From the diaries. -N
It does no good to discuss his negatives, like a lack of any DC experience at the college or pro level, so lets discuss what he should do to be successful at Ucla.
1) BE ONLY A DEFENSIVE CORDINATOR!
I truly believe for Walker to shorten his learning curve, he needs to focus on being a defensive cordinator.
Many times when people are promoted into a position, that has new requirements, they try to latch onto some part of their prior position. In many instances, it is done so that there is some thing is the sea of new responsibilities that brings a feeling of comfort.
I see it alot in my line of work when engineers are promoted into a managerial position. They try to "keep their hands dirty" in project development aspect rather than fully committing to the management of their project.
In Walkers' case, I believe that he needs to hire a defensive backfield coach. While he might be a great DB coach and might feel most comfortable coaching the defensive backs, I think that is will slow his progress as a defensive cordinator.
He needs to be watching the entire defense during practice and not just the DBs. He needs to be in the booth during the game and not on the sidelines coaching the DBs or trying to coach the DBs from the booth via another position coach.
2) HIRE AN NFL CALIBER DEFENSIVE LINE COACH
Defenses are built upon their defensive line. The better the defensive line, the better the defense. With our administrations insistance of elevated admissions standards, the defensive line postion becomes tougher and tougher to recruit. Over the years, it will lead to inconsistant talent on the defensive line and, subsequently over the years, our defenses will be inconsistant.
The only solution to this, other than silver bullets or lowering admission requirements, is to give academically qualified defensive line talent a reason to come here. For Ucla, this reason could simply be a big time defensive line coach with major NFL ties.
So not only will a big time defensive line coach bring in consistantly better talent but he'll develop the talent better as well.
3) FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
While I contend that Pete Carroll is tool, he does one thing that I like. He dedicates a practice every week to work on tackling, ball security and creating turnovers.
This aggresive defensive mindset, to create turnovers, with sound technique like putting your hat on the ball, has vaulted their program. Creating turnovers do many things like getting you ball in good field position and deflating the opposing offense. Turnovers kill momentum.
Also, I doubt that anyone can really disagree, that over the years, that suc has been sound in tackling.
The other thing that being aggressive defensively does is make kids want to play for your defense. Not only talented defensive kids but talented defensive kids that are aggressive.
4) PREPARE FOR EACH WEEK WITH BOTH EYES OPEN
Walker should enter each week with the following 3 things:
A. A clear perspective of the abilities of our defensive players.
B. Self scout the defense for tendencies, weaknesses and strengths.
C. Develop a game plan based upon our abilities with their strengths and weaknesses in mind.
Honestly, I think that this is Tom Cable's weakness as a coach. He seems to lack perspective regarding our weaknesses, strengths and the abilities of our players. I believe it is the reason, that over the vast majority of our games, the offense was rather stagnant. Pure and simple, we entered too many games with poor offensive game plans and struggled for 3 quarters. It seemed that only when we ditched the ill concieved game plan, due to large deficits, we effectively moved the ball late in games.
While Walker might not have any real defensive cordinator experience per say, this is where I hope his experience under some very good DCs pays off.
If he can excell at preparing effective game plans, he should be able to over come his lack of game time experience. We all know that conquering things that are new is always easiest when well prepared.
5) RECRUIT, RECRUIT & RECRUIT
He needs to sell HIS DEFENSE and HIS NFL EXPERIENCE to recruits to raise our defensive talent level.
On this point alone, I would have canned Kerr. He sucked at recruiting and our linebacking core shows it.
Anyway, best of luck to Coach Walker.