Happy Neu Year everyone.
I will post a round up of Coach Neuheisel's home run presser later this am. But I will start with some notes around his effort to put together a new staff. Chris Foster from the LA Times reports on whether or not the new staff will include DeWayne Walker:
"DeWayne and I have had a couple conversations and I think we're going to get along great," Neuheisel said. "I'm optimistic, but I understand DeWayne will have to do what is best for him."
As for the remainder of the staff, Neuheisel said they are "all very, very good guys. There are some anxious moments in terms of what the future holds."
Neuheisel said he has names in mind for assistants, but "it is important to have a chance to talk with them before making their names public." He has already stated his desire to talk with Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow.
"The idea was, UCLA deserves the best. If there is somebody out there to help us become the best, we want to take advantage of that," Neuheisel said. "Norm is in that category."
Neuheisel will get a little help in hiring assistant coaches. Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said that the pool of money allocated for assistants would be raised from $1.625 million to a little more than $1.8 million.
Rich Perelman over at What's Bruin had reported earlier yesterday that Walker wanted to stay. However, later in the day Tom Dienhart of Sporting News posted that UDub had already hired Walker.
Bob Condotta from the Seattle Times has his own read on the Walker `drama':
Willingham is said to have sweetened the offer to Walker, who last season was paid $330,000 and was the highest-paid assistant coach under Dorrell.
Receivers coach Eric Scott, who has been instrumental in the Bruins' renewed efforts recruiting inner-city high schools, reportedly also has been approached by another BCS school.
But more importantly, Coach Neu needs to make sure that his assistants are loyal to him from the get go. If Coach Neu allowed Walker to keep his entire staff how long would it be before Walker's assistants would stop listening to their head coach?? Its the big elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge is there (although we and BN have talked about it). Coach Neu needs to build loyalty around him. We think he needs to take some of Walker's assistants away for obvious performance issues but also for loyalty.
Having made these observations, we know Coach Neuheisel knows what he's doing and there is no doubt in our minds that coach will do the right thing for UCLA football, whatever that may be.
Moreover, I have no doubt right now Coach N is working the phones reaching out to coaches he has on his mind, who he wants in his staff at UCLA. I am not all that worried if losing someone like Walker means losing a recruit here and there. Given what we have already seen from our first RN press conference, I think there is no question in our collective minds who is the best recruiter, spokesperson, and the unquestioned leader with the right vision for UCLA football.