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More Names & The "Campaign" For Walker …

While it seems like we can move on from Petersen, few more names emerged in the search process. From Dohn in the Daily News:

UCLA continued its quest to hire a search firm to assist with background investigations and gauge the interest level of coaching candidates, while a few more potential candidates surfaced and defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker was named the interim head coach for the Dec. 22 Las Vegas Bowl against BYU.

Former Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr., Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe and Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly are also on UCLA's radar in the search for Karl Dorrell's successor, sources said. Dorrell was fired Monday, after five seasons at his alma mater.

However, before UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero and his committee begin interviewing candidates, the school must decide on a consulting firm to assist in the process. Interviews are not expected to begin at least for a few more days, sources said.

Also, still under consideration are former San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci, former UCLA quarterback and Washington and Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and former USC assistant and current Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow.
Mora Jr., Kelly or Grobe, I will take any of those candidates over DeWayne Walker (I will have little more on him below and then later Bruin Blue will have more followup). Anyway, Kuwada in the OC Register floats three more names, neither of whom are acceptable:
Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen is said to have some interest. How about Montana coach Bobby Hauck, who was a graduate assistant at UCLA in 1990 and '91? Former Bruins' offensive coordinator Tom Cable, now the line coach for the Oakland Raiders, also could be a candidate.
I don’t care much for Mullen. I don’t care much for some guy who is Urban Meyer’s "OC." Remember Dorrell was Neuheisel’s OC and then there was Norvell who was Callahan’s "OC." These positions under HCs who are in charge of their offense are meaningless. Plus Mullen has no HCing experience. So he is a non starter. Cable couldn’t win at Idaho State and he was Dorrell’s "OC." So that is out of the question. And Hauck comes with baggage given all the problems his program has had in Montana. So none of them will work.

Speaking of an experiment that will not be acceptable as a long term solution, DeWayne Walker is now the "interim head coach," for the Las Vegas Bowl against an under matched BYU team (talent wise). Walker is now openly campaigning for the head coaching position and he is being pimped by the likes of Dohn who are reporting that there is a movement on behalf of Walker:
UCLA is looking for an offensive-minded coach, which would facilitate Walker remaining at the school. And there continues to be a strong swell of support to promote Walker, a dynamic recruiter who also is earning praise as being a top-notch coordinator.

There also is the notion Walker can use the bowl game as a coaching audition, if the hiring process drags out.
Let me see the strong swell of support Dohn is reporting are the morons in the message boards who have been supporting Dorrell all these years and probably the same losers inside the Morgan Center, who probably prefer a risk-averse approach of playing it sage. It’s kind of settling for less mentality that has rotten the core of UCLA football program over the years.

And the whole idea of retaining Walker so that we can preserve the recruiting class is laughable because it advances the absurd notion that somehow it is difficult to put together top-10 recruiting classes at UCLA and that it will be difficult for UCLA to put together top-10 classes under a good coach. It is precisely this kind of short sighted mentality that saddled us with Toledo and then resulted in Dorrell (who was hired in a hurried manner so that Bruins could have strong recruiting month in January of 2003, which it never really had). It is a joke and it is just absurd on Dohn’s part to "report" that there is some kind of "strong swell of support" for a coach without providing any tangible data.

As for Walker he is openly campaigning for the job. More from Dohn:
"I would be lying to you if I said otherwise, but my main concern is to try and stay on top of this recruiting, and collectively, just getting this team ready to win a game," Walker said. "It's all about the recruiting and getting ready for this ballgame. That's enough for me to worry about right now."

Walker, who will meet with the team for the first time today, is expected to interview for the job. If Walker does not get the job, UCLA wants to hire someone with an offensive background to maximize the opportunity to retain Walker, and preserve much of UCLA's highly regarded recruiting class, sources said.
That was in the Daily News and there was more from him in the LA Times:
Calming the 23 high school seniors who have given UCLA commitments is a top priority. Walker's son, Kevan, a wide receiver from Arcadia High, is part of that group.

"I am a parent too in this deal, and sure there are concerns," Walker said. "The kids who committed to us don't have a head coach right now. But they are good kids from good families and they have been patient with us. They're going to hang with us through this process."
Uh whatever. Call me skeptical about the kind of bill of goods Walker will be selling to recruits in the next few weeks. I am not all confident that he will be respectful of the conflict of interest that exists in his outreach efforts between his status as an interim head coach of UCLA (who should be cognizant of the best interest of the program) v. his status as an openly declared candidate of the head coaching position of the program. How would we know that he is not going to put his own self interest above that of UCLAs? Moreover, I am not that trustful of an individual who decided to take over the program as an "interim coach" after his own boss (the only guy who ever thought he was qualified to be a D-1 assistant) got fired from it. So I have no confidence in this guy as having the best interest of UCLA in mind.

Also UCLA should beat BYU. It has lot more talent than BYU. People would be foolish to judge a victory over BYU as some kind of major accomplishment on the part of DeWayne Walker that merits him a permanent head coaching position at UCLA, which has suffered through decades of underachievement due to short sighted and botched hiring of unproven assistants with zero head coaching experience. As mentioned Bruin Blue will have more on it later.