Update on the Coaching Staff

While it doesn't seem like much has happened lately, there is a lot going on at the American Football Coaches Association Convention in Anaheim this week. Here's the lastest on who Head Coach Rick Neuheisel might hire for the remaining spots on his coaching staff...

Many UCLA fans are wondering why there hasn't been much movement lately with Rick Neuheisel's staff.

Many developments have been put on a bit of a delay because of the American Football Coaches Association Convention currently taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center. It's known that Neuheisel expected to meet with some potential coaching candidates at the convention. From what we've heard also, Neuheisel didn't want to let go the remaining hold-over coaches before the convention, to give them a chance to find a job. We've heard, however, that Neuheisel would like to get the majority of his staff hired by Friday, when he has called a staff meeting.

We've also heard that Neuheisel has resisted hiring offensive assistants since he hasn't hired an offensive coordinator yet. Last season, there was some tension between the offensive coordinator, Jay Norvell, and a previously hired offensive assistant and Neuheisel wants to avoid that.

Neuheisel did hire Bob Palcic as his offensive line coach, but it's believed that Palcic has the seal of approval of the potential candidates Neuheisel is considering for offensive coordinator.

In terms of the OC, we've heard that he has a list of names that he's pursuing, and on the list is still Norm Chow, the offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans and former OC at USC.

We've heard from multiple sources that it's a longshot. But some sources are indicating that Neuheisel is "trying to work his magic." The word is that Chow wants to return to Southern California, where he has a home, and prefers college ball, but is very comfortable with the Titans. UCLA would have to pony up some considerable money – not anything close to the $1 million he currently makes – but something reasonable. That's, apparently, the "magic" Neuheisel is supposed to be attempting.

Please, however, if Neuheisel doesn't get Chow, don't attribute it as a Neuheisel "miss." Chow coming to UCLA is intrinsically a longshot and one source said that if Neuheisel could pull it off it would be a "miracle."

Former UCLA offensive coordinator Al Borges is a legitimate candidate for the OC position. Borges, who was the OC under Bob Toledo at UCLA, was let go as the Auburn OC in December before the Tigers played in their bowl game. Borges had been at Auburn since 2004, where he initially did really well with the Tigers offense. His offense had been criticized the last couple of years, however, and this season it was ranked 101st nationally. Borges, though, was considered the architect of the vastly successful scheme led by Cade McNown in the late 1990s.

It is known that Borges attended the coaches' convention this week, but unknown if Neuheisel met with Borges during it.

Former Michigan quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler is a candidate for the quarterbacks coaching position, and many feel he could be an option as offensive coordinator. Loeffler, as many know, is close to Ryan Mallett, the 6-6 freshman quarterback who recently left Michigan. Rumors were flying last week that Mallett was transferring to UCLA, following Loeffler to Westwood. There have been some reports in the last couple of days that indicate Loeffler and Mallett could be going elsewhere, but we've heard from one source that it's still very much a possibility that they could end up at UCLA, particularly Loeffler. A source indicated that Neuheisel is trying to work out just how all the puzzle pieces fall into place.

A couple of sources have indicated that Loeffler is a very good coach with a bright future.

It's believed, too, that if Neuheisel doesn't find an experienced OC, he could give the job to someone like Loeffler and then possibly call the plays himself. But sources said Neuheisel prefers to have an experienced, dedicated OC.

We have heard talk that Ken Norton Jr., the USC linebacker coach and former UCLA All-American, is still a possibility for a position. Linebacker coach Chuck Bullough, who was hired by Neuheisel, is getting interest from Northwestern, and met with the Northwestern head coach the convention, and Norton could step into the linebacker coaching spot. We've heard, however, that Bullough wants to stay at UCLA for the time being. The word is that he does eventually want to return to the midwest but feels he has more to learn on his track to becoming a defensive coordinator and doesn't want to make the move back to the midwest just yet.

We've learned that Walker is okay with Norton joining the staff, as long as it's clear that Walker is the defensive coordinator.

Also, we've heard that when defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, Bullough and defensive line coach Todd Howard were entertaining the idea of going to the University of Washington, Howard wanted to stay at UCLA.

We have heard, too, that Montana Head Coach Bobby Hauck could be a candidate for the defensive backs coaching position.

When recruits were on campus Saturday, a recruit's parent asked about the status of Eric Scott, the wide receiver coach. Neuheisel said that there were some positions he wanted to wait on to hire an offensive coordinator to get his input about. We've heard that there is sentiment within the athletic department to let go of Scott, but others would like to see him retained, as possibly something other than the wide receiver coach since he's such a key factor in this year's recruiting class.

Reggie Moore was hired by Neuheisel and he's thought to be the potential replacement for Scott as the wide receiver coach.

The other hold-over coaches from Karl Dorrell's staff whose status is still officially undetermined are running backs coach Dino Babers, tight ends coach Angus McClure, safeties coach Gary DeLoach and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jay Norvell.

We've heard that Norvell is out; DeLoach is definitely leaving, to return to a job in his native Texas; McClure wants to stay and has spoken with Neuheisel, but it's uncertain if Neuheisel will retain him; and that Babers has been shopping around looking for another job, and it's uncertain if Neuheisel would want to retain him.

So far, Neuheisel's staff includes:

DeWayner Walker, Defensive Coordinator (and probably cornerbacks)
Chuck Bullough, Linebackers
Todd Howard, Defensive Line
Reggie Moore, Undetermined
Bob Palcic, Offensive Line

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