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Coaching Carousel Roundup & Notes

Let’s delve into the favorite college football parlor game of the off-season: the coaching carousel. I am sure many are keeping an eye on Walker/SDSU storyline next few days. Walker is gunning for the position pretty hard and is at least for now is one of the two (publicly identified) finalists for the job. From the San Diego Tribune:

UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker and former Texas A&M and Alabama coach Dennis Franchione remain in the mix for the head coach's job at San Diego State, according to sources close to the situation. At least one other serious candidate also may be involved, sources said.

Each is expected to engage in another round of interviews this week, possibly leading to a hiring decision this week or next.

And according to the LAT, Walker’s name “has come up” at LSU as they are in the market for a DC:

Walker's name also has come up in connection with coordinator openings at Louisiana State -- he worked with LSU Coach Les Miles at Oklahoma State -- and in the NFL.

I have no clue whether or not Walker will get offered the HCing gig at SDSU or if he gets offered whether he would ultimately accept the position. I think the better bet for him would be to build up the program at UCLA then coach at a place like SDSU, which doesn’t have a strong record from its alums, students, and fans in providing a strong base of support or a commitment to building a strong football program. The LSU possibility is intriguing and it involves a program obviously with more cache at this point of time in the world of college football. However, it will also come with enormous pressure and expectations where folks will be expecting immediate results considering the talent stockpiled in that program. Plus there is the weather issue for someone who might have gotten accustomed to working in Westwood, what is essentially a little paradise encircled by Malibu, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and West LA.

Anyway, I am not really all that worried because I have a feeling Coach Neuheisel has contingency plans all lined up (folks with legal training skills are conditioned to think and prepare for adverse scenarios all the time). I think the popular pick on BN and perhaps other Bruin communities could be someone like Rocky Long. However, the more that I think of it there are certain downsides in bringing in someone like Long. If you remember, one of the issues with Long’s defense was it was unconventional and it took some time for players to get used to it. UCLA’s defense was not all that great in Long’s first season as a DC (96-97) as player were getting used to a whole different 4-2-5 scheme. For a program that is in rebuilding stage it could be a tough call to bring in Long and start at scratch with a DC like Long.

So I will throw out couple of names to put everyone’s radar. Keep an eye on Tim Hauck, our current DB coach. Here is Hauck’s bio from the official site:

During Hauck's four years at his alma mater, Montana compiled a record of 43-10, making the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs all four years, including the title game in 2004.

In 2007, Hauck coached the Montana secondary. The Grizzlies ranked 10th nationally in pass efficiency defense and allowed just eight touchdowns while making 17 interceptions en route to a record of 11-1. Strong safety Colt Anderson was named first-team All-Big Sky Conference. In Hauck's three previous seasons on staff (2004-2006), he worked exclusively with the safeties. In 2006, Anderson and free safety Torrey Thomas were named to the Big Sky Conference's first team. In 2005, brothers and safeties Torrey and Tyler Thomas were honorable mention selections.

Hauck, 41, played safety in the National Football League for 13 seasons, retiring in 2002. He originally signed with the New England Patriots as a free agent in 1990 and played for Green Bay, Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and San Francisco. A safety for the Grizzlies, Hauck earned first-team All-America honors in both 1988 and 1989. He was voted the Big Sky Conference's defensive MVP as a junior and a senior and he also was voted the recipient of Montana's Steve Carlson Award (MVP) those two seasons. He is the only player in school history to receive the Golden Helmet Award ("Hardest Hitter") three times, winning it in 1987, 1988, and 1989.

While Price, Harwell, and Carter were the heart and soul of our front-7, there was tangible improvement in the play of our back-4 through the season. There was no doubt in mind kids like Norris and Locket were playing much better towards the end of the season, compared to how they were getting crushed and manhandled in their new positions earlier in the year. Especially, in case of Lockett, I think if Dorrell had redshirted him, he would be in position to have a solid season if he were to come back for his fifth year. So, to me it seems like Hauck did a pretty solid job as an assistant coach in our defense and could be an intriguing candidate for the purposes of continuity in our defense.

Another guy to keep an eye on is Tim Hundley, who just finished his first season at SMU as the Assistant Head Coach/Defense after coming over from Mike Price’s UTEP program. Hundley was CRN’s DC in UDub and has some serious connections (as a former assistant in Donahue’s program from 90-95) to Westwood (emphasis added):

Players earned national attention under Hundley as well. Thomas Howard was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft, the earliest a Miner player had been chosen in 37 years. In 2006, defensive end Alex Obomese and defensive tackle Zach West signed NFL free agent contracts with Dallas and New England, respectively.

Hundley served as the defensive coordinator at Washington from 1999-02, and as co-defensive coordinator for the Huskies in 2003. He tutored the outside linebackers from 1999-02 before overseeing the entire linebacking corps in 2003. He also supervised the punt coverage unit during his final season with the Huskies.

He has coached in 10 bowl games, including two Rose Bowls, and groomed 14 players who moved on to the National Football League, including current pros Marquis Cooper (Seattle), Howard, Michael Lewis (49ers), Ryan Neufeld (Buffalo Bills), Obomese and West. In addition, Hundley recruited six players who garnered All-America honors at the collegiate level - David Kilson (Nevada), Andre Gurode (Colorado), Micheal Lewis (Colorado), Cade McNown (UCLA), Sam Merriman (Idaho) and Jamir Miller (UCLA).

The guy who brought Cade to Westwood, will always be all right in my book. Obviously, if Walker were to leave another figure who is going to become prominent is Ken Norton. Again I am strictly speculating here … I could see CRN putting together a combination of Hundley/Norton or Hauck/Norton as Co-DCs that could potentially be a powerful combination or institutional organization and recruiting firepower for our football program. Anyway, all this might be for not, if Walker makes the decision to stay in Westwood, which would also be a great scenario for UCLA football. So you can see, either way I see this coaching carousel a potential win-win situation for our program.

Elsewhere bruinbabe’s favorite Bruin QB – Aikman (still have a hard time writing his first name) – was officially inducted into College HOF yesterday in NYC. UCLA was out in full force to represent as DG, CRN, Donahue and several other UCLA officials showed up at the ceremony to show their support for our All American and NFL legend.

And speaking of legend, let’s end this post with the following note from Coach on our football season:

``They were sort of up and down,'' Wooden said on a conference call today. ``I can't recall, in all my years out here, not only UCLA but any team having as many major injuries as they had. The offensive line was decimated. We lost a number of our best defensive player and the two quarterbacks. Those are things that can't be predicted and without those, it might have been entirely different. Those things happen.''

Coach should be blogging on Bruins Nation!