The Bruins will not have a new quarterback in 2021, but they will have a new position coach guiding the returnees. UCLA will be bringing in Ryan Gunderson as the new quarterbacks’ coach replacing the retiring Dana Bible. The school made the official announcement Friday afternoon.
UCLA Hires Ryan Gunderson To Tutor The Quarterbacks
UCLA announced last week that Bible would be retiring after three years with Chip Kelly at UCLA. Gunderson, conversely, is much closer to the beginning of his career than the end. At just 36-years old, he is coming to UCLA after three years as the quarterback coach at San Jose State. He was also the passing game coordinator the last two season.
In 2020, that meant working with multi-transfer quarterback Nick Starkel. The quarterback spent two years at Texas A&M, and one year at Arkansas before going to San Jose State. Last year, under Gunderson’s tutelage, Starkel had the best statistical year of his college career.
In a season shortened by COVID, Starkel threw for 2,174 yards and 17 touchdowns, with seven interceptions, in eight games. He had a 64% completion rate. The total yards placed him 30th in the country. The 271 passing yards per game was good enough for 19th in the country. UCLA starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson averaged 224 yards passing per game in 2020. That would be good enough for 45th in the country. Starkel was also 23rd in the country in passing efficiency. The Spartans also won the Mountain West Conference title outright for the first time in 30 years. Ironically, Starkel is returning for a 5th year at San Jose State, while Gunderson is leaving.
In 2019, Gunderson had Josh Love as his starting quarterback at San Jose State. Love threw for just under 4,000 yards with 22 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He had a 61% completion rate. That was more than 1,000 yards more than what Thompson-Robinson threw for in the same year. Love was the conference offensive player of the year that season and Gunderson was a nominee that year for the Frank Broyles Award as the best assistant coach in college football.
Prior to his coaching stint at San Jose State, Gunderson worked as the University of Nebraska’s director of football player personnel for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. His playing career was at Oregon State. He was a quarterback on the 2003 through 2007 Beaver teams. Oregon State competed in four bowl games during his playing career in Corvallis.
What is still to be determined at UCLA is any recruiting prowess with regards to top level recruits. But with Jerry Neuheisel taking over as receivers’ coach, and Gunderson taking over the quarterbacks, the average age of the UCLA coaching staff has dropped considerably in the last three weeks.