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Tag:Rick Neuheisel
Posted on: April 1, 2011 4:08 pm
 

Pac-12 injury list claims Bruin tackle, 'Cat RB

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Arizona and UCLA have a few things in common this spring, namely that both are coming off of disappointing seasons and are hoping for a big spring camp to propel them to greater things this fall.

Unfortunately, another thing both now also have in common are injuries to players expected to be key contributors in 2011. It's the same old story for the snake-bitten Bruins, who in 2010 saw multiple offensive lineman go down to injury and tackle Jeff Baca miss the season with an academic problem. Now Baca's season is in jeopardy again, but this time for a fractured ankle suffered during an 11-on-11 drill Thursday.

Baca has already undergone surgery, but according to the L.A. Times Bruin officials do not know if he'll be able to return in time for fall camp. It's a huge blow both individually for Baca -- who started 13 games in 2009 but likely needed as much practice time as he could get to knock off the rust of missing last season -- and for a Bruin line that's struggled to find healthy bodies for what seems like the entirety of Rick Neuheisel's Los Angeles tenure.

If there's any consolation for UCLA, it's that they're not the only members of the new Pac-12 South dealing with an injury problem. Following the departure of Nic Grigsby, Arizona power running back Greg Nwoko was expected to take a much larger share of the rushing load after carrying 57 times for 270 yards a year ago.

But that may not happen after Nwoko suffered a serious knee injury last weekend:
"He was just making a cut, trying to elude a tackler," said Arizona coach Mike Stoops. "Just a freak injury."

Stoops said the preliminary diagnosis is a torn ACL.

"We'll see how that progresses, but it looks like it will be a long-term deal with him," Stoops said. "This looks like a seven-month total injury for him. I would imagine we would get him back at some point during the season, but I would imagine it would be the latter end."

Nwoko has already used his redshirt season, removing that as an option. He's not the only personnel issue for the Wildcats, either, as two reserve linebackers have left the team, Stoops announced, giving the Wildcats only five scholarship players on the unit.

None of this means that either the Wildcats or Bruins can't bounce back this fall. But it's not the way either Stoops or Neuheisel would have wanted to start such a critical spring, either.


Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:29 am
 

Report: UCLA DT returning to North Carolina

Posted by Chip Patterson

Highly touted defensive tackle Brandon Willis has made more headlines than most of the Class of 2010, and he has yet to play a snap. Multiple media outlets, including the Los Angeles Daily News and InsideCarolina.com, are reporting that the Tar Heel transfer has been given his release from UCLA, and will be returning to North Carolina.

“My grandmother (is very ill),” Willis told Inside Carolina on Monday. “So everybody is trying to get as close as possible to be near her. “I wouldn’t go to any other school except for UNC, because I have a good relationship with Coach Butch Davis.”

Willis originally was a verbal commitment to Tennessee with plans to enroll in January 2010. But when Lane Kiffin bolted for Southern California, Davis and Co. convinced Willis his place would be at UNC. However, his father's unemployment situation forced a move to California - and prompted the hasty transfer to UCLA.

Now, with his grandmother in poor health, the entire family plans to relocate back to the Carolinas. When his father's employment forced the move to UCLA, Willis left North Carolina on good terms with Butch Davis. Now, that relationship will pay off in another talented body on the defensive line.

Willis is applying for an NCAA waiver to allow him to play right away, due to the circumstantial situation. Whether the waiver is granted or not, Willis plans to enroll back into UNC for the first summer session in May.
Posted on: February 10, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Report: Steve Brown could be new UCLA DC soon

Posted by Chip Patterson

After finishing the 2010 season ranked near the bottom of the conference in most defensive categories, UCLA fired defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough on December 18.  Nearly two months later, it seems like the search for his replacement may be finally nearing an end.  Multiple media outlets are reporting that Kentucky defensive coordinator Steve Brown will likely be the man for the job, and the announcement could come in the next few days.  The Los Angeles Times confirmed that Brown interviewed on Tuesday, and Scott Reid of the Orange County Register believes the Oregon alum could be introduced in the near future.

