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Rolling The Dice ...

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Let's get to the Chow to UCLA (with DeWayne Walker as his DC) rumors. This will be a red flag post on BN, just like we raised red flags over the hiring of Doc Wristen, Bob Connelly, Jay Norvell, and Jim Colletto. I think we have established a pretty good track record in this department over the years.

As they say, these rumors right now are "hot and heavy" all over UCLA online communities (and, no, its not just coming from EDSBS). People (read Dorrellistas), and certain groups of UCLA fans who always get all "hot and heavy" over some promising assistant coach "growing" into the head coaching position and proving themself to be the next John Wooden or Red Sanders), are already fantasizing about the idea of a Chow/Walker combination that would supposedly strike fear in the heart of TrOJans. There are just so many things wrong with this scenario I don't even know where to begin.

First of all, UCLA should never hire its head coach based on who will beat Southern Cal. People who try to adhere to this mentality are probably the same blowhards from the Donahue era who tried to sedate a UCLA fanbase by telling us that all is right with the world as long as we beat Southern Cal. You know, the same losers who were arguing for Dorrell to keep his job if he beat Southern Cal. These are the same losers who don't care about one underachieving 6-8 win seasons after another, as long as it was centered around beating Southern Cal. This is what kept Donahue on the job for five years too long. So the idea that we should hire Chow and Walker, two former assistants under Pom Pom, because that combo would give us the best chance to beat Southern Cal doesn't pass the smell test.

Also, I don't see how exactly Chow/Walker would strike fear into Heritage Hall. These guys are known commodities to Pom Pom. He knows their game and I am sure he is not worried about handling them on the recruiting trail.

Moreover, is there any evidence of Chow being a dynamic recruiter or personality, who would inject enthusiasm into our underachieving program? From what I have heard from friends who follow the Stanford football program very closely, this guy couldn't even sell himself in a set up that was supposed to be a slam dunk from him. Yeah, I get that Stanford made the wrong choice in Walt Harris. Yet, it was still Chow who completely "bombed" the interview when he had his chance. And that wasn't last time he bombed a hiring process. He wasn't even contacted by NC State when that job opened up last season.  And reportedly ASU interviewed him, but went with Erickson. So all on a sudden we are supposed to be okay with UCLA taking a flier on this guy who has never led a team either in the NFL or in the pros?

And, make no mistake, going with Chow is rolling the dice as pointed out by Cal Poly Bruin over at Bruin Roar:


For someone who has had amazing coaching success for over 30 years, you have to wonder why he hasn't been given a head coaching position? Many have speculated that Chow hasn't gotten a gig because he has an abrasive, take-it-or-leave-it personality. He had a very well documented fall-out with the USC coaching staff that lead to him eventually leaving the school in 2005. He is also said to be a very bad interviewee and was passed over for the head coaching position at Stanford because he rubbed the AD the wrong way.

As a head coach, there comes other commitments outside of the football field. Chow may not be up for socializing with boosters and athletic department personnel. He may not be interested in sticking with a college head coaching job and jump back to the NFL where he can focus entirely on just the on-field coaching.

The other downside is that Chow is getting up there in years. He is definitely set in his ways and he didn't spend much, if any time, on the recruiting trail while at USC. As the head coach you have to be involved in recruiting whether you like it or not.


Chow is a bit of an enigma for me. You got to love the offensive coordinator background and his cerebral approach to the game. If we could just harness that mind for good rather than evil, it would be awesome. Some of the personality issues could really be a problem. You would hate to have a dysfunctional staff trying to lead this team where Norm is pissing off all of his assistants and the administration.

Maybe I'm making to much of it but obviously no other school as thought it worthwhile to offer Chow a head coaching job. There has got to be something wrong with him. I'm not sure if UCLA wants to roll the dice and be the first to give him a shot. If Guerrero does take Norm and it works out, he'll be a genius. If it doesn't work out... well he might think about preparing his own resume as well.
And there are other issues with rolling the dice on Norm Chow (and DeWayne Walker). Let's just say he is not going to excite a lot of people in the UCLA community:
As for some of the other names...Chow....meh. I would be happier about this than many other choices, but there's a reason he hasn't gotten a shot and is on the down-side of 60 - he's not particularly charismatic. His staff would need to be spectacular, and he'd need to pull in someone who could recruit. I'd be happy then - he's universally regarded as an offensive genius, but then again, so is Charlie Weis, and he hasn't exactly made the jump to head-coach appear to be all sunshine and rainbows, if you know what I mean.
That's really it. I get the fact that the comparison to Weis is not totally valid because Weis IIRC didn't have major college experience on his resume. But the argument remains, what happens if Chow screws up? Do we have the time for another grand "experiment" given our history in last 10+ years?

Also, I don't buy the comparisons between Chow and Stoops and Chow and Richt. Those guys were at different stages of their careers when they were hired by their respective institutions as head coach. They didn't have the baggage of a 30 year career in which they were finding themselves in positions of screwing up one opportunity after another.

Let me also get to the absurd notion of Chow coming in here and Walker working under him as DC. I have also heard that the Chow idea has been floated to Walker to see if he would be OK under working for him as "head coach"?

Are you kidding me? UCLA is at a critical juncture in its football history as its AD is in position to make a hire that has the potential to reverse the malaise and underachievements of a couple of decades, and here we are hearing stories about UCLA looking to hire candidates who a defensive coordinator from a fired regime (with no head coaching experience) would find acceptable?

Do these guys have any idea what happened at Louisville this past season? You guys remember the Louisville Cardinals right, who lost their superstar coach Bobby Petrino to the Atlanta Falcons. So they bring in Steve Kagthorpe, who was apparently "forced" (per an email from a pretty good source we have) to retain some of Petrino's previous assistants, and that scenario blew up in his face. How do we know we will have the perfect "chemistry" between Chow and Walker (despite the inevitable spin we will hear out of the traditional media) that will not create a Louisville-like implosion at UCLA?

So how can we be assured that if Chow comes in and "enthusiastically" retains Walker on his staff that Chow will be safe when he turns his back to a guy who seems to be scheming for the top spot ever since he got here?

Can you imagine the gossip and stories next year if the offense functions well but the defense still has no answer to the spread, or if the defense stays above average but the offense doesn't respond to Chow?

We will be back to right where we started when we had rolled the dice with other assistant coaches in our two major sports during last three decades. Yeah, I get that Chow's resume is heavier and more burnished than the ones of Hazzard, Farmer, Lavin, Toledo, and Dorrell. But context matters. We have been through enough in the last 30 years.

We deserve better than the UCLA administration even thinking (and from what we hear they are considering "Chow/Walker" scenario seriously) about rolling the dice with yet another "experiment" for another 5-7 years. It seems like an unacceptable proposition to BN.