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[UPDATED: For Mariucci Too?]A "Call Back" For Neuheisel

From the LA Times:

Rick Neuheisel is scheduled to be interviewed by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block for the Bruins' head coach job tonight, sources familiar with the search said.

Neuheisel, the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, was interviewed by UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero last week and is believed to be the front-runner for the position. DeWayne Walker, UCLA's interim head coach; Norm Chow, the Tennessee Titans' offensive coordinator; and John Harbaugh, a Philadelphia Eagles assistant coach, were also interviewed for the job.

Neuheisel is the only one so far to receive an interview with the chancellor, a necessary step before a job offer can be made, a source said.

Neuheisel could not be reached for comment. Guerrero has declined all interview requests since firing Coach Karl Dorrell and beginning the coach search.

This would be a homecoming for the 46-year old Neuheisel, who was the quarterback for the Bruins in a 45-9 victory over Illinois in the 1984 Rose Bowl. He was also a UCLA assistant from 1986 to '93.

Neuheisel had a 66-30 record during eight seasons as a head coach at Washington and Colorado, but those stops also involved controversy.
As I have said before even though I am genuinely conflicted over RN, I will support him provided we have a good sense that Dan Guerrero made an earnest effort to pursue some of other names such as Leach, Mendenhall, Peterson, who we have heard about in last few weeks.

Again I will repeat that 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.

So even though Neuheisel would not be my first choice, if I had to pick between CHOKER, Walker or Neuheisel, I'd take RN over any of them in a heart beat. That said as I referenced above, DG will have to answer some serious questions about how we ended up a finalist list of those three and some no name with "impressive bloodlines."


UPDATE: Maybe, just maybe, Walker should be sending that resume to UDub (he can try to scheme himself into the head coaching picture up there as UDub will prolly look to fire TY at the end of next season. It will be perfect for the DyNoMite). Per bluegold and gilbert, 570 AM is reporting that Mariucci is also getting a second interview. I have made my thoughts on Mariucci clear as well. He won't be my first choice. But he too would be clearly preferable to Walker or CHOKER. And I will also take him over Neuheisel. GO BRUINS. -N

UPDATE II: I want to add another thought on RN's call back. I think the RN story could be a smokescreen to placate heavy hitting boosters/football alums from the 80s who are heavily lobbying on his behalf. DG might have wanted to show them he is giving him more than a courtesy interview. Hence the second interview. Again, RN is not my first option or a first tier option. He is preferable over Walker and CHOKER. However, if he is the guy, DG will have some serious explaining to do and, if that is not followed up by a BCS bowl game in next three years, it will probably be the end of DG at UCLA. Anyway, it's evident this drama is not over. But its starting to get a little bit interesting. GO BRUINS. -N