Posted on: February 7, 2011 1:55 pm

Seto out as UCLA defensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last week UCLA hired Rocky Seto to be its new defensive coordinator. Seto, who used to be an assistant at USC under Pete Carroll, was pretty excited about the new job. In fact, he was so excited about it, that he even announced that he'd gotten the job on his Facebook page so all of his friends could click "Like" and leave comments saying "Congrats! xoxo"

Well, UCLA did not click like. In fact, if there had been a button that said "Fire," they'd have clicked that. Since there isn't a "Fire" button, the Bruins did the only other thing they could do. They just fired Seto.

Yes, it seems that UCLA took umbrage to Seto announcing that he was the school's new defensive coordinator on Facebook, as I guess UCLA still considers itself a MySpace stalwart. Apparently this caused a lot of fan backlash amongst the faithful who had been hoping that Randy Shannon or somebody else would get the job over the inexperienced Seto.

Whatever the case, let this be a lesson to the rest of you. Facebook is to be used for nothing more than posting party pictures, pictures of your children, and helping you remember all of your friend's birthdays. That's it. If you have to play that farm game, fine, but there are a lot better games out there that you could be wasting your time with.
Posted on: January 22, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 4:35 pm

Report: Chow on way to Utah

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A big, big day of news at UCLA -- hell, just go ahead and call it UCLA Saturday -- has only gotten bigger as Norm Chow's departure to Utah is now all but official. A source within the UCLA athletic department has told the Los Angeles Times that after being replaced by Mike Johnson as the Bruins' offensive coordinator, Chow could be announced in the same position at Utah before the end of the day.

All that apparently stands in Chow's way is a negotiation over the amount of Chow's buyout from UCLA. With this move rumored now for weeks, it's only now a matter if when Chow heads to Salt Lake City, not if.

The move completes one of the most disappointing assistant coaching tenures in recent college football memory. Chow came to Westwood three years ago with one of the most glittering resumes in the college game, and his reputation provoked a bidding war last offseason between the Bruins and USC that resulted in Chow boasting of the highest assistant coaching salaries in the country.

But after the Bruins' disastrous move towards a pistol offense this season (parts of which the Bruins will apparently keep ) left them dead last in the Pac-10 in total offense and 11th in scoring, that salary only made Chow arguably the most overpaid coach in the nation.

Moving away from the pistol and towards a less-pressurized atmosphere at Utah could help restore Chow's reputation to its former glory. But if not, the 64-year-old probably won't another shot in major college football.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 22, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 4:19 pm

Report: Randy Shannon interviewing with UCLA

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Well, now that UCLA has gotten the process of replacing an offensive coordinator it hasn't fired yet, the Bruins are now moving on to finding a replacement for a coach they have fired. According to the Los Angeles Times, former Miami head coach Randy Shannon is in Los Angeles to interview with UCLA for the defensive coordinator position.
Former University of Miami Coach Randy Shannon is being interviewed for the UCLA defensive coordinator job on Saturday, according to a person inside the program who was not authorized to speak on the subject.
Shannon was fired by Miami in November after four seasons as the school's head coach, where he went 28-22. He also spent the six seasons before taking over as head coach as the defensive coordinator at Miami. UCLA fired Chuck Bullough from the position in December, as the Bruins were pretty disappointing on both sides of the ball in 2010.

Whoever ends up replacing Bullough will be taking over a defense that just lost two of its best players to the NFL in Akeem Ayers and Rahim Moore.

UPDATE: Chris Foster now tweets that the Shannon interview will take place on Sunday.
Posted on: January 22, 2011 2:22 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 4:20 pm

UCLA hires Mike Johnson as offensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been rumored for a while, but UCLA made it official on Saturday afternoon, announcing that Mike Johnson has been hired to be the Bruins offensive coordinator.  Of course, the school hasn't officially fired Norm Chow yet, nor has Chow officially accepted a position at Utah as has been rumored as well. Still, the fact that the Bruins have a new offensive coordinator is a pretty good indication of where Chow won't be coaching next season.

In the official release, not only has Johnson been brought on to replace Chow, but Rick Neuheisel will be taking on the role of quarterbacks coach as well.

