UCLA is expected to adopt Baltimore Ravens safety coach D’Anton Lynn as new defensive coordinator to replace Bill McGovern in the wake of McGovern’s ongoing health issues, according to multiple reports.
Hiring Lynn, the 33-year-old son of former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, would be a huge departure for UCLA coach Chip Kelly, given his history of employing old friends as defensive coordinator. Longtime colleague Jerry Azzinaro held the position for Kelly’s first four seasons with the Bruins before Kelly pivoted to McGovern last season.
D’Anton Lynn has no experience as a defensive coordinator, but is considered a rising star in the coaching ranks having spent time with five NFL teams. A former All-Big Ten defensive back at Penn State, Lynn coached the Ravens’ defensive backs in 2021 after stints as a secondary coach with the Houston Texans, a defensive assistant with the Chargers and Buffalo Bills, and an intern with the New York Jets.
McGovern had to step aside due to health issues that forced him to miss five games last season before returning to the Sun Bowl.
It was not immediately clear whether McGovern, who turned 60 on New Year’s Eve, would be retained in a less demanding position as a defensive analyst. When asked in late December if he expected to fulfill the final year of his two-year, $1.8 million contract in 2023, McGovern was unequivocal.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Absolute.”
McGovern’s stepping down from his role means the Bruins will have a third defensive coordinator in as many seasons. Knowing each other, McGovern and Kelly went back to their playing days at small New England colleges in the 1980s, long before McGovern joined Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles staff for three seasons starting in 2013 as an outside linebackers coach.
UCLA defensive analyst Clancy Pendergast filled McGovern’s spot in the press box in his absence, while all assistants worked on the defensive game plan. Statistically, the Bruins experienced a drop in performance while McGovern was away, giving up 31.8 points per game after giving up 25.9 points with McGovern at the helm.
But just when it looked like McGovern would lead a feel-good return in the Sun Bowl, the Bruins gave up 20 consecutive points in their 37-35 loss, including a late field goal after Pittsburgh came within range for the winning points after the start. . the drive on his own 25-yard line with 34 seconds left and no timeouts.
Defense has been the one constant blot on the Kelly era, largely offsetting his elite offenses. The Bruins were among the nation’s worst defenses across multiple categories during Kelly’s first two seasons before improvement in 2020 preceded another slump in 2021.
UCLA last season finished No. 87 nationally in total defense (403.3 yards allowed per game), No. 35 in rushing defense (130.3 yards allowed), and No. 117 in yards allowed (273 per game). contest).
Now will be Lynn’s continued quest for a rejuvenated defense.