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Okay, so Debbie Mallett poured a little cold water on all of our Mallett-to-UCLA speculation from yesterday. And, from what I am hearing, Mallet is nowhere close to deciding on where exactly he will be transferring yet. There are other schools beside UCLA in picture. And the resolution to this particular drama may hinge on where Scottie L ends up as an assistant coach. So we will have to stay tuned.

But that, of course, will not dampen the overwhelming positive vibes the arrival of Coach Neuheisel has generated in Westwood. Bob Keisser at the Long Beach Press Telegram serves up a delicious column yesterday explaining why Coach RN is the right the guy for Westwood:

He was the one guy out there who clearly wanted the job, the one guy who understands the job, and the one guy who can give the fans a sense of optimism on little more than faith. "This is home," he said.

Neuheisel didn't back down from any challenge. He knows the balance of power in town has tilted as steeply toward Exposition Park as any time since perhaps when Howard Jones was coaching USC. But having played and coached against USC 15 times (five years as a player, eight as a UCLA assistant, two as Washington's head coach; 8-6-1 record), he expects to compete right now.

"I know nothing happens overnight," he said, "but you fix what you can fix and prepare to compete right away. It's what is expected here. I look at UCLA and I want to reconnect to the city, because UCLA is the city's university. I want to take back the city the way Terry Donahue did in the early '80s."

The pure adrenaline could carry the Bruins of 2008 farther than anticipated.
Well, we are going to get to realistic expectations for next season later in the year after we are done with spring ball. As Coach Neuheisel said, the rebuilding will not happen overnight. It will require a lot of patience on our part as he works on rebuilding this program. However, that said, he is already off to an incredible start in terms of injecting life into what has been a list less program.

Speaking of rebuilding, Kesser threw out some interesting notes on coaching hires:
It won't be a surprise if Neuheisel makes a run at former UCLA assistant Eric Bienemy, too, who left after the 2005 season for the NFL and has a connection to Neuheisel through his Colorado years. He could even take a page out of the Norton-to-USC handbook - two of his former colleagues with the Ravens, now out of a job with Brian Billick fired, are former Trojans Mark Carrier, the Poly standout, and Dennis Thurman.
Hmm. I am not sure Bienemy is realistic. If I am remembering correctly, I thought one of the reason Bienemy left UCLA was because of a health condition affecting one of his children. And he moved to Minnesota because his family would have better access to treatment for that particular condition at facilities in the Twin cities. But, I may not be remembering this correctly, and have not found the link to back it up. So, if I am off on this, let me know. And if I am off, and it is realistic to get Bienemy back in Westwood, that’d be fantastic.

Also it would be hilarious to have Carrier on the staff.

One guy some folks are still dreaming about having on the staff is Norm Chow. Dana over at DumpDorrel.com makes a passionate argument for UCLA helping RN to reel in Chow by showing him the money:
Its time to put a stop to this at UCLA with a chance to hire Chow, with a chance at greatness. There were a lot of doubts about Chow as a head coach, most of them unfair in my opinion, but there can be no doubts that he is one of the greatest OCs in college history and would be a great boon to the UCLA football program.

With no NFL team in the LA region, this region is hungry for a successful football team to support. The increased turnout from excited fans would easily cover the money UCLA needs to start investing in this program. In 2000, before Carroll and Chow arrived at USC, UCLA averaged about 10,000 more fans each game than SC. But, last season, SC practically sold out its games at the Coliseum, which basically has the same capacity as the Rose Bowl, and averaged about 27,000 fans more than UCLA at each home game.

Don't be fooled by the increased turnout for this season's games which were driven by the multiple game package that people bought if they wanted to see the ND game as well as the high pre-season expectations. Instead, the average attendance over the past five seasons with Dorrell is basically around 64,000 fans, well short of the Rose Bowl Capacity of 91,136. If Chow is able to bring the same excitement and success to UCLA as he did to USC, the increase in turnout would easily cover his salary. UCLA stands to make an additional* 7.5 million dollars** in revenue each season with increased attendance.

A strong football program not only pays for itself, but it generates the revenue to support all the other athletic programs***. UCLA can no longer afford to be satisfied with mediocrity.
We will reserve the right to disagree on whether Chow would have been the right HC for UCLA. However, we cannot agree more on needing to pay up if there is legit interest on Chow’s part in returning to Southern California as the OC for Coach Neuheisel’s Bruins. If that’s indeed the case, and RN can make it happen and it’s a matter of $$, the Morgan Center should pay up.

That said, we are going to sit back and enjoy watching Coach Neuheisel put together this staff and wage battle on the recruiting front in the coming weeks. It has already been a lot of fun. And no doubt there is so much more to come.

GO BRUINS.