departed to coach the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive line.

“He’s a guy with experience in the run game and passing game and also someone who’ll be a great resource for the rest of the coaches,” Dorrell said of Colletto, who also took the title of assistant head coach.

Last season, Colletto coached the Oakland Raiders’ offensive line. He held the same post with the Baltimore Ravens the previous six seasons and played a crucial role in the team’s victory over the New York Giants in the 2001 Super Bowl.

Colletto, a captain on UCLA’s 1966 Rose Bowl-winning team, has a coaching resume that spans 39 years in college and the NFL.

He was head coach at Purdue from 1991 to 1996 and Cal State Fullerton from 1975 to 1981, was offensive coordinator at Ohio State (1988-90), Arizona State (1985-87), Purdue (1982-84) and Notre Dame (1997-98), and twice was offensive line coach for the Bruins (1967-68 and 1980-81).

“In Baltimore, they used the same running schemes as the [Denver] Broncos, which are the running schemes we utilize, so Jim is well-versed in our offense,” Dorrell said.


Svoboda, who played a key role in the development of quarterback Drew Olson, joined the Bruins in 2003 after spending 10 seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Northwest Missouri State.

“I’m always going to be involved in our offense, but I want him to have a chance to grow as the coordinator,” Dorrell said of Svoboda, whose offenses led the Bearcats to Division II national championships in 1998 and 1999.

“I want him to be in charge of the offense. He has experience doing so and earned a shot based on what he did with Drew [Olson].”

Olson passed for 3,198 yards and a school-record 34 touchdowns with six interceptions. He set a school record with 242 completions and his yardage ranks second in Bruin history.

UCLA, which will begin spring drills Feb. 23, has undergone a nearly complete coaching makeover since its Sun Bowl victory over Northwestern on Dec. 30.

Gone are running back coach Eric Bieniemy, tight end coach Jon Embree, defensive coordinator Larry Kerr, defensive line coach Thurmond Moore and Cable.


New to the team are defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, defensive line coach Todd Howard, linebacker coach Chuck Bullough, receiver coach D.J. McCarthy and Colletto.