The coach I referred to that UCLA was talking to was Washington's Steve Sarkisian, as it was revealed in a Los Angeles Times story.
LATE THURSDAY NIGHT:
Disclaimer: I know many fans are getting to the point that you don't want to know every last small development and twist and turn in all of this. If that's the case, don't read the rest of this entry.
As I said earlier, a coach search really isn't a spectator sport. I know UCLA would agree.
I don't have much to update, but I can tell you that I'm now pretty certain UCLA has been talking with a candidate besides Jim L. Mora. At least one person from the UCLA Athletic Department -- not Dan Guerrero -- has been on the road and dealing with another candidate. This isn't to say there has been direct contact. I've heard that, in fact, there are some at UCLA that are pretty happy about the developments. Now, another disclaimer: These are some of the people who were pretty ecstatic over how the Chris Petersen situation was developing, too.
I haven't heard that the possibility of Mora is over, just that there is this other development happening.
I have my suspicions of who the coach is, but I don't have enough direct information about it to feel comfortable enough to reveal the name. I hope you understand. It's like this is Law and Order: UCLA, I only have circumstantial evidence at this point, and not enough for it to hold up in court. One of the reasons I feel it could be this certain coach is because I know he's a guy that some of the influential forces involved in this coaching search endorse.
UCLA is doing a very good job of keeping a tight lid on the information leaks now compared to last week, so I'm getting only very few bits and pieces. But this is what I've learned since the last update earlier today.
For the last couple of days there has been plenty of information that was indicating UCLA could be making an announcement soon over hiring a new head coach.
It's now quite a bit more uncertain.
Good sources are indicating that the talks between UCLA and Jim L. Mora are not nearly that far down the line, that there have only been preliminary discussions.
There is also a bit of a power struggle. According to sources, there are strong influences on the program that aren't backing Mora.
So, if there is an announcement of a hiring, it might very well not be Mora.
There are other names being bandied around, but nothing that I feel is legitimate enough to report.
THURSDAY MORNING: I consistently hear that something is going to be announced soon, certainly sometime between today and the end of the weekend.
Information has dried up, as I've said, so I have to admit, much of what I have for you today is speculation.
Sources have only talked about Jim L. Mora, so I have to suspect that any impending announcement would be about him.
I haven't heard about a package deal with ex-Ohio Stae coach Jim Tressel. One source indicated that the implications with Tressel and the NCAA were being investigated by UCLA, and it was thought he would probably be sanctioned with a 2- or 3-year ban from coaching. I'm uncertain if that ban would encompass being an assistant coach.
But again, I have not heard about a package deal with Mora and Tressel, as has been the rumor.
There are those close to the situation trying to publicize that Steve Sarkisian isn't a candidate.
UCLA has not contacted SMU's Jone Jones.
***Wednesday Morning: an interesting rumor about an ex-head coach being on UCLA's campus***
|Jim L. Mora|
NFL Network Analyst
Former head coach with Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. Led Atlanta to NFC Championship Game in 2004. Has rep as tough-minded coach and good defensive mind (former defensive coordinator). He's a west coast guy, and actually was a UCLA ball boy when his father, Jim E. Mora, was a coach at UCLA for a season in 1974. Graduated from Washington.
Like other NFL guys on the list, would bring NFL gravitas.
Hasn't had sustained success as head coach. Has never really coached in college (Washington grad assistant). Recruiting ability a question mark.
He's made it clear to UCLA he wants the job, and has even started talking about his potential staff. The word is that he'd be considered by UCLA.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Now that Petersen is out, UCLA is pursuing Sumlin, but Mora's name is being floated more.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: With Sumlin out, there was a push for Mora, but he apparently didn't vet well.
MONDAY UPDATE: We're hearing that Mora could be next up on the list.
TUESDAY MORNING: I've heard that UCLA representatives and Mora had actually begun negotiating, which means it's gone beyond the mere feeling-out phase. But I've also heard from another source that there is a pretty strong resistance to Mora among many influential UCLA people.
WEDNESDAY: It was mostly quiet late Tuesday, with only a few reports trickling out that Mora is still the main emphasis.
THURSDAY MORNING: We hear there could be an annoucement soon, and the only name we hear mentioned now is Mora.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON: For the last couple of days there has been plenty of information that was indicating UCLA could be making an announcement soon over hiring a new head coach. It's now quite a bit more uncertain. Good sources are indicating that the talks between UCLA and Jim L. Mora are not nearly that far down the line, that there have only been preliminary discussions. There is also a bit of a power struggle. According to sources, there are strong influences on the program that aren't backing Mora. So, if there is an announcement of a hiring, it might very well not be Mora.
FRIDAY: More sources are indicating that UCLA hasn't spoken in detail with Mora and he might not be the primary target at this point.
Washington Head Coach
Former BYU QB, he first earned notoriety as USC's quarterback coach under Peter Carroll, was the QB coach with the Oakland Raiders for a season, and then later returned to USC as its offensive coordinator. He was hired at Washington for the 2009 season.
Sarkisian is a SoCal guy, from Torrance, and is a strong recruiter with great ties to the Southland. He is friends with USC's Lane Kiffin, so if Sarkisian were to be UCLA's coach it would be battle royale between the two. Two of his sisters graduated from UCLA. His Trojan ties could be viewed as an asset.
He was part of the Carroll USC staff that is repugnant to UCLA. He's still unproven as a coach, in his third year at UDub and having not won more than 7 games in a season. His DC, Nick Holt, hasn't been successful at Washington.
We've heard from sources that Sarkisian has expressed interest in the UCLA job through back channels. The fact that the L.A. Times' T.J. Simers wrote an article pimping him for it could be a set-up by Sarkisian. All of this, too, could merely be Sarkisian's play to get Washington to bump up his salary.
THURSDAY: Despite some sources denying Sarkisian is a candidate, there are other sources that believe he is.
FRIDAY: UCLA has spoken with Sarkisian. It's uncertain how interested the Washington coach is, but we've heard that there are some people with considerable influence over the coaching search that endorse Sarkisian.