Last Friday's post on Neu (based on an article in the Washington Post) generated a spirited discussion in the Bruins Nation. Well we have had some new developments since that last post. Ravens lost to the Colts in the playoffs. And thereafter Coach Billick promoted Neu from Quarterbacks Coach to Raven's offensive coordinator. Here were Billick's reasons to promote Neu to an NFL OC position:
He worked well with Billick, too.
"Rick and I were able to communicate very readily with one another. It's a great working relationship," Billick said. "He deserves that mantle, and I have no doubt it can be a platform for Rick at some point to be a head coach again at some point."
Anyways there also this article in the Trojan Times by Bill Dwyre, in which he writes how Neu is patiently waiting for his next opportunity while keeping in touch with his Bruin roots:
But he also can't help but keep an eye on his roots. After UCLA stunned USC, he was quick to call his friend Karl Dorrell, with whom he played and coached, and congratulate him both on the win and on showing some fire along the sidelines.
And when the Arizona State job opened, it prompted a thought, even though Neuheisel wasn't applying. He called Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen and asked, were he ever to get another shot in the conference, would he be welcome? He said Hansen said yes.
One of Neuheisel's best coaching memories is of a game at Washington against a first-year USC coach named Pete Carroll.
"We won, and I head out toward the middle of the field and I see Pete sprinting my way," Neuheisel said. "He shakes my hand, looks me right in the eye and says, 'We'll be back.' I remember going into the tunnel and thinking, 'OK, it's on.'
"The next year, he's really got it going and USC wins. I run out to the middle of the field, grab his hand, shake it and say, 'We'll be back.' You should have seen his big grin."
Expect more of those meetings in the years ahead.
Anyways, once again this post is not an endorsement of Neu's possible return to Westwood as the next head football coach (should Dorrell fail to win the Pac in 07). However, I think it is worth to keep track of these stories. I think it is still debatable (with merits to both sides) on whether not Neu would turn out to be a good coach for Bruin football.
Dorrell and Toledo are prime examples how UCLA can put up 10 win seasons, pull out wins over Southern Cal (don't forget how KD should really be 2-2 against Pom Pom considering he mismanaged the game leading to that much celebrated moral victory two years ago) despite having a mediocre head coach. There is no question in my mind Neu is a better coach than KD. And I do think if he comes to UCLA he will get to work with one of the cleanest athletic departments in the country, which will ensure he is ensuring with all rules and regulations. He can be a recruiting juggernaut in South Land with his charisma, NFL background.
The question for me here is whether he has learned his lessons from his previous mistakes at Washington and at Colorado when he and his staff followed a recruiting philosophy based on going after the big names, instead of tending to fill the needs for the team (read gaping holes in Huskies and Buffaloes lines)? I am not sure yet. But I do know I am sick and tired of the mindset and excuses coming from the regime led by the current mediocre head coach (where 6 loss seasons are hailed as some kind of sign of progress).
In any event, we have poll up on BN. It should be interesting to see how we as a community we feel about having Neu back as the HC and reestablish his legacy by having a great career in Westwood. FWIW I am still voting in the category of "unsure."