UCLA supposedly had their man lined up after head coach Rick Neuheisel interviewed Rocky Seto, Pete Carroll's defensive coordinator from Seattle and USC.  Neuheisel had already struck out with San Diego State's Rocky Long (promoted to head coach) and Stanford's Vic Fangio (now defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers).  Unfortunately after Seto's interview, the coach went public with the information thinking the job was his to lose.

It was, and he did.

UCLA was unhappy that Seto decided to break the news himself and the deal quickly disappeared.  Now, after all the twists and turns things are finally coming into place for the Bruins.  

The Bruins did make one hire on Wednesday, announcing Nevada's Jim Mastro as UCLA's new F-backs/running game coach.  Mastro will be counted on to improve the pistol attack run by the Bruins in 2010.        


Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Norm Chow taking a pay cut at Utah

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Have you ever been to both Utah and Los Angeles? Even if you haven't, you probably don't need to be told that there's a slight difference in the culture and speed of both places. There's also a difference in the cost of living, which would seem to be good news for new Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Chow recently left the same position at UCLA to return to Utah, and it seems he took a healthy pay cut to do so.
Even though he is still making more than the next highest paid assistant, Norm Chow still took a big cut in salary when he joined Utah's staff.
Chow will receive $275,000, annually, according to his contract which was finalized Wednesday. The contract runs from Jan. 25, 2011 to June 30, 2013.
Chow's salary is far from the $640,000 package he was earning at UCLA, but still way above Utah's next highest paid assistant, defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake who receives a base salary of $170,000.
That's a 58% pay cut that Chow has taken, though there are some bonuses worked in to his deal. He'd get a $20,000 bonus should Utah make a BCS game, and also gets a "company" car and tickets to home and road games. Though unless that company car is worth $400,000, or the prices of Utah tickets have skyrocketed, it's still a drastic change.

Of course, so is no longer having to work under Rick Neuheisel.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 4:59 pm
 

Neuheisel vacations as staff vacancies wait

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one -- well, not many people -- would blame a head football coach for taking a little personal time following Signing Day. After the long grind of fall camp bleeding into the season followed immediately by the sprint to the recruiting finish line, it's a rare human being who wouldn't have his batteries almost totally drained.

But that blameslessness assumes the coach wasn't leaving important unfinished business behind him when he went on vacation. And for an unstable-looking program coming off of a 4-8 disaster of a season, multiple vacancies on the coaching staff most definitely qualify as "unfinished business." But according to a candidate for one of those vacancies at UCLA, that hasn't stopped Rick Neuheisel from jetting off to warmer climes:
Nevada running backs coach Jim Mastro interviewed for and was offered a position on the UCLA football staff Friday, but said he won't make a decision on whether he's leaving the Wolf Pack for at least a week.

"Nothing's done. We're still in talks," Mastro said via cell phone Friday night. "The challenge of the move is appealing, but this isn't an easy decision" ...

Mastro said UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and is scheduled to return to the U.S. on Thursday. Mastro said he needed to discuss the terms of a potential contract with Neuheisel before making a decision.
Remember that "running game coordinator," the position for which Mastro is interviewing, isn't the only or even the most important open position on the Bruins staff; that would be defensive coordinator, the job for which Neuheisel had reportedly already hired former USC assistant Rocky Seto before Seto's premature Facebook announcement (and according to many , fan-related protests based on Seto's Trojan past) led to his dismissal.

And as Bruin fans already irritated by the Seto fiasco are bitterly pointing out , while Neuheisel enjoys the Cabo sunshine, other schools are in the process of potentially hiring one of the precious few brand-name coordinators still on the market.

If his team hadn't gone 2-7 in its conference, if the Bruins' recruiting class hadn't been the program's weakest in years, if he had all his staff's i's dotted and t's crossed, then no one would begrudge Neuheisel a little time off. But given the state of affairs in which he has left his team, it's hard not to imagine him playing a fiddle on that Mexico beach as his program burns a hole to the bottom of the Pac-12 .

