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UCLA’s Derek Sage is going home to Nevada to become offensive coordinator

UCLA coach Chip Kelly talks with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
UCLA coach Chip Kelly talks with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson in the fourth quarter at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Oct. 23, 2021.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Derek Sage, UCLA’s tight ends and special teams coach, has agreed to become Nevada’s offensive coordinator in what amounts to a promotion accompanied by a homecoming.

Sage was born in Ventura County but moved to Sparks, Nev., just east of Reno, as a child and graduated from high school in that area. He was also a graduate assistant at Nevada from 2003 to 2004.

Sage, 43, will also coach the Wolf Pack’s tight ends. He changed his Twitter background Monday to reflect his new position and tweeted the Wolf Pack logo with the hashtag #NewProfilePic.

A Bruins assistant since the 2018 season, Sage helped develop star tight ends Caleb Wilson, Devin Asiasi and Greg Dulcich while also massively upgrading the special teams units that had struggled under predecessor Roy Manning.

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In 2021, the Bruins ranked second nationally by averaging 20 yards per punt return and Kazmeir Allen ranked No. 12 by averaging 29.1 yards per kickoff return. RJ Lopez led the Pac-12 with 52 touchbacks on kickoffs and Nicholas Barr-Mira ranked second in the conference in scoring by a kicker with 94 points.

Dulcich, a former walk-on wide receiver, emerged as a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end, ranking No. 4 nationally with 17.3 yards per catch. He also ranked fifth in the Pac-12 by averaging 60.4 receiving yards per game, including two 100-yard games.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson will return for a fifth season, putting him in position to set school records while enhancing his NFL stock.

This will be the first time Sage has held the title of offensive coordinator in his 20-year coaching career. He becomes the third UCLA assistant to depart since last month, joining defensive line coach Johnny Nansen and outside linebackers coach Jason Kaufusi, both of whom joined Jedd Fisch’s staff at Arizona.

It has also been widely reported that UCLA offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Justin Frye is expected to be hired as Ohio State’s offensive line coach.


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