For the second time this offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders are losing an assistant coach who was committed to the team. First, it was Kliff Kingsbury as offensive coordinator and now it’s DeShaun Foster as running backs coach.
According to a February 12 X post from ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Foster is leaving the Raiders to accept the head coach job at UCLA.
This comes shortly after former head coach Chip Kelly spurned the Bruins to become the offensive coordinator for Ohio State. While the Raiders expected Foster to be their running backs coach, he’s now getting a significant promotion to lead his alma mater.
Foster has the fifth most rushing yards in UCLA history (3,194) and was the running backs coach for them from 2017 to 2023. The timing of Kelly leaving put the Bruins at a disadvantage when it came to hiring a new head coach. Foster hasn’t been a head coach or a coordinator at any level so this will be a big leap for him.
However, he’s familiar with the program and has been there for a long time so it should be an easier transition than hiring a coach with no ties to the team this late in the college football offseason.
Las Vegas Raiders Need an RBs Coach
It’s no secret that new head coach Antonio Pierce wants to have an offense that runs the ball well. Losing his running backs coach this early on is a blow. The team already decided against retaining last year’s running back coach Kennedy Polamalu. Perhaps he could be brought back in but that seems unlikely.
DeShaun Foster was hired before the Raiders named Luke Getsy as his offensive coordinator so he could have somebody he’d like to bring over. David Walker was Getsy’s running backs coach with the Chicago Bears but he was fired during the 2023 season. It’s unlikely he’ll get hired in Las Vegas.
There should be options for the Raiders to replace Foster but it remains to be seen who they’ll target now.
Las Vegas Raiders Have RB Questions
The Raiders could potentially have a very good running back room next season. Josh Jacobs had a down 2023 season due to injury but Zamir White played well in his absence. He had 397 rushing yards across the final four games and showed that he could be the starting running back going forward if Jacobs isn’t brought back.
The NFL’s leading rusher in 2022 played on the franchise tag last season and will likely get a chance to test free agency. Antonio Pierce is a big fan of Jacobs so it’s easy to see him back with the team in 2024.
That said, new general manager Tom Telesco wasn’t willing to pay Austin Ekeler last year so he may not be keen on giving running backs big money. Jacobs’ situation will be one to watch this offseason but the Raiders certainly have options. The team has bigger needs on defense and offensive line so rolling with White and not bringing back Jacobs would give the team more financial flexibility.
Jacobs is a team leader so that could be difficult to replace but if he wants a huge contract, he may need to find it elsewhere.