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Coaching Search/Football News & Notes

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Let's get back to what is on all of our mind: the coaching search.  Per the OC Register someone from Morgan Center (DG?) was around my neck of the woods (well about an hour away) yesterday to interview Rick Neuheisel:

The UCLA coaching search caravan was in Baltimore on Friday for a meeting with Ravens offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel.
Neuheisel's name also figures prominently in the LAT story on coaching search this morning:
The search for UCLA's next football coach may enter a new phase next week, as athletic department officials could present a list of finalists to Chancellor Gene Block by the end of the week, a source familiar with the search said.

UCLA officials added former Washington and Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel and Philadelphia Eagles assistant John Harbaugh to the interview list for this weekend, sources said. A meeting with Norm Chow, the Tennessee Titans' offensive coordinator, had already been arranged.

DeWayne Walker, the Bruins' defensive coordinator and interim coach, was interviewed Tuesday.

Other candidates are expected to be interviewed, but the process of trimming the list and arranging meetings with the chancellor could begin early next week.

Neuheisel's candidacy has been strongly pushed by some influential alumni and former players, though his past troubles had athletic department officials unsure whether to interview him. The NCAA put Colorado on two years' probation, with some of the violations occurring when Neuheisel was coach. He was fired from Washington for his involvement in an NCAA basketball betting pool, though he later won a $4.5-million settlement from the school and the NCAA.
I will just disregard the Harbaugh angle because the whole idea of hiring some coach because of "bloodlines" is just beyond absurd. Going back to Neuheisel, I have to tell you I am genuinely conflicted over him. I am not all that worried about his alleged transgressions in Washington. It turned out that it was Washington Huskies who screwed up. As for his recruiting violations at CU, there were not repeated in Washington despite him having a constant target on his back. Moreover, I doubt he will make them at UCLA, given our compliance officials are some of the best in the country to make sure our coaches operate within the parameters of the NCAA rules. What I am ambivalent about his how his team in both Colorado and Washington didn't fare well in his later years. Still, there are aspects of Neuheisel that can get me excited. I have written my thoughts about him extensively here and here.

Right now what I know for certain is that I will take Neuheisel over Walker or the CHOKER any day. I think Neuheisel has strong enough personality and support within the Bruin family that he would be able to check the Walker tools within Morgan Center who will always be plotting for his ascension as the next head coach. And another point on all the Neuheisel stories, BruinBlue made to me in an email earlier today:
I have one little ray of hope here:  The fact that Neuheisel is getting play helps us, because there are several alumni and even boosters who want him.  If Guerrero ignores that and just hires Chow, they will be upset, because after all RN has the head coaching experience.  So this COULD impel Guerrero to pick someone who is currently a head coach, because then said boosters really couldn't complain.
That makes a lot of sense to me as well. Given Neuheisel's interest in this job, it would be extremely imprudent on DG's part to go with Walker or CHOKER, and piss off not just us, but football alums and boosters who sway around Morgan Center. That would make it easier for us to exert influence should DG makes a monumentally stupid decision of going with either a self promoting hack or well traveled OC who is so desperate and insecure for a job that he is willing to take it in an arrangement in which someone else will function as the real field general of the football team.

And on that point DumpDorrell.com flagged a really interesting comment from Dohn's Q&A this week:
Does Walker have the ultimate say in OC if he's the head coach? or can DG step in.  I don't know, but why would Walker take the job if Guerrero was going to over rule him? That doesn't mesh with Walker's personality.
Interesting that you say that Brian. If that is the case does it make sense why would coaches like June Jones (who have experience taking their programs to BCS bowl game) would want to work in a situation in which DG dictates to him who his DC should be? Pretty hilarious. Isn't it?

Speaking of hilarious, Dohn reports Bob Field, who was the clown who formed the finalist list of Dorrell, Robinson, and Riley is apparently still involved in this search process:
Guerrero and Field, who is UCLA's associate athletic director of football, are expected to meet with Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow today in Kansas City, where the Titans play Sunday.

Guerrero could bring several candidates to campus next week for a second round of interviews, which would include meeting with the school's chancellor, Gene Block.
I sure hope Field is doing nothing more than carrying DG's files because that is all he is really qualified to do.

I will finish this Saturday roundup with a team note. Walker has named Olson starter for next weekend (from Dohn's notes as well):
"Ben's the starter, Pat is still trying to get healthy and Osaar (Rasshan) will be in a backup role," Walker said. "We're going to bank on Ben right now."

But will it be a one-man show, or will Rasshan play?

"There's always a chance," Walker said.

Olson said he was less than 100percent, but was looking forward to playing. He has not started since injuring his left knee Oct. 6 against Notre Dame, although he played in relief in the final two games of the season.

"I'm healthy enough to play, and that's the big thing," Olson said. "It's kind of frustrating not being full speed, but the situation is what it is, and I'm excited for the opportunity to get out there and get some bitterness out of my mouth, and I know our team is, too."
Sounds good to me. We will have Olson backed up by Rasshan. Markey should be healthy backed up by Moline. Our receivers should be healthy and the most AWESOME defense in the country coached up by the most AWESOME DC in America should be ready t go. Although this one game should have absolutely no bearing on whether or not Walker should be our HC, I am expecting a Bruin blowout in Vegas over a BYU team, it already beat earlier in the season. After all last time we were being "lead" by Dorrell and this time we are leading by the bestest, most awesomest coach (hey I am just borrowing from Dohn's vocabulary) head coach in waiting in America. So I am expecting a blowout of more than 21+ points.

GO BRUINS.