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Spaulding Roundup: A Deliberate DC Search/Huge Recruiting Weekend

Let’s start our roundup with a quick update on CRN’s search for a new DC. Not a lot of information coming out at this point (which I think is good news because I always appreciate a hiring process without leaks). However, not surprisingly beat reporters such as Dohn are anointing Bullough as an “early front-runner”:

UCLA linebackers coach Chuck Bullough is the early front-runner to become the Bruins defensive coordinator, but more names could surface in the process, sources said Monday.

Bullough spent the last three seasons at UCLA under former defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, who accepted the head coaching job at New Mexico State last week.

Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel said he doesn't "have a timetable" on hiring a defensive coordinator, and added he would not comment about specific candidates.

"I think there are a number of candidates out there that are very qualified, including guys on our staff," Neuheisel said. "I want to be thorough and make sure I'm not jumping quickly, so I don't have a timetable. I think we're fine in recruiting. It doesn't mean it won't happen quickly. I just don't need it to happen fast."

Also, Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel will speak with Montana coach Bobby Hauck, sources said. Hauck coached with Neuheisel at UCLA, Colorado and Washington, and interviewed with Neuheisel last offseason before deciding to remain with the Grizzlies.

None of this should be a surprise to anyone here on BN. Dohn is probably anointing Bullough as a "frontrunner" because well ... Bullough is easily accessible in Dohn's beat. Hauck news was predictable. We have been pointing to his name for a while. From all accounts either Bullough or Hauck would be solid choices as DC IMHO. So we are off to a pretty good start.  I like the fact that CRN is taking his time and not feeling any pressure to make a quick hire without considering all available options for the program. From reading the tea leaves it seems like CRN has a deliberate and calculated process in place.  Also, per Dohn’s report he is not feeling any pressure to hire a DC immediately because things are looking solid on the recruiting front:

There is no push to get it done before the recruiting weekend coming up. Most of the players coming in are already committed, and I was told UCLA coaches already called all the recruits to make sure they were still on board despite DeWayne Walker's departure.
I was also told no recruits were wavering at this time.

So much for any concern that Walker’s departure would have a negative impact on UCLA’s reruiting.

Speaking of which as Dohn mentioned above a huge recruiting weekend in coming up at UCLA. Mark Saxon from the OC Register has a list of 17 recruits who are coming into Westwood for their “official visits” this weekend:

  • OL Nik Abele Irvine
  • LB Isaiah Bowens La Puente
  • QB Richard Brehaut Rancho Cucamonga
  • OL Greg Capella Visalia
  • WR Randall Carroll Los Angeles
  • WR De’Von Flournoy Van Nuys
  • LB Todd Golper Arcadia
  • LB Taniela Maka Long Beach
  • WR Ricky Marvray Corona
  • WR Alex Mascarenas Mission Viejo
  • DB Marlon Pollard San Bernardino
  • DB Sheldon Price La Puente
  • TE Billy Sanders Idaho
  • DB Brandon Sermons Pomona
  • DT Branden Warner Compton
  • WR Markus Wheaton Arizona
  • OL Eddie Williams Walnut

Note that neither Carroll no Flournoy are listed as “commits” to Southern Cal any more on  Sanders is committed to Miami. Pollard is currently committed to Notre Dame (he was originally committed to UCLA before decommitting during summer). IIRC Maka is an Arizona commit. All other kids are solid commits to UCLA. Not a bad list at all for a program which is in the middle of tough but expected rebuilding process.

Lastly, since we were on the topic of recruiting, we will end with the following amusing note from Scott Wolf’s Southern Cal blog on Daily News where Scottie theorized that Petey orchestrated Kenny’s recent outburst v. CRN:

Q: What do you make of the recent back-and-forth between Neuheisal and Ken Norton Jr? I'd heard that Neuheisal had been saying he had Norton lined up for a while now, so one would think this is Norton's way of putting an end to that, but it also closes the UCLA coaching window for him, at least as long as Neuheisal is there.

A: The superficial answer is Ken Norton got tired of hearing rumors about UCLA and wanted to put an end to it. But if that is the case, why did Norton refuse to answer several times this week whether he would talk to UCLA if they talked about the defensive coordinator's position. Even after the Rose Bowl, he refused. Now if I was so angry to complain about things Rick Neuheisel said, I would think you would have no problem saying you're not interested in working at UCLA.
However, here is my own theory on the situation. It was Pete Carroll, not Ken Norton, who was upset about any alleged comments made to recruits. Specifically, the decommitment of Morrell Presley. So a plan was orchestrated to go to the media to get out a message that Norton was upset about these alleged comments. I doubt Norton was behind it because he really hates dealing with the media.
Even if Neuheisel said it, it's no different than if other Pac-10 schools say Pete Carroll is going to the NFL. And I know schools are talking about the shooting of track star Bryshon Nellum. So why isn't USC complaining about these too? Maybe because they don't think it affected Presley?

In other words Scott basically agrees what we have suspected all along: Kenny is nothing but Petey’s poodle.