So Dohn reports that Rick Neuheisel is getting a second interview (among ‘several coaching candidates’). But guess who continues to be the focus of Dohn’s report? Of course we are talking about the bestest, most awesomest defensive coach in the country: DyNoMite:
In a twist, though, sources said if interim coach DeWayne Walker is not hired as the full-time coach, the University of Washington will make an "intense" push to hire Walker as its defensive coordinator.
However, sources added Walker's first choice is to remain the defensive coordinator at UCLA, even if he is not the new head coach.
The Huskies fired defensive coordinator Kent Baer on Monday, and sources said Walker is the top choice of coach Tyrone Willingham, and added the school is willing to wait for the UCLA situation to play out before making a hire.
Meanwhile, some one sure is engaging in a negative campaign against Neuheisel via the UCLA beat press. Kuwada actually took time to write this negative note on Neuheisel up in his report:
He had five recruiting classes as the coach at Washington — 1999 through 2003, though he never had a chance to coach the '03 group because he was fired.
There were 121 players in those five classes, and just two position players gained first-team All-Pac-10 honors in their Washington careers: wide receiver Reggie Williams and defensive back C.J. Wallace.
A third player, Charles Frederick, was all-conference as a punt returner (2003).
Since 2002, when members of the first Neuheisel class were fourth-year juniors or seniors, Washington has had the fewest All-Pac-10 first-team selections of any school in the conference with four. USC, by contrast, had the most in the conference with 46, and Cal was second with 27.
"He is very good at interacting with his players on a number of different levels, whether it's with the whole team, a group of guys or if it's one-on-one," linebacker Christian Taylor said. "He has made himself the head guy, but he also finds a way to interact with you and you can like him at the same time. He is my friend, but first and foremost he is my coach, and I've never forgotten that."
Since taking over the reins, Walker has already tweaked several things within the program. Players must sit up straight and can't eat in team meetings. They must run once they step on the practice field and hurry from station to station.
With the defense already accustomed to those rules, the offensive players have begun to adapt to Walker, who understands that changing the mentality of UCLA football is part of the challenge the next head coach must tackle.
"Players are great, but some coaches couldn't get what they needed to out of our players," Carter said. "He specifically knows how to get what he needs out of us."
Walker's name has been bandied about for several openings this offseason, including the Washington State job, but he insists that he is focused on leading the Bruins in their bowl game and wants to remain in Westwood.
Guerrero has suggested that, should Walker not get the job, the new head coach would be strongly encouraged to retain Walker.