The primary candidates we've heard mentioned are Steve Mariucci, the former Cal and NFL head coach; Mike Leach, the Texas Tech head coach; Chris Petersen, the head coach at Boise State, and Mike Price, the head coach at UTEP.
There is also a push by some influences close to UCLA to consider Rick Neuheisel, the current offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens, and former UCLA player and Colorado and Washington head coach. But there is quite a bit of resistance toward Neiheisel at UCLA, however. Not only is UCLA wary of Neiheisel's history of run-ins with the NCAA, he burned bridges at the Morgan Center when he negative recruited against UCLA while coaching at Washington.
Some news outlets have reported that Peterson is the first choice by the UCLA administration for the position, but we've heard it was Mariucci.
Reportedly, though, Mariucci is asking for quite a bit of money, and that has been the snag so far.
We've also learned that the UCLA administration wants DeWayne Walker to stay at UCLA as its defensive coordinator, regardless of whom the new coach is.
The plan is for Walker to be the interim head coach for the Las Vegas Bowl once Dorrell is let go. Walker has been contacted by Washington State for their vacant head coaching job.
It's thought that Price is also being considered for the WSU position, possibly returning to his former team.
Mariucci currently works as an analyst for the NFL Network. He coached the California Bears in 1996 to a 6-6 record, after coaching positions in the NFL and having been an offensive coordinator with Cal. He then coached the San Francisco 49ers from 1997 to 2002, and then the Detroit Lions from 2003 to 2005. He was reportedly fired by the 49ers after a power struggle with 49ers general manager and former UCLA coach, Terry Donahue. Mariucci is known as an accomplished offensive coach, but also an advocate of the West Coast Offense.
Petersen has been a head coach with Boise State for two years, compiling a 23-2 record. He had the dream season in 2006, going 13-0. His Bronco team is currently ranked 17th in the country.
Leach has a 64-37 record in eight seasons at Texas Tech. He consistently has one of the most prolific offenses in the country.
Petersen currently makes $850,000 a year at Boise State. Leach earns $1,600,000. At UTEP, Price's salary is $543,000.
Dorrell currently makes $880,000 per year. Sources are indicating that UCLA is willing to pay around $1.5 million, if not a bit more, depending on the coach.