"During my assessment of our program, I felt it was necessary for me to be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the offense," Neuheisel said. "I decided that going forward, I will coach the quarterbacks and will be more hands-on in the area of play calling with a new coordinator.

"Mike is a great addition to our staff. He has a background with a multitude of offensive schemes, has coached several different positions and has experience in our conference as well as in the National Football League. Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and adds versatility to our offense and I can't wait to get in the film room and start planning for 2011 and the Pac-12.

"In addition, Mike is a dynamic and tireless recruiter who is familiar with the Pac-12 area and, in particular, southern California. He will be a great plus for our program in this important area."

Johnson spent the last few seasons with the San Francisco 49ers as a quarterbacks coach before taking on the position of offensive coordinator in 2010. He also spent two years working with Neuheisel on the Baltimore Ravens staff from 2006-07.

UCLA's offense was rather abysmal in 2010, as it finished 104th in the nation in scoring, averaging 20.2 points per game, and 116th in passing. The Bruins finished the season with a 4-8 record, including a 2-7 campaign within the Pac-10.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:01 pm

Norm Chow seems destined for Utah

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Although UCLA says that he's still currently its offensive coordinator, all indications are that Norm Chow doesn't have much time left working for the Bruins.  At least, you wouldn't think so considering the team is reportedly hammering out a deal with former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson.  Fear not for Norm Chow, however, for it seems that should he be replaced by Johnson in Los Angeles, he won't be out of a job for long.

While Rick Neuheisel is busy trying to replace Chow, Norm isn't just sitting around waiting for the axe to drop.  He's reportedly involved in talks with Utah about their offensive coordinator position.  It seems Kyle Whittingham wasn't exactly thrilled with the Utes' offensive performance down the stretch, and is looking to make a change.  Which is somewhat understandable considering Utah scored 68 points over its final five games, and 38 of those came in a win against San Diego State.

Chow has long been considered one of the best offensive coordinators in college football, though his time at UCLA has been pretty forgettable. He also has ties to Utah, where he played guard -- NORM CHOW WAS AN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN!? -- from 1965-67.  If he did return to his alma mater, it would make for some interesting matchups when the Utes move to the Pac-12 next season.

Once there he'd be facing two teams he used to work for in UCLA and USC, not to mention the fact that Chow also spent many years at Utah rival BYU, where he mentored guys like Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Ty Detmer.  
Posted on: January 7, 2011 12:32 pm

UCLA's Rahim Moore headed to NFL

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This hasn't been a good week for the UCLA defense.  On Tuesday the team found out it would be losing its stud linebacker Akeem Ayers to the NFL, and today the Bruins found out that their top safety and interception machine, Rahim Moore, would be following Ayers out the door.  Moore made the announcement on Friday.

"I just felt like it was time," Moore said. "Leaving UCLA is hard, but it's like I had a mediocre job and now I'm going for a great job. It's not that I think UCLA is mediocre, but I have dreamed about playing in the NFL my whole life."

"I will let my work and interviews at the combine, and my game films, speak for me.  I just know I'm ready."

Moore has been a starter for the last three years at UCLA, and led the nation in interceptions with 10 in 2009.  He's considered by many to be the top safety available in the draft this year, and any time you're told that, you make the jump.  All entries into the draft have until January 18 to change their mind, but Moore says he's already hired an agent, which makes him ineligible to return.

Moore also said that he plans on returning to UCLA to earn his degree.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 12:44 pm

UCLA's Akeem Ayers entering draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers had a choice to make.  Did he want to come back for his senior season, likely another down year, at UCLA, or did he want to go make a few million dollars in the NFL?  What do you think Akeem chose to do?

“I want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone at UCLA for all of their help the last few years,” said Ayers in a statement released by UCLA. “I have had a great experience at UCLA and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend such an outstanding school.

“I will miss playing with my UCLA teammates next year but I feel that the decision to go to the NFL is what is best for my family. I will always be a Bruin.”

I know, I was shocked too.

