It's been a quiet week-and-a-half since Neuheisel pulled the trigger and gave Chucky "Prevent" Bullough and Reggie "Development?! Huh?!" Moore their walking papers. A lot of names have been thrown out and discussed for both positions, from Miami's former HC Randy Shannon to Stanford's Vic Fangio to Texas' Bobby Kennedy. Let's reset the discussion and break down what has developed in the last ten days and what it means in terms of Neuheisel's search for a new defensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.
Stanford defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is believed to be Neuheisel’s first choice to replace Chuck Bullough, who was fired by Neuheisel Dec. 18. Fangio worked with Neuheisel with the Baltimore Ravens and has had a strained relationship with Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh.
Neuheisel said he has not asked Stanford for permission to speak with Fangio.
We will see how that all plays out. One thing we can tell you is that don't buy the coachspeak these guys feed to tradmed. Meanwhile, Randy Shannon is currently in Los Angeles as we speak. While there is rampant speculation on various UCLA fan boards that Shannon is here to interview for the vacant defensive coordinator position in Westwood, it appears the former Miami coach was more focused with Wisconsin's practice for the upcoming Rose Bowl game. As Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:
Also, it is no secret that UW coach Bret Bielema will need to hire a defensive assistant after the bowl game because of the departure of defensive coordinator Dave Doeren.
Bielema is expected to promote secondary coach Chris Ash or defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, though he could name them co-coordinators.
A visitor at practice Monday was former Miami head coach Randy Shannon.
Shannon's coaching experience has been on defense. He has coached the line and linebackers and served as Miami's defensive coordinator from 2001-'06 before taking over the program before the '07 season.
If Bielema stays in-house for his defensive coordinator, then Shannon's presence in the Southland could mean one of two things: either Lane Violation is putting his old man out to pasture or UCLA is actually in the running for Shannon's services. Despite the speculation, Shannon has been decidedly quiet on his future. As reported by WWL's Ryan McGee (portion not behind subscription firewall):
The four-year head coach has kept a decidedly low profile in the past four weeks, even as his name surfaced as a potential candidate for the defensive coordinator position at Texas.
Shannon's silence hasn't surprised the people who know him best. Or, for that matter, even some people who barely know him at all. As a player, the Hurricanes and Dallas Cowboys linebacker was respected as a fearless ball hawk. As a defensive coordinator, he was viewed as an aggressive innovator, winning the 2001 Frank Broyles Award for the nation's top assistant coach.
Shannon would be a big get for the Bruins, given his prior track record as Miami's defensive coordinator under Larry Coker during the first part of the decade.
More on the coaching developments after the jump.
Moving from the defensive coordinator spot to our vacant wide receivers coach position, Texas' Bobby Kennedy is definitely out of the mix. As reported by Ted Miller, Jon Embree has pulled the trigger and brought Kennedy to Boulder, in what Miller has called an "inspired" hire:
This seems like an inspired hire by new head coach Jon Embree for a variety of reasons.
First, Kennedy is a Boulder native who went to Northern Colorado, so he knows the state and the university. Second, he's been Texas' assistant recruiting coordinator since 2005. He'll bring extensive knowledge of recruiting that talent-rich state. Third, he knows the Pac-10. He coached two years at Washington and one at Arizona, so he knows Pac-10 recruiting -- read: California -- too.
Inspired, huh? Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, here:
If Rick is on top of it, he'll reach out to his old receivers coach and try to reel in a big hire who could take the talent on the roster (which we have a lot of at wide receiver and tight end) and develop it into the kind of elite receiving corps we thought we'd have before this season started.
Well, it would have been a solid pick-up. But moving on, a new name has popped up in the mix: San Jose State's WR coach Brent Brennan. Brennan is kind of an unknown and would be another hire from within the "UCLA football family" having played for the Bruins during the mid-90s (from his official SJSU bio):
As a college player, Brennan was a wide receiver for the 1991 through 1995 UCLA teams and lettered on the Bruins’ 1993 Rose Bowl squad. He graduated from UCLA in 1996.
He's a bit thin on experience in Division I, having only worked at SJSU since 2005, but he did spend some time at Cal Poly and he is familiar with Neuheisel, serving as a graduate assistant for Rick at Washington. While I was pro-Kennedy, I'm decidedly neutral on Brennan. I'm not wild on bringing in "project" coaches, but if he can coach, teach, and develop talent (something Moore could never manage to do), Brennan's lack of recruiting chops won't matter. He's a wait-and-see kind of candidate.
Another guy to keep an eye on is Scott Baumgartner, who is the current WR coach for Nevada Wolfpacks. He knows a little something about deploying and executing Chris Ault's pistol scheme and doing it rather well. We hear he is also a terrific recruiter as well. He could also serve as a potential OC for CRN. Something to think about and keep an eye on as the Chow situation remains fluid in Westwood.
Finally, shifting back to the major hire of this off-season, another interesting name that has come up for Bullough's old job is another Chuck, Florida's Chuck Heater. Folks that have followed Neuheisel's career will recognize the name, as Heater coached under Neuheisel at Colorado and followed Rick to Seattle and actually coached both sides of the ball.
After Washington axed Neuheisel, Heater went to work for Urban Meyer at Utah, following Urban to Florida. We all know how those teams have fared. Also, unlike Dwayne "Pay Me More" Walker, who was always looking for his next bigger paycheck and had no problem using other programs for his own selfish gains, Heater is a loyal coach who will stick it out in Westwood (as reported by the Orlando Sentinel):
Secondary coach/co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater had chances to bolt after the season. He could have been Marshall’s defensive coordinator or applied for Michigan’s vacant coordinator spot.
So Florida worked out a package to enhance Heater’s responsibilities while still igniting the defensive staff with a new voice — former Miami Dolphins linebackers coach George Edwards as defensive coordinator.
In the end, Heater said his relationship with Meyer kept him in Gainesville. At age 57, Heater also isn’t looking for the next best job.
Yes, Heater hasn't been a sole defensive coordinator for the majority of his career, but with Meyer out in Gainesville, he'll also be on the move, and as the Wall Street Journal has noted, he's one of the most coveted defensive coordinators in college football right now. The criteria wasn't who is the most well-known, who gets paid the most, or who has the best NFL reputation. Nope. WSJ followed the numbers from Winthrop Intelligence, a North Carolina firm that advises athletic directors:
According to Winthrop Intelligence, a North Carolina-based firm that provides athletic directors with decision-making resources, TCU's defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas and Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, packed the biggest wallop for their schools in 2010. Winthrop's formula evaluates each coordinator based on the percentage of yards and points their units scored or allowed compared to the other teams their opponents played.
Heater finished in the top 5, behind only TCU's Dick Bumpas, Boise State's Pete Kwiatkowski (who isn't leaving Boise anytime soon, so don't get wild ideas folks), the Tide's Kirby Smart, and Iowa's Norm Parker. With the past history between Neuheisel and Heater, don't be shocked if there's a new Chuck in town, although one we hope knows how to actually stop someone.
Consider this your coaching search reset open thread and fire away with your takes, thoughts, reactions.