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Arizona football hires UCLA assistant Jason Kaufusi to join defensive staff

arizona-wildcats-football-jason-kaufusi-ucla-bruins-linebackers-assistant-johnny-nansen-jedd-fisch 247Sports

Jedd Fisch said during his first season as Arizona’s coach that he’d like his program to emulate that of Utah, which is the reigning Pac-12 champion, and the Wildcats’ recruiting is reflecting that.

From a coaching standpoint, however, apparently the current blueprint is to hire assistant coaches from UCLA’s most recent staff.

The UA officially announced the hiring of Jason Kaufusi as a defensive assistant on Monday, marking the second Bruins coach to come to Tucson in the past two weeks. He joins Johnny Nansen, the UA’s new defensive coordinator.

aufusi, 42, spent the previous three seasons as UCLA’s outside linebackers coach. Before that he coached at Nevada, Weber State, BYU and Utah, where he played defensive end from 2000-03.

No specific assistant role was listed for Kaufusi, but a good guess is that he’ll handle Arizona’s outside linebackers and edge rushers while Nansen will work with the UA’s inside linebackers as well as being defensive coordinator.

Former UA defensive coordinator Don Brown was responsible for Arizona’s edge rushers and OLBs in 2020, while Keith Dudzinski handled ILBs and was co-special teams coordinator with tight ends coach Jordan Paopao. Brown is now head coach at UMass while Dudzinski is expected to join him on the Minutemen staff.