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Football News & Notes

On the football front, the news is all about the new coaching staff. As many were expecting, CRN interviewed former Auburn and UCLA OC Al Borges (from Dohn):

UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel interviewed former Auburn and Bruins offensive coordinator Al Borges for UCLA's opening at the same position, according to sources.

Also, UCLA's move on USC linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., a former All-American linebacker for the Bruins, continues even though Bruins linebacker coach Chuck Bullough told Northwestern he wasn't interested in becoming its defensive coordinator, sources added.

Borges was UCLA's offensive coordinator from 1996 to 2000, a run that included a school-record 20-game winning streak and plenty of offensive firepower. During his watch, the Bruins scored at least 35 points in 27 of 58 games the Bruins.

He spent the past four seasons as Auburn's offensive coordinator, during which the Tigers' total offensive and scoring ranks dropped each year.
I am somewhat lukewarm about Borges to be honest. He had some success at UCLA. But all of it happened when no. 18 was our QB. So one can make the argument that UCLA’s offense was explosive during those years because of the individual talent and leadership of no. 18. Borges went on to Cal after UCLA to be part of Holmoe’s awful regime and, as Dohn reported in rest of his article, the Tigers’ offensive numbers went down every year Borges was there until he got fired this off season.

That said, I am willing to keep an open mind about this. Because I imagine Neuheisel himself is going to have a huge role in putting together this offense and I believe he hit a home run by bringing in OL coach Palcic. So we will see how this plays out.

Meanwhile, Norton continues to hover around Westwood’s radar. From Dohn:
Norton continues to show interest in joining UCLA's staff, sources said. Neuheisel is trying to entice Norton on several fronts, including making him assistant head coach, and also selling the notion he could be the Bruins' next defensive coordinator if DeWayne Walker was to leave for a head coaching position, sources added.

If Norton accepts the offer, he could aid Bullough in coaching the linebackers or help defensive-line coach Todd Howards, as well as perform his duties as assistant head coach, while Walker adds coaching the secondary to his defensive coordinator duties.
BTW yesterday some raised questions about bringing in Norton by giving him the title of "Assistant Head Coach." As BruinsRule explained so well:
It's a title without substance, and would only be used to pry Norton from USC with a "promotion." Norton would still report to DW on the defense. If I'm not mistaken, calling him AHC would make this a promotion for Ken instead of a lateral move, and that might prevent Pom Pom from not granting permission for Neuheisel to speak with Ken. In any event, that's a rule in the NFL (that is, you can't deny permission if it's a promotion with the other team). I understand that college is more lax, but Pom Pom would be viewed as justified in denying permission on a lateral move.

Recall that Rocky Long was DC but Bob Field was DB coach and AHC in 96 and 97 because Toledo and Field agreed that whoever didn't get the HC job would have the figurehead title. This is not a slap in DW's face but a relatively meaningless way of getting a good assistant to join the staff.
Makes sense to me. Anyway, while the Norton story is being played out, returning defensive coaches are getting raises:
Sources said UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker's new deal calls for him to make $375,000 annually, a raise of $45,000 from last season. It's a two-year deal.
Meanwhile, linebackers coach Chuck Bullough and defensive line coach Todd Howard are both set to make in the neighborhood of $200,000 annually, according to sources.
And Coach Neuheisel still hasn’t decided whether Scott will be a part of football program next year. CRN is supposed to meet Scott later this week.

I am assuming we will find out a lot more on these developments by the COB tomorrow.