Fantastic press conferences, conciliatory remarks to recalcitrant DCs, Rose Bowl appearances, phone calls to alums..
..certainly not to belittle any of these happenings nor look a gift horse in the mouth, but with all of this happening just days after RN's hiring, one must believe that Guerrero and those he let participate in the decision-making process had to have a lot of this going on with Rick before the decision was made.
Given that so much time was devoted to making the final choice that the Bruin faithful (particularly on this site) were speculating that the new coach still had a bowl to play, there had to be some groundwork laid.
If that is the case, then it shows that not only Rick Neuheisel is to "blame" for all of this but also Guerrero as well. It is probably part of a master strategy to get things going in the right direction.
And, man, is it good to see an organization who is thinking a few miles down the road instead of reacting. If this continues, then not only Neuheisel but Guerrero should be given credit for the revitalization of UCLA football. You gotta see the big picture to be a good king maker. That means not only knowing who to select but to anticipate what he will do after he is selected. Yes, I believe Guerrero is that shrewd.
Besides, I think that old fox (Guerrero) went after Berlotti to smoke Chris Petersen (who coveted the Oregon job) out of BSU. It just cost him air fare to Oregon (or did they meet in San Francisco?) and it let Petersen know that he would be spending a lot of cold winters on that blue carpet in Boise if he didn't take the UCLA job.
You know what? Who gives a flying crap about Petersen, Jones, Mendenhall, Mariucci, Goeff Strand, or Engineer Jeff, or anyone else? We got Neuheisel as the coach and Guerrero as the AD and I think we ought to break out that old Johnny Nash tune ("I can see clearly now..") and blare it from the roof tops.
On the somewhat tangential topic of whether or whether not Ken Norton should be hired by UCLA, I think that would be a masterstroke as well.
Consider you are Neuheisel coming into a situation where there is the possibility of a somewhat successful but headstrong DC in place who has, well, done all of the BS that has been attributed to DW. The first thing I would do is make nice with some remarks about Walker being my #1 recruit and all of that. It paints you as the good guy to everyone and Walker, if he wants to be a team player, makes conciliatory moves as well. If Walker makes no such gestures (as he is seemingly not doing), then you leak the possibility of hiring a serious alum who has defensive coaching credentials.
This is not for DC, mind you, but the rumor that Ken Norton might be coming in some defensive capacity. It tells Walker that should take the U of W job or be a loyal team player because his replacement is already on staff and he (Walker) is giving him (Norton) OJT at every practice.
Wham! We get a valuable, grateful alum back under Neuheisel's wing and a future DC in training.
..yeah, so I don't have a life since The Sopranos ended. What's it to ya?