Posted on: January 22, 2011 2:22 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 4:20 pm
 

UCLA hires Mike Johnson as offensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been rumored for a while, but UCLA made it official on Saturday afternoon, announcing that Mike Johnson has been hired to be the Bruins offensive coordinator.  Of course, the school hasn't officially fired Norm Chow yet, nor has Chow officially accepted a position at Utah as has been rumored as well. Still, the fact that the Bruins have a new offensive coordinator is a pretty good indication of where Chow won't be coaching next season.

In the official release, not only has Johnson been brought on to replace Chow, but Rick Neuheisel will be taking on the role of quarterbacks coach as well.

"During my assessment of our program, I felt it was necessary for me to be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the offense," Neuheisel said. "I decided that going forward, I will coach the quarterbacks and will be more hands-on in the area of play calling with a new coordinator.

"Mike is a great addition to our staff. He has a background with a multitude of offensive schemes, has coached several different positions and has experience in our conference as well as in the National Football League. Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and adds versatility to our offense and I can't wait to get in the film room and start planning for 2011 and the Pac-12.

"In addition, Mike is a dynamic and tireless recruiter who is familiar with the Pac-12 area and, in particular, southern California. He will be a great plus for our program in this important area."

Johnson spent the last few seasons with the San Francisco 49ers as a quarterbacks coach before taking on the position of offensive coordinator in 2010. He also spent two years working with Neuheisel on the Baltimore Ravens staff from 2006-07.

UCLA's offense was rather abysmal in 2010, as it finished 104th in the nation in scoring, averaging 20.2 points per game, and 116th in passing. The Bruins finished the season with a 4-8 record, including a 2-7 campaign within the Pac-10.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:01 pm
 

Norm Chow seems destined for Utah

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Although UCLA says that he's still currently its offensive coordinator, all indications are that Norm Chow doesn't have much time left working for the Bruins.  At least, you wouldn't think so considering the team is reportedly hammering out a deal with former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson.  Fear not for Norm Chow, however, for it seems that should he be replaced by Johnson in Los Angeles, he won't be out of a job for long.

While Rick Neuheisel is busy trying to replace Chow, Norm isn't just sitting around waiting for the axe to drop.  He's reportedly involved in talks with Utah about their offensive coordinator position.  It seems Kyle Whittingham wasn't exactly thrilled with the Utes' offensive performance down the stretch, and is looking to make a change.  Which is somewhat understandable considering Utah scored 68 points over its final five games, and 38 of those came in a win against San Diego State.

Chow has long been considered one of the best offensive coordinators in college football, though his time at UCLA has been pretty forgettable. He also has ties to Utah, where he played guard -- NORM CHOW WAS AN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN!? -- from 1965-67.  If he did return to his alma mater, it would make for some interesting matchups when the Utes move to the Pac-12 next season.

Once there he'd be facing two teams he used to work for in UCLA and USC, not to mention the fact that Chow also spent many years at Utah rival BYU, where he mentored guys like Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Ty Detmer.  
Posted on: December 18, 2010 6:07 pm
 

Neuheisel fires UCLA defensive coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

You can't accuse Rick Neuheisel of guaranteeing his staff a thing during UCLA's swan dive to 4-8. So it's no surpise that with the season over, heads have started rolling :

UCLA defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough and wide receiver coach Reggie Moore were fired Saturday morning, according to a source in the program who was not authorized to speak on the subject.

It is the first response to a disappointing 4-8 season, but likely not the last. Coach Rick Neuheisel could not be reached for comment.

That's the Los Angeles Times breaking the news, but Neuheisel would go on the record later to say that Bullough got the ax because the Bruins "were not consistent enough in stopping the run" and that he was "still working" on whether he'd make any other staff changes.

After the kind of campaign the Bruins just endured, it's hard to say anyone on the UCLA coaching roster -- maybe even Neuheisel himself -- would deserve to keep their job, and Bullough is no exception; with his unit ranked 95th in total defense and a miserable 109th in stopping the run ("not consistent enough" is kind), there's no question the defense could use a shakeup.

The only question is how much shaking Neuheisel is willing to do. The guess here is that there's a good deal more to come, since another disaster like 2010 will lead to the head coach's office getting the shakeup at this time next year.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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