Ayers is projected to be a top-20 pick in the NFL draft this spring, so it only makes sense that he'd be leaving school to cash in on his potential.  Especially considering he missed quite a bit of time this season with an injury -- though that didn't stop him from being named first team All-Pac-10 -- and returning for his senior season only to be injured again would hurt his draft status.
Posted on: December 22, 2010 6:56 pm

Assistant salaries: Who's overpaid? Underpaid?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After earlier compiling a database of all 120 FBS head coaching salaries for the recently completed 2010 season, USA Today today released a look at the salaries of the nation's assistant coaches, all 907 of which are available for comparison here . Your highest-paid assistant: Texas ex-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp at $900,000 per year. The lowest amongst coaches actually drawing a paycheck? Leon Lett -- you remember him ! -- who's being paid just $12,000 to coach defensive tackles at Louisiana-Monroe.

Inbetween on the scale are some 900 other coaches (not counting those working at private institutions whose salaries are not public information). Ignoring certain obvious choices (yes, Greg Davis was overpaid, yes, Dana Holgorsen was a bargain), looking only at 2010 results, and making allowances for coaches in their first year at a new school, here's three choices for the country's most underpaid and most overpaid assistant coaches:


Don Treadwell ($235,250), offensive coordinator, Michigan State.
Despite possessing few playmakers known to fans outside the Midwest, Treadwell guided the Spartans to a top-20 finish in yards per-play and offered his team an enivable balance with better than 2,000 yards rushing and 2,800 passing. He also took over for two games as interim head coach while Mark Dantonio dealt with a heart ailment, winning both. And he did all this for the cost of less than many SEC position coaches.

Jeff Casteel ($372,268), defensive coordinator, West Virginia. Casteel's not doing too badly for himself, salary-wise, but compared to what his fellow DCs are earning in the SEC, Big 12, etc., he's still a bargain. With virtually no nationally-recognized players and few star recruits, Casteel quietly put together the nation's third-ranked unit in total defense and third in scoring defense; the Mountaineers were the only defense in the country to allow 21 points or fewer in every game.

Tom Osborne ($220,000), special teams/tight ends coach, Oregon. Osborne put together arguably the best set of special teams units in the country, leading the Ducks to top 20 finishes in net punting and kickoff coverage, coaxing a 12-of-16 performance from his two kickers, and along with returner Cliff Harris creating the most dangerous punt return unit in the nation, one that racked up better than 18 yards per return and scored five game-changing touchdowns. The Ducks probably aren't in the national title game without him.

Honorable Mention: Manny Diaz ($260,000), defensive coordinator, Mississippi State; Pete Kwiatkowski ($259,520), defensive coordinator, Boise State; Al Borges ($205,000), offensive coordinator, San Diego State.


Norm Chow ($640,000), offensive coordinator, UCLA.
That figure includes a $250,000 retention bonus designed to keep Chow in Los Angeles, but maybe the Bruins would have been better off being spared paying the nation's eighth-highest assistant's salary for the nation's 109th-best offense.

Tyrone Nix ($500,000), defensive coordinator, Ole Miss. For Nix's salary, the Rebels could have had Gus Malzahn, who earned the exact same amount this season from Auburn. Malzahn will earn quite a bit more next year, obviously, but Nix won't after overseeing a defense that utterly collapsed in the embarrassing season-opening loss to Jacksonville State and went on to finish 105th in yards allowed per-play.

Stacy Searels ($301,200), offensive line coach, Georgia. Offensive line coaches do very well in the SEC, with several topping the $300,000 mark. If we ignore the low-hanging fruit that was Steve Addazio's season in Gainesville, none had a more disappointing season than Searels, whose Bulldog charges looked to have the makings of one of the nation's strongest ground games at the close of 2009 and entered 2010 with as much experience (and talent, arguably) as any line in the country. Instead the Dawgs finished 10th in the SEC in rushing and middle-of-the-pack in sacks allowed (despite ranking 9th in passes attempted) as Searels wound up forced to juggle his lineup late in the year. Searels has done outstanding work before and likely will again, but 2010 wasn't his best moment.

Dishonorable Mention: Chuck Long and Carl Torbush ($350,000 each), offensive and defensive