Thursday, January 13, 2011

As the Carousel Spins...Thursday Episode

     We start in Los Angeles today, where one of the most convoluted situations in the coaching ranks is taking place at UCLA tonight. Almost every media source on the planet has reported that Norm Chow has been released as OC. That being said, Rick Neuheisel announced tonight that Norm Chow is still on the staff, and reports of the hiring of Mike Johnson as his replacement is premature.
     All of that being said, I would make the following move. If Neuheisel cannot make a commitment to go one way or the other, fire the entire staff, Neuheisel included. Let's break it down. Neuheisel has been quoted as having said that it took so long to get rid of Chow because he was trying to collect the money to buy out his 2 year extension, which is the one and same deal that Neuheisel pitched to Dan Guerrero back in June. Neuheisel has to take the respoinsibility for pitching that deal in the first place. Chow was obviously all wrong for the Bruins from day one, and everyone knew it after season 2. There was an obvious rift between the two over the development (or lack thereof) of QB Kevin Prince, and Chow would not say anything positive about Richard Brehaut, who was favored by Neuheisel. Yet, Neuheisel allowed the tail to wag the dog, and Chow won out, with Prince starting and failing time after time before a series of ridiculous injuries put him down for the year, forcing Brehaut to start.
     Neuheisel also cannot make a decision on replacing his DC (Chuck Bullough was fired, and even that move took over two weeks after the final game was played to make) and he still has not named a WR Coach. Recruits are running away from the Bruins, and they did not sign one player during the Army All-Star game last weekend, even though that they were in the final three of several of the players present. As a matter of fact, the Bruins have only signed 8 players for the 2011 season, and only one of those players is at least a 4 star prospect. In other words, UCLA is settling for the kind of athletes that Oregon used to get back in the day, and Oregon is landing the studs that UCLA used to regularly haul in. If you are familiar with PAC-10 history, you'll get that.
     While you are at it, it may be time for AD Dan Guerrero to take a trip with Neuheisel on to greener pastures. The department as a whole has been a wreck as of late, with even top tier Volleyball and Soccer programs seemingly hitting the wall as of late. The basketball program is basically in shambles, and can no longer dominate long time LA doormat USC. Attendance at both football and basketball games is in the toilet, and the school needs revenue to refurbish Pauley Pavilion, which will run well into obscene amounts when all is said and done.
     Bringing back Neuheisel for the 2011 season is an exersize in futility, as the inevitible has been delayed. It is impossible to see how UCLA can avoid another disaster in 2011, and we will be looking at Neuheisel's ouster and wonder to ourselves why he just didn't exit a year sooner. Bruin fans will wonder what could have been done if the move had been made, wondering where the progress bar would have been after year one of a much needed change in regime. Instead, Bruin fan will sit through another underachieving, lackluster trainwreck of another stinking season, and that's whether or not Chow returns or not.
     In other news, Texas Coach Mack Brown is about to get his man, again. Jeff Grimes, OL Coach at Auburn, is likely to land as Brown's new OL Coach in the coming days. Brown is going after his targets with a zealous passion, and he is landing his targets after just about every shot. He has assmebled one hell of a staff for 2011.
     There is lots of activity around the Tulsa job tonight, as it is being widely speculated that the job is Garrick McGee's to lose. McGee has been the OC at Arkansas, and word around the press tonight is that the deal is being worked out as I type this post. Expect some kind of news tomorrow. Texas A&M DC Tim DeRuyter interviewed as well. There are some damaged feelings between Tulsa and former OC Chad Morris, as Morris feels like he was being led on as a candidate for the job. He wasn't, and bad blood ensues.
     A real shocker occurred in Storrs today, as Mark Whipple went from working out a contract to be the next HC at UConn to being on the street and scratching his head, as he stood and watched Paul Pasqualoni blow by him to steal the job at the 11th hour. Whipple was considered a lock for the job. Here is the issue with this hire. Pasqualoni was horrible in his final seasons at Syracuse. There was a general malaise in the program, and the Orangemen are just now pulling out of the funk of those years, two coaches later. He has served his time out as an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys, so only time will tell. My prediction is that this will be a short term hire, and will turn into a basic mistake, andit feels very small potatoes indeed. A nice FCS hire would have been more productive, and there were solid candidates in New England for this job.
     Stanford  stayed in house and named OC David Shaw HC to replace Jim Harbaugh. Stanford has been getting it right ever since taking a chance on Harbaugh. Shaw came to Stanford from San Diego where he worked with Harbaugh on the FCS level, and is well respected in the Stanford community. The players and boosters love him, and he has said all of the right things. Shaw seems to be a Stanford man that actually wants to be there long term, and there is great support of the school of thought that the Cardinal will not slip with Shaw as HC.
     Maryland made a solid move by hiring LSU OC Gary Crowten as their NEW OC under Randy Edsell. Crowten has not had a great offense at LSU the last couple of seasons, but this is a basic glitch, as Crowten has been a highly respected OC for years now. Maryland got a solid guy, and with the right recruiting, this can be a brilliant hire.
     Les Miles has a list of candidates to replace Crowten at LSU, and those candidates are TCU Co-OC Justin Fuente and Washington OC Doug Nussmeier. Miles ought to be able to have his pick of candidates.
There is plenty more news, but that will come tomorrow due to time restraints today. Stay tuned...

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