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Mariucci (Not My First Choice But) Will Have My Support ...

I want to share my thoughts on Steve Mariucci. Now I have no idea right now that Mariucci is going to be our next coach.  I also do not know whether he is the leading candidate. However, I do know that there are lot of indications coming from multiple sources (including my personal one) there is a strong mutual interest wrt to Mariucci and UCLA.

And no this is not the first time Mariucci and UCLA talk have come up. Those of you who were closely following the coaching search in 2002 will remember that at that time UCLA and Mariucci had mutual interest as well. But from what I heard at the time it was Donahue, who stepped in and put up roadblocks in talks between Mariucci and UCLA. Donahue was then the GM for the Forty Niners and from what I heard at the time Niners didn't make it easy for Mariucci and UCLA to talk to each other regarding the head coaching position in Westwood.

Now Mariucci is not my first choice. I am not going to share who my first choice is. But I do believe Mariucci would be a great get for UCLA.

From my personal notes, Mariucci came to Cal from Mike Holmgren's Green Bay Packers team. He was responsible for harnessing Brett Favre's talents and making it work in the WCO Holmgren installed in Green Bay.

So Mariucci actually came from the better coordinator tree of Walsh. The Holmgren tree, not the Seifart tree.

And I am not as down on WCO as lot of people are in BN. The WCO has gotten an a bad rep because of incompetent tools like Duhrell and Callahan, and Willingham's uninspired coaching last few years, who have remained stubborn in trying to put the proverbial square peg in the round hole.

I do think a simpler version of WCO can work in college. And Mariucci's record at an awful Cal program was not bad. He took over a horrible Cal program that was a joke under Keith Gilbertson (who went 3-8) in his last season. He took over at Cal and the Bears came out of the game strong, I believe with a 6-2 record, but ran out of gas at the end of the season. I think he showed a lot of promise and it was enough for the Niners to come calling when it became time to replace uninspiring George Seifert.

When he was with the Niners, he did all right despite being hamstrung by Donahue's ridiculous personal decisions and Owen's tantrums. He turned Jeff Garcia into a decent QB. He didn't do too well in Detroit. Yes, I remember the playoff against Tampa Bay when he had Garcia take a knee before the half and I was infuriated at the time. But that one incident didn't lead me to go negative on Mariucci as the Niners coach. To me it came across as he was doing what he could given an aging roster and an idiot in charge as the general manager. He never let himself get down on the franchise. And ever since he left the franchise has been a total disaster under subsequent head coaches. Moreover, one would be foolish to take took much from Mariucci's record in Detroit, because of the awful situation he was in Motown working under an idiot like Mat Millen.

Any way you look at it Mariucci's pro record was much better than that of Peter Carroll who destroyed a super bowl caliber franchise in New England.

So I don't believe Mariucci is a retread coach.  Michigan State wanted him BADLY last season. Tom Izzo his former college buddy/room-mate recruited him heavily. But he held out because he wasn't ready to jump back in or waiting for the right opportunity.

I also believe Mariucci with his positive personality who always expressed enthusiasm, energy, and emotion which is part and parcel of the college game can be a recruiting machine at UCLA, and would be the perfect counter balance of Pom Pom's persona in South Central.

Moreover, a move to Mariucci who doesn't have the best relationship with Donahue would be a clear break from the cult of Terry Donahue, and would be a welcome turn towards a new direction in the history of UCLA football.

Again he is not my first choice. However, if he comes aboard, I will support him with the same level of enthusiasm and confidence, I had in Coach Ben Howland when he arrived in Westwood four+ years ago.