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Roundup from BN Walk: News & Notes

Let’s take a walk before the long 4th  of July weekend. We will start with football. To pass the summer boredom, Dennis Dodd from has been putting together (his own) rankings of the D-1 college football coaches around the country. No surprise to see Chow leading the list of top-OCs:

Chow will never say it but he makes a huge difference in Westwood on several levels. He is an athletic icon for the cultures he represents: His heritage is Chinese-Hawaiian. The man is totally relaxed working only 16 miles from the home he never sold when he went to the NFL. Olson's new coordinator also is Mormon. Both teacher and student have BYU ties.

Bruins loyalists already are looking forward to Chow's presence heating up the bitter USC-UCLA rivalry. The team he used to beat regularly now has him as a weapon in this annual Battle of Los Angeles. Think of Rick Pitino in a Tommy Bahama silk shirt.

"We're not trying to cure cancer here," Chow said trying to diffuse the situation, "It's fun."

Look for UCLA to be in on most of the nation's best quarterbacks too. The kid who might be the next Bruins quarterback already is on final approach from high school. Richard Brehaut, from nearby Rancho Cucamonga, committed in the spring and will be a key piece of the 2009 recruiting class.

"I've always wanted to be a Bruin, but coach Chow really was the deciding factor in my decision," Brehaut said. "I was thinking, 'Wow, how can I pass that up, me being a quarterback?' I can't wait to get out there and start learning from the best."

Well Chow might be a magician but it will take time even for a legend like him. Again what Dodd and others need to keep in mind when talking about Chow and his record at Southern Cal is that even with all the talent and a healthy Carson Palmer, the Trojans finished with a record of 6-6 during his first season in South Central.

Staying with football, some writer name Molly Yanity has written up a rather mediocre preview on UDub/UCLA’s November 15th matchup. Molly screws up Sheller’s name, declares Bell at Carter as RBs with "break away speed" without having any info. on how they have recovered from their knee surgeries, revises last year’s history by recalling the Bruins being "brilliant" in our 27-17 "handling" of BYU (even though our offense totally sputtered that entire game and had to be saved by defensive stops in the second half) and "whipping" Cal (completely forgetting how a late game ATV interception saved the day in that game). Oh and she starts the preview by calling Karl Dorrell "a good coach who couldn’t get his team inspired for a full season." If you still want to read her preview, you can go here.

Moving on to Ben Ball, Dick Weiss from the New York Daily News, is pleased about Coach Howland’s new deal:

UCLA did the right thing and rewarded Ben Howland with a seven-year extension. Howland is the closest thing this storied program has had to a great, longterm coach since the legendary John Wooden. Howland has coached the Bruins to three straight Final Fours and has his recruiting pipeline up and running in SoCal, signing enough blue-chip prospects to make another run at a Pac-10 title.

We think Howland has a brilliant mind for the game. We just hope he remembers to enjoy the moment and not be as uptight as he appeared last spring during the NCAA Regionals and Final Four.

Dick IMHO is a pretty solid analyst. But I think I will just have to disagree and conclude that Coach Howland has been having a great time since his arrival in Westwood.

Speaking of Howland, a little update on one of the best students he has ever had in Westwood:

UCLA coach Ben Howland said Lorenzo Mata-Real is in Las Vegas this week trying out for the Japanese Professional Basketball League. The event began Monday and will run through Thursday. One hundred fifty players will try out in front of every coach in the league, and approximately 24-40 jobs will be available.

LMR will of course will not be the first Bruin to spread UCLA love Japan. Remember J.R. Sakuragi (Henderson)? Anyone here know how to say DEFENSE in Japanese?

Good luck LMR!