Washington State at UCLA - October 28, 2006 (photos courtesy of Associated Press)
Karl Dorrell, one of the top wide receivers in UCLA history, is in his fifth season as head coach of his alma mater. Last season, he led a young team with just two full-time senior starters to a record of 7-6, an upset of No.2-ranked USC and a berth in the Emerald Bowl against Florida State. It was UCLA's fourth straight bowl appearance under Dorrell and his career record is now 29-21, including 17-8 in the last two seasons.
In 2006, the Bruins won four of their first five games and three of their final four contests. UCLA played very well on defense, ranking ninth (tie) in the NCAA in rushing defense and 33rd in total defense, and was opportunistic on offense. Three Bruins earned first-team All-America honors -- defensive ends Justin Hickman and Bruce Davis, who tied for fourth nationally in quarterback sacks, and place kicker Justin Medlock, who led the country in field goals.
Two years ago, UCLA won 10 games for only the seventh time in school history, opened the season 8-0 and finished in third place in the Pac-10. With its 50-38 victory over Northwestern in the Vitalis Sun Bowl, UCLA finished with a record of 10-2 and was ranked No. 13 on the USA Today/Coaches' poll and No. 16 on the Associated Press poll, its highest finishes since 1998.
Dorrell, who was named 2005 Pac-10 co-Coach of the Year by his peers, was also a finalist for several National Coach of the Year awards. The Bruins ranked No. 5 nationally in scoring offense (39.1) and No. 23 in both passing offense (270.3) and total offense (431.0). The special teams units also ranked highly, with the Bruins leading the nation in punt returns (25.0).
Quarterback Drew Olson set numerous records in 2005 -- most passing touchdowns in a season (34), most passes without an interception in a season (199), most completions in a season (242) and most touchdown passes in a game (six). Tight end Marcedes Lewis, the 2005 Mackey Award winner, moved himself up among the all-time receiving leaders at UCLA with a standout season featuring 58 catches for 741 yards and 10 touchdown catches, earning first-team All-America honors. Running back Maurice Drew led the nation in punt returns with an NCAA-record 28.5 average and finished his career as UCLA's season and career leader in all-purpose yards. He also earned first-team All-America honors. Linebacker Spencer Havner led the team in tackles for a second straight season and ranks third in school history with 402 career tackles.
In 2004, the Bruins ranked nationally in both total offense (28th) and rushing offense (27th), averaging 410.0 and 184.9 yards per game, respectively. Defensively, UCLA recorded its first shutout of a Pac-10 opponent in 17 years. Havner earned All-America acclaim from several organizations while Lewis and senior punter Chris Kluwe were finalists for national position awards. Drew set a school record with 322 rushing yards against Washington and senior wide receiver Craig Bragg set the career reception record with 193 catches. UCLA appeared in a bowl game for the second time in Dorrell's two-year tenure (Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl) and finished with a record of 6-6.
In 2003, the Bruins won six of their first eight games and played in the Silicon Valley Football Classic. Although the Bruins finished with a record of 6-7, there were numerous highlights along the way. Senior defensive end Dave Ball tied for the national lead in quarterback sacks, earned unanimous All-America honors and was selected Chevrolet National Defensive Player of the Year. Linebacker Brandon Chillar led the Pacific-10 Conference in tackles. Bragg made 73 receptions, tied for the third-highest total in UCLA history. As a team, UCLA's defense ranked 18th nationally and second in the Pac-10 in total defense (317.6 yards).
Dorrell was hired as UCLA's 15th head coach on December 18, 2002 -- his 39th birthday -- and was introduced as the Bruins' new head coach the following day.
Dorrell came to UCLA from the Denver Broncos, where he was in his third year as the coach of the wide receivers. His record-setting receivers played very well during his time with the club.
In 2001, Dorrell faced the challenge of replacing Pro Bowl veteran Ed McCaffrey after a season-ending injury in Week 1, and not only saw Rod Smith catch a franchise-record 113 passes, but also implemented many young players into the Broncos scheme while working through a variety of other injuries that affected playing time.
