"It's been a time that's awfully busy for me. We're getting excited about recruiting, while we're finishing up a great class. We're also excited about the changes being made to the coaching staff, including the decision made a few days ago. Everything we've been building is intact and we're trying to move forward, and that's my focus."
Is there any kind of announcement in terms of a hiring?
"We're still working through the process. We're close to a decision on the offense. I think you guys are aware of the candidate I had in earlier this week, but no decision ha been made yet. I'm starting the process dealing with coaches on terms of defensive coordinator position. I'm going through that with people who are interested, and it's going pretty well. I'm trying to tackle those things and finish recruit, which has been very positive and upbeat."
Can you talk about what went into the decision about Larry Kerr?
"Not really. I put a great deal of thought into it. It was a very thoughtful process. I went through it thoroughly to try to weigh the pluses and minuses in the total scenario, and ultimately came to the decision I made. I don't want to go any further than that. I'm trying to do the best for this progra any way I can. That's why UCLA hired me."
Have you gotten good responses from candidates outside of Southern California, say?
"I've received a very positive response from a number of people, even people I didn't think would be interested, in the defensive position. We're really excited about the possibilities. I can't reveal the names right now, but we're very encouraged with the interest in that position. I think we'll be able to make a great hire. UCLA has made a concerted effort to get a very qualified individual."
What type of coordinator are you looking for? What kind of traits would he have?
"There's nothing to really talk about right now. I'm still formulating a plan of qualities I'm looking for. It has to be an impactful person. There are some great candidates I'm working through."
Would the new defensive coordinator be able to bring in defensive assistants with him?
"That will depend. There is always the possibility things could happen as we continue to discuss the position. There's nothing to elaborate on right now. But you always figure that it's a possibility when you hire the right person to make a great defense. We'll see as the process unfolds."
How has the uncertainty on the staff affected recruiting?
"It hasn't. I think all of our defensive recruits are understanding of the situation that I'm trying to build a great defense. Our players are feeling great too. They're excited about the opportunity, to get better and compete. There's a great sense of optimism in and around the program right now. And it reflects in our recruiting."
Has there been anything decided in what you'll do about the recruiting coordinator position?
"We're still working through the process with that too. We have some very good candidates that are currently on the staff. I think we'll be in very good shape, particularly with the good recruiters we already have on the staff. I'm encouraged with the people who are eager to take that challenge. I'll come to make that decision here soon."
Have there been any other personnel developments – other than Justin Hickman getting his knee scoped?
"That's the only one. I'm excited. You should see these guys around here. We start our off-seaosn progran Monday, but they've already been back and working out with the excitement we had when we finished the season. I'm pleased with the effort at this point. They're excited for 2006, and that gets me excited to build a staff the right way."
Will all the uncertainty around the staff push back winter practice from late February?
"We'll see. We plan to stick with what we have. Most of time in winter practice is spent on fundamentals, on offense and defense, so we'll try to operate with the same time frame."