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The Manipulative Walker Campaign

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Rye already posted the news of UCLA interviewing DeWayne Walker. I guess that this interview became public because, given what we have been accustomed to from the Walker contingent in that last few weeks, the news of this interview came from Walker himself. Dohn predictably plays the lap dog role by offering up the following statistics to boost his favorite candidate:

Despite a lackluster offense that forced the Bruins' defense to be on the field an average of 76 plays per game this season (compared to 65 last season), the Bruins ranked better in 2007. UCLA is fourth in the Pac-10 and 34th nationally in total defense (349.7 ypg) and third in the Pac-10 and 33 rd nationally in scoring defense (22.7 ppg).
What Dohn the lapdog fails to mention is that the vaunted 4th ranked defense in the Pac-10 finished the regular season in 70th percentile in pass defense (ranked number 71 nationally) in 2007, showing no ability to stop the spread offense. He also magically forgot about the Utah game and the WSU game during which the score could have been much uglier if the Cougars had a competent kicker. He also forgot to mention how our defense under Walker was strutting after beating up on a Cal team playing with an error prone QB playing with one leg and an Oregon team, which basically came in without a competent QB.

Dohn also forgets to mention how the same defense finished in the 80th percentile in pass defense in 2006 (ranked 87th nationally) while chalking up humiliating performances against Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame, Washington State and, of course, Florida State.

Also, Dohn who apparently is incapable of doing basic high school level research, forgot to include this kind of nuanced take on Walker, that should be seen as red flag by any competent athletic director (we are looking right at you DG):
Defensive Awards for DeWayne Walker Players

I would think that one relevant measure for a person lobbying (either directly or through hacks like Dohn) for HC position, is whether his players improved with his coaching. UCLA brought back 10 starters this year on defense, including 2006 2nd team all conf Davis and Horton. Davis remained 2nd team this year, while Horton improved to 1st team. What happened to the other 8 returning starters? Not one improved to the level of 2nd team all-league, and Davis remained 2nd team. Ouch. Meanwhile, Oregon State returned 1 all-conf 1st or 2nd team from 2006 team on defense, and managed to place 5 on this year's all-conf defense team. Arizona State went from 0 in 2006 to 5 1st or 2nd team all-conf selections on defense in 2007. If there is going to be a fixation on DC's, let's get one whose players improve. No way Walker should stay here as DC, let alone HC, unless the new HC really wants him.
Well we will see how this drama plays out. Right now we only know of one interview only because the interview involved a self promoting hack like DeWayne Walker, who always manages to saturate the local beat reporters with his spin. Case in point today’s article in the OC Register, in which Kuwada writes the tired take from the Walker camp that DW needs to be hired to save the recruiting class:
Many of the players in the Bruins’ Class of 2008 are pulling for the next coach to be defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker – who was interviewed for the position Tuesday – and to retain receivers coach Eric Scott and the position coaches they have developed relationships with in defensive line coach Todd Howard, running backs coach Dino Babers, linebackers coach Chuck Bullough and safeties coach Gary DeLoach.

A high profile hire doesn't automatically equate to success. It is more about the relationships – particularly since there had been none before Dorrell and his staff started working the city.

"If it's someone like (Steve) Mariucci … he doesn't know anybody. It's going to set you back two years. It's going to take time. So now you're two years behind. You don't get those kids from Crenshaw and Dorsey because they don't know you," Webster said.

Dorrell represented UCLA, gave it a face where there had been none. The Bruins' former coach represented opportunities that were unavailable to older brothers, uncles, cousins or friends.

That face now belongs to the remaining Bruins' staff.

"They make contact with these kids, now these kids are trying to get their grades together and now they're trying to be better. It's nice when you have a guy like Eric Scott or DeWayne Walker, people who care about the kids, who get after them, tell them, 'you've got to get your grades up, this is what you have to do, let me see your transcript – you need to take this, this, this and this. You have to do this, you need to do this.' " Webster said.
Of course we have blasted holes through the shortsightedness of this recruiting based argument a while ago. So I won’t bother repeating our counter arguments again. However, let me make another point. Call me cynical but in my mind I have no doubt where these stories are coming from. I don’t think these kids and their families are magically making these comments (specially taking digs against other coaching candidates) in a vacuum. These stories are coming out after Walker took over as the "interim head coach" and "working" to keep the recruiting class intact. There is a hard core campaign going on by Walker, who reading between the lines is using the beat reporters and now recruit to boost his candidacy, while negatively campaigning against other headliners.

The more I see this kind of manipulation, the more I dislike this guy. This guy is more dangerous than the self promoting fraud who held on to his job for seven years by manipulating the traditional media, bunch of idiotic fans who loved "access" the program, while in the process flushed a proud program into the gutter. DG has to make the decision whether he really wants to have this kind of toxic self promoting personality hover around this program and do the same kind of long term damage that Howland’s predecessor inflicted, which took even a miracle worker like Howland years to undo in Westwood.

GO BRUINS.