Though it was a trying season in that regard, Dorrell's tutelage allowed the club to glimpse the young talent it had assembled, as those players gained experience that paid future dividends. Smith earned his second Pro Bowl invitation, and led the NFL in receptions while ranking sixth in receiving yards.
In Dorrell's first season in Denver (2000), his receiving corps played an integral role in elevating the overall offensive unit to franchise records in total yards, passing yards and first downs. McCaffrey and Smith took their performance to new levels that year, as Smith earned the first Pro Bowl selection of his six-year career while shattering the franchise record with 1,602 receiving yards and tying the previous record with 100 receptions. McCaffrey had the most productive season of his 10-year career by catching a franchise-record 101 passes for 1,317 yards, now third-best behind Smith's 1,602. Both finished in the NFL's top four in receptions and in the top 10 in receiving yards.
Smith's 1,602 yards tied for the eighth-highest single-season total in NFL history, while the duo became just the second pair from the same team ever to post 100 more catches in the same season. Smith and McCaffrey were virtually unstoppable with 13 100-yard games between them.
Prior to his arrival in Denver, Dorrell coached 12 years on the collegiate level, including seven seasons as an offensive coordinator. He has participated in 16 bowl games in his career as a player and coach, including three Rose Bowls, two Fiesta Bowls, two Cotton Bowls and this year's Emerald Bowl.
Dorrell spent the 1999 season at the University of Washington, serving as offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. In his one season at the school, the Huskies led the Pac-10 in time of possession with an average of 32:57 per game, and scored 28.3 points per game.
He assisted the Broncos coaching staff during training camp in both 1993 and '99 through the NFL's Minority Coaching Fellowship program, and was offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at the University of Colorado from 1995-98, after a stint as wide receivers coach from 1992-93.
During his first tenure at CU, two of Dorrell's wide receivers, Charles Johnson and Michael Westbrook, became just the fourth pair of receivers on the same team in NCAA history to accumulate more than 1,000 yards in the same season. Johnson and Westbrook are two of the six collegiate receivers Dorrell has coached who have gone on to play in the NFL -- three of whom were first-round draft choices.
Dorrell began his coaching career in 1988 as a graduate assistant at UCLA. The Bruins were 10-2 that season, winning the Cotton Bowl. His other coaching stops include Central Florida (1989; receivers), Northern Arizona (1990-91; offensive coordinator/receivers) and Arizona State (1994; wide receivers). In his first experience as an offensive coordinator, Dorrell made his mark at NAU, directing the Lumberjack offense to a school record for first downs in a season, and the second-highest total offense figure in school history.
Dorrell earned his bachelor's degree from UCLA following the 1986 season. He completed his playing career ranked second (tied) in school history in receptions (108) and fourth in receiving yards (1,517). His 108 receptions still rank 11th (tied) on that career list while his 1,517 yards rank 15th. He also played on teams that won three Rose Bowls -- following the 1982, 1983 and 1985 seasons -- and the 1986 Freedom Bowl.
As a true sophomore in 1983, he made 26 receptions for 390 yards and six touchdowns. In the 45-9 Rose Bowl victory over Illinois, he made five catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns (15 and 16 yards). He missed most of the following season due to a shoulder injury and was granted an additional year of eligibility. As a junior in 1985, he led all Bruin receivers with 39 receptions for 565 yards and one touchdown. As a senior, he was second to Flipper Anderson with 35 receptions for 451 yards and two touchdowns.
Dorrell, who was born in Alameda, CA on Dec. 18, 1963, is a graduate of San Diego's Helix High School, where he was a two-time all-league selection and honorable mention All-America as a senior. He led Helix to the CIF San Diego Section title in 1980 and to second place in 1981.
Karl and his wife, Kim, have two children, Chandler and Lauren.
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