Let’s start the week with a quick reset on Dewayne Walker. In case you missed it Class of 66 posted some interesting thoughts from a colleague of his, who happened to be a hardcore LSU fan, closely following the DC situation at Baton Rouge. Per 66’s friend Walker is one of the candidates perhaps being considered by LSU:
Yes, it’s a given we’ll announce a new DC right after the Peach Bowl. Walker, George Edwards of the Dolphins, and recently fired John Chavis from Tennessee apparently are the front runners. It’s a big issue at LSU, as there is tremendous pressure on Miles to right the defensive disaster that unfolded this season. In fact, if he doesn’t make a splash in that regard, and next year resembles 08, he could be fired. We are spoiled and arrogant, to be sure, but that’s the reality. UCLA is a plumb job, for sure, but he could have immediate success at LSU vs Neuheisel rebuilding, and the money will be hard to turn down.
More on Walker/LSU from And the Valley Shook, our SBN colleague blogging about the Tigers:
Earlier this week, it appeared that LSU was looking to get Dewayne Walker from UCLA as defensive coordinator, Ed Orgeron as defensive line coach, associate head coach, and recruiting coordinator, former Auburn linebackers coach James Willis as linebackers coach, and maybe giving the defensive back coaching job to former LSU star and NFL veteran Corey Raymond, who has spent the last couple of years on the staff as a strength and conditioning coach.
Dewayne Walker has an outstanding reputation as a defensive coordinator, and is a rising star in coaching circles. He's a hard-nosed coach whose attitude is probably closer to that of Vince Lombardi than of Les Miles. He would be a good complement to Miles' laid-back demeanor. His UCLA team did not have a good defense statistically, but the general consensus is that the points given up by UCLA were more a result of a lousy offense putting them in bad positions than anything else. I can't say I know a lot about his UCLA defense other than hearsay (which says that he plays a very aggressive style), but it is generally believed that if LSU were to hire Dewayne Walker it would be a home run hire.
It is still questionable that Walker would accept the position if offered. It is no secret that Walker wants a head coaching position. He has struck out in his bids for them so far, and the positions around the country are rapidly filling. He may want to hold out for the last couple of openings, however. Also, he has spent his entire college career on the West Coast, and one wonders if he would want to begin again in the South.
FWIW Dohn thinks Walker will not pursue the position at LSU. More on this and Walker’s others options from a weekend report than ran on the DN:
UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker will talk to New Mexico State athletic director McKinley Boston about the vacant head coaching position for a second time before deciding whether to pursue it, sources said. [...]
Walker also received interest from Washington coach Steve Sarkasian about being the Huskies' new defensive coordinator, but he was not interested in making the move, according to sources.
Also, Walker has been linked to becoming LSU's defensive coordinator, but sources added Walker was not going to pursue that position at this time.
In some ways if Walker were to serious consider the LSU DC gig, it would put him in the same situation when he joined Karl Dorrell at UCLA or if he were to join Willingham up in Seattle at the end of last season. Both of those situations just like Miles’s current one LSU have the common thread of a head coach on fiery hot seat where a bad season could finish them off (well in KD and TY’s case they were ultimately done). So we will see what Walker decides over next few weeks.
Meanwhile, according Dohn’s report in the coming days ATV will be getting some input from NFL scouts on where he would stack up in the draft picture (if he were to leave early). FWIW ATV is leaning towards returning for his senior season:
Underclassman have until Jan. 15 to decide whether or not to enter the NFL draft. Verner, a mathematics/applied sciences major, said getting his degree could sway his decision.
"If anything, I'm probably leaning on staying because the degree," Verner said. "I'd say I'm 50-50 right now. I want to see what they say, but if I do stay, that would put me that much closer to getting my degree."
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Verner was second on the Bruins with 73 tackles, and led the team with 18 pass breakups. He is being counted to play a vital leadership role in 2009 as UCLA looks to rebound from a 4-8 season.
"He's such a classy kid," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "There's no question he has NFL skills, and it was evidence by no (opposing team) even taking a chance on him. Every throw was toward Mike Norris, who fortunately held up. (Verner) is a wonderful kid. He's the complete package.
"But I do think he can become a little bit more physical in a year's time, and when he goes and gets tested (for the NFL), he can be that much further ahead when he's completing the (testing) measurables that will make the difference where he's selected in the draft."
ATV is an incredibly smart kid. Being a math whiz that he is, it’s a good bet whatever he decides to do will be a well calculated decision.
Lastly, starting today I am traveling out West for the Holidays for next two weeks. So my posting will probably be somewhat haphazard from now till the 31st. I am taking my laptop with me so I will try to drop in as much as I can. In the mean time I am sure my colleagues from the front page and rest of the regulars will stay on top of any major Bruin related news/notes that are worth sharing with all of BN. As always, don’t be shy to step up and share something yourself via the FanPosts or FanShots if any of us haven’t gotten to it on the frontpage.