Written by Jennifer Welter
As someone who had been around football for a long time now, I have had the privilege of watching certain individuals rise through the football ranks. One of those individuals is Adrian Klemm.
If you do not know Adrian Klemm, then let me give you a bit of background. After 7 years in the NFL on the offensive line, he began coaching at the collegiate level in 2008, and moved to his current home at UCLA coaching the Offensive line at UCLA in 2011. Though many would assume that Klemm’s 3 Super Bowl rings would be his claim to fame, he has quickly become known as one of the top recruiters in the country with honors. For example, in 2010 Rivals.com top non-BCS AQ Recruiter in the nation and one of the Top 25 recruiters in the country,FoxSports/Scout.com named him the Conference USA Recruiter of the Year. Following Klemm’s success in 2010, he was named the recruiting coordinator at SMU in the summer or 2011. In December of 2011, Klemm left SMU and moved to UCLA. Once back home in California, Klemm quickly added to his honors by helping UCLA bring in one of the top recruiting classes in the country in 2012, then being named as the Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year by 24/7 Sports. In 2013, he brought in one of the toughest O-line groups in the country, and as a result, Rivals.com named him one of the Top 25 recruiters in the nation.
As impressive as Klemm’s rise through the ranks has been, I might not have known about it, if I did not consider him a dear friend. Knowing he was coming back to Texas, to face off against the Texas Longhorns with his UCLA Bruins, I was excited to see the Klemm’s recruits in action at AT&T stadium. I wanted to share the story ofcoach Adrian Klemm from the perspective of my personal experience.
I met Coach Klemm after his New England Patriots days, when he was at SMU. I remember sitting with Adrian for hours upon hours as he watched game film on potential recruits. We would often talk about the different players who he was scouting for the offensive line, what he liked and what he didn’t like.
One day, I distinctly remember sitting with him and having him present two different players to me. One was a bigger guy, stronger for sure, with a flashy highlight reel. The other was a slightly undersized guy who was tenacious and fearless, with great footwork, and a badly done highlight reel. I remember Coach Klemm looking at me and saying, "Buffy, tell me which player you would go after and recruit."
Knowing it was a test, I looked at him and said, "wellcoach, the smaller guy has amazing feet. Judging from the fact that his highlight reel is not polished, I bet he doesn't have a great weight program. If that's true, I would go for him. He won't be as highly recruited, he will be hungrier, and I bet he will eventually be better."
Coach Klemm looked at me, smiled, gave me a knock to the shoulder and said, "that's why I like you Buffy. That's exactly what I was thinking, and he's the recruit I'm going after… And, he you’re right, he doesn’t have a good weight program.”
If you knew the look I saw on Adrian’s face, and the genuine excitement that overtakes him when he finds a player he believes is a hidden gem, you would know why he has attracted some of the best recruits in the country. He trusts his instincts completely. He conveys that confidence openly and enthusiastically, and I guarantee that confidence and enthusiasm in his recruits’ potential is why some of the top players in the country have been committing to and playing for Coach Adrian Klemm.
When I had the opportunity to cover the AdvocareCowboys Showdown, when Texas was going to will face UCLA, I can't help but think of the game in terms of Coach Klemm. Knowing that he was UCLA’s O-line coach and run game coordinator, I wanted to see how those phases would factor into the game.
I knew that the Oline had not played up to Klemm’sexpectations in the home opener against Virginia or even against Utah, but I believed they would step up and dominate over Texas. Unfortunately, it did not start out that way. The Longhorns D-line was clearly the best part of their game, and soon things took a bad turn for UCLA when Brett Hundley went down and the backup JerryNeuheisel had to come in. The already strong Texas D-line appeare to smell blood in the water, and ultimately, it was 10-3 Texas at half-time.
However, the second half was another story for UCLA. With the help of a botched coin-toss that gave UCLA the ball to start the game and again to start the 2nd half. UCLA took control of the game. In the 2nd half, I got to seeKlemm’s handiwork with the run game and an experienced O-line set up the backup QB for success.
At the end of the game, QB Neuheisel was elevated to the shoulders of his teammates, just as he had taken the team on his shoulders and led them to victory. In the Press Conference at the end of the game, it was clear that the experience of the OLine and the ability to run the ball better in the second half were the game changers for Coach Mora, “it inspires your team when you're running the ball well. You know? It gives you energy. It gives you juice. It's what football is meant to be. You know? Hard-nosed, smash-mouth football. And I think we were able to do that. And our offensive line, yeah, they love to pass protect. Okay? But they would rather just fire off and knock somebody off the ball.”
When responding to a question about how important it was to have an experienced O-line in front of Jerry, CoachMora said, “I think it gave us all just a sense of comfort. And they did an excellent job all night. You know, early, we struggled a little in pass pro, but once we settled down, we ran the ball well. And that always is going to help you, throw the ball.”
Though the 20-17 win was not the show of dominance I anticipated from UCLA, in the end, it was a win forKlemm’s O-line.