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After Cheatey: Trojans Down To Fourth Choice, Eying Kiffin While UCLA Emerging As "Place To Be"

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Obviously the lead story today is Mike Garrett desperately going after Jack Del Rio from Jacksonville Jaguars (after pathetically striking out with Mike Riley, Jeff Fisher and (even (really?)) Steve Sarkasian (LOL)). The reports on whether he will stay in Jacksonville and be in position to collect at least $15 million or come to a nuked program facing NCAA sanctions are conflicting. However, I found the following tidbit from Wolf's report on Jack Del Rio very tasty (emphasis added throughout):

If hired, Del Rio would fit USC's choice of an NFL coach with a defensive background. His hiring, though, would also show that the search didn't cover many candidates.

Sources said Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin was under consideration Monday and former Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards was contacted to gauge his interest but wasn't a serious candidate.

Lane Kiffin at Heritage Hall will be a dream come true.

Now going back to Del Rio, Jon Gold breathlessly "broke" the news about Trojies not just going after Del Rio but putting together a package deal that would bring in former Notre Dame defensive Jon Tenuta. Well I didn't have interest in doing any thorough analysis on Tenuta but I took a cursory look at my two favorite Fighting Irish blogs. More on what I found and other notes after the jump.

Here is the Tenuta flavor from Rakes Of Mallow following ND's home loss against Pittsburgh (that sealed Charlie's fate in South Bend):

I still feel like Weis has gotten a bit of a raw deal in the luck standpoint, at least when it comes to defensive coordinator. He's made his own bed with the atrocious special teams over the years - don't even look at the punting numbers from last night, you'll want to punt something through a window yourself - but Jon Tenuta has been such a colossal failure it's hard to even fathom it. The defense might as well not be out there most plays, as they just sort of wait for a pass to fall incomplete or a running back to trip at the line, biding their time between allowing long touchdowns. The blitzes are laughably ineffective and the next time a defensive back not named Kyle McCarthy makes a play on the ball will be the first this season.

Ouch. Another analysis from Jay at Blue Gray Sky on Tenuta coached defense's performance following Irish's loss against Navy wasn't pretty:

Put this (loss to Navy) on Tenuta and Brown (and Weis) for not reacting quickly enough: our players were flailing to cover, alternately, the fullback and the pitchman, and by Navy's second drive we were already down 14.

Jay saw "serious issues with coaching on the defensive side of the ball." I am sure we can get lot more into Tenuta if he indeed ends up in University Of Fourth Choice (hey they are down to their 4th choice per Wolf's own report).

I know what some of you are thinking as Cheatey Petey himself was Mike Garrett's third or fourth choice when they desperately jumped into each others lap four years ago. However, I think the situation now for whoever comes in is going to be very different. This time a Trojan head coach will probably not have the kind of free reign, Cheatey enjoyed over the years when recruiting (at least according to the reports) was done without any respect to rules or regulations. Plus there is the real possibility of NCAA hammer looming in the horizon. No wonder you see coaches (with great job securities) not showing a lot of interest in this tainted position.

Meanwhile, across town Coach Rick Neuheisel is being methodical, deliberate and chipping away. Per the LA Times, CRN is being "cautious":

Asked how the situation had changed, Neuheisel said, "It remains to be seen. I felt like the landscape was changing anyway, in the reception UCLA was getting in homes. There are those still entrenched with the Trojans and those entrenched with the Bruins and a whole bunch in between."

But Neuheisel conceded that in recruiting, "You have to do a good job of explaining what the future looks like. It’s a little more difficult to predict the future on the other side of town."

Neuheisel said he already thought the Bruins had made some inroads in the fertile Los Angeles-area recruiting fields. A year ago, UCLA landed wide receiver Randall Carroll and tight end Morrell Presley, both of whom had previously committed to USC.

But the Bruins were already feeling better since the news that Carroll might leave broke late last week.

La Canada St. Francis High safety Dietrich Riley, who appeared to be leaning toward USC, popped in at UCLA over the weekend on an official visit. Xavier Grimble, a tight end from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman who has committed to USC, told the Las Vegas Sun he is now "listening" to other schools and has added the Bruins to his list. He is expected to take a recruiting visit to UCLA this weekend.

"There is a lot of confusion out there," Neuheisel said. "A lot of kids thought they had it all figured out and now the world changes. It will take a little while for it to settle down, but I don’t think it will be as drastic as everybody pretends it will be." He added, "There will be a new coach there and he will say a very convincing tale."

Well we expect Neuheisel to tell convincing tales to our guys considering the way he bleeds blue and gold. It sounds like lot of guys are buying into it. UCLA commit - Mater Dei blue chip OL Chris War - gave us a little peak though in terms of the vibe around recruiting circles about being in Westwood:

"I definitely think we're going to put UCLA back on the map, that's for sure," Ward said. "It's all kind of coming into place somehow, just like Coach Neu was telling us earlier. We were getting to know these guys even before the Pete Carroll thing came come up, and right when that happened everyione was like 'Oh, wow, this really is the place to be right now.'"

The place to be. We already knew that Chris. Now bring everyone home.