Many close to the program believe that the most likely scenario is that Dorrell himself could take over the OC responsibilities. The word is that, unless Dorrell finds a potential candidate who he has complete faith in can run the offense at a high level of experience and effectiveness, he'll do it himself.
There is a groundswell of support in the program for Tom Cable, UCLA's offensive coordinator from a year ago, to return. Cable, for the last year, was the offensive line coach with the Atlanta Falcons, but now is unemployed after the Falcons fired head coach Jim Mora. Atlanta hired Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino, but Petrino has filled out his new staff and it doesn't include Cable. A couple other NFL teams, however, are showing interest in Cable, and it's known that he'll interview for the offensive coordinator opening at Green Bay, since they were interesting in OCs who had extensive zone blocking experience.
The UCLA players love Cable, and particularly are enamored at how organized and under control the offense was under him. Cable was good at getting the right players in position to make plays, something many believed wasn't the case this season.
If Cable returned, it could present an issue with current offensive line coach Jim Colletto, but there could be other changes within the coaching staff that could make it work out. As Dorrell said yesterday in his teleconference, "I'm going to find the best candidate for us first and foremost, and then we'll see how we can fit the puzzle together." It's believed that, if Cable did want to return, Dorrell would work out the issues with the rest of the staff and make it happen. There are many in the program – and those who work in the top floor of the athletic department -- who are thrilled at the prospect of combining the two best coordinators UCLA has had under Dorrell on the same staff, Cable and defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker.
Much of the early talk in the program about Cable returning wasn't considered serious, but now that Cable is out of a job, the possibility has more buzz around the athletic department. Apparently there are also some issues with Cable's contract with the Falcons that would need to be worked out.
Most sources close to the program feel that Dorrell is in no hurry to make decisions concerning the offensive coordinator position. Since there is some hope with Cable, he could be willing to wait that out, and he sees no reason to make the moves quickly.
As we've reported, another coach could be leaving the program.
There is also some speculation that Eric Scott, the former UCLA receiver who works on the football staff in an administrative capacity, might be getting a better opportunity with UCLA's program. Scott, who coached at Crenshaw and is very well-connected among Los Angeles City Section high school teams, has been getting interest from the Arizona schools about a potential staff position. In the last year, Scott has been instrumental in getting UCLA more in-roads into the inner-city schools, and the UCLA players, and many recruits (in both the 2007 and 2008 classes), are very enamored with him.
Quick Recruiting Update:
UCLA is still hotly pursuing Chris Conte, the 6-3, 185-pound safety from Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. Conte, who verbally committed to Cal back in summer, visited UCLA officially, but has not conducted a media interview since. He told a few people on his official visit that he was coming to UCLA, and some sources indicated that he was laying low, trying to work out how to make the switch in allegiance from Cal to UCLA, without wanting to talk publicly about it. As of now, it's still a jumpball between UCLA and Cal for him.
Brandon Clear, the 6-5 wide receiver, and his brother Byron Clear, the 6-6 defensive end, from Hoover (Ala.) High, had good official visits last weekend (Post-Trip Story on Brandon). It appears now that UCLA is on the outside looking in with the Clears, however.
Rashad Mason, the 6-5 receiver from Nashville (Ten.) Pearl-Cohn, was going to officially visit UCLA, but UCLA and Mason went their separate ways. According to sources, Mason didn't have the academic profile needed to get past UCLA admissions.
To understand the nuances of UCLA admission, the admittance of a player like Mason depends just not on his own academics, but the academics of the players currently in the program and the recruiting class. According to good sources, the current players are doing very well academically; in fact, beyond expectation, given the academic qualifications the 2005 and 2004 classes had coming into to school. That helps the coaching staff's cause with the academic committee. However, that has already been considered and taken into account in relation to the recruits currently committed. In other words, at this point in the recruiting class of 2007, UCLA is restricted to taking solid, good students. If you might have noticed, the players remaining on UCLA's recruiting list are all good students.
Long Beach Poly's Donovan Warren, one of the best cornerback prospects in the country, took his official visit to UCLA this last weekend and, according to sources, UCLA made some in-roads. It was thought before the visit that USC was his leader, but that now UCLA made up some ground. DC DeWayne Walker has personally handled Warren's recruitment and is the big reason UCLA is still involved. Sources believe that it's 60-40 USC right now.
Speaking of USC, the word is that they continue to recruit two of UCLA's committed players, defensive tackle Brian Price from Los Angeles Crenshaw, and defensive end/linebacker Akeem Ayers from Los Angeles Verbum Dei. Both, apparently, are holding solidly to their commitments to UCLA.
UCLA will be holding its spring practice this year – actually in spring. The last two seasons, it held spring practice in late February and March, due to constraints on Spaulding Field. But now, with the new turf installed on Spaulding, UCLA will conduct spring practice in April. When we receive the specific dates we'll, of course, pass them along.