The Chow story has been reverberating up and down the West Coast (and certainly all around college football). Let’s get to more reactions from yesterday’s blockbuster news. We will start with Kevin Pearson from the Press Enterprise who gives credit to CRN:
To land both of his top two targets -- and both of whom interveiwed for the head coaching position -- says a lot about Neuheisel's ability to get things done.
It started with the daring -- yet deserving -- hire of Rick Neuheisel as coach. Neuheisel then found a way to keep elite defensive coordinator/recruiting guru Dwayne Walker -- the other finalist for the head-coaching job -- on staff, and just today he put the finishing touches on what can only be described as a stunning month in Westwood.
The hiring of Norm Chow as offensive coordinator goes way beyond simple Xs and Os. Anyone can walk into a job and say they're going to compete with the nation's best program. It's another thing to show it.
Rick's first goal is to make life miserable for Pete Carroll in LA, and he is off to a good start. Revenge over the school who dismissed him a couple of years ago is also on the menu, but USC is his first priority.
UCLA now has as impressive a trio of top coaches as any program in the country - Neuheisel, Chow and defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker.
"I'm always a person that believes you try for the best," Neuheisel said. "If they say no, then they say no, but I've always believed you try. You try to sell a vision and the concept of partnership.
"I've just been very fortunate that I had (two) great guys who also believe in those concepts. They're family guys. They believe in kids. It's going to be a special deal."
The hiring of Chow comes via a humongous dose of luck and Neuheisel chutzpah.
One thing that comes to mind is a radio interview he did a couple of years ago. To paraphrase, Chow said, "They should have four championships there now." And that’s the truth.
The coaching staff has had significant changes since the days of Norm Chow, and one would ponder, ‘Only if…what would have happened if Chow stayed.’ Of course, there’s every possibility that the Trojan would have suffered the same fate, with or without Chow.
"So what do you think of our new offensive coordinator?" Neuheisel asked Crissman, who had not wavered from his commitment to sign with the Bruins.
"I told him, 'This is awesome' and 'I can't wait to be a Bruin.'" Crissman recalled saying. "What quarterback wouldn't want to be learning from Rick Neuheisel and Norm Chow, both coaches who've worked with the biggest names in football?"
NFL coaching experience, which Neuheisel had as a Baltimore Ravens assistant and USC's Pete Carroll had with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, will certainly be alluring to the top high school recruits. Chow had spent the last three years as the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator, tutoring Vince Young, the 2006 NFL Rookie of the Year.
Even more attractive to the blue-chippers will be the names Chow can drop. In 32 seasons at the college level, Chow groomed BYU's Ty Detmer and USC's Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart for Heisman Trophy-winning seasons and prepared Palmer, Leinart, Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Philip Rivers and Marc Wilson to become NFL first-round draft picks.
Crissman rattled off a lot of these famed quarterbacks as he talked about learning from Chow's playbook. There's no doubt that the Bruins will use Chow's credibility in the courting of Mater Dei's Matt Barkley, who is among the nation's top junior quarterbacks and who made a visit to UCLA on Saturday.
The process was a tad slower when working at USC the following season, despite working with eight returning starters, including quarterback Carson Palmer (Santa Margarita High).
The Trojans actually gained more than 100 fewer yards per game in the first season with Chow as their offensive coordinator than they had in 2000 under Coach Paul Hackett.
But USC and Palmer took off in their second season – the Trojans' quarterback completing 63.2 percent of his passes for 3,942 yards and 33 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions and winning the Heisman Trophy. USC then led the Pac-10 in scoring in 2003 and '04, averaging 41.1 and 38.2 points per game, in winning back-to-back national championships and produced another Heisman winner in Matt Leinart (Mater Dei High).
At UCLA, Chow will not have that same type of talent to work with initially. The Bruins and Washington are the only teams in the Pac-10 without a all-conference position player returning next season, though Olson, running backs Kahlil Bell and Raymond Carter and split end Marcus Everett will return from injuries.
We are going to enjoy the rebuilding process led by CRN and his talented coordinators in the coming years. And we intend to stick with them through the inevitable peaks and valleys as they work on getting UCLA back to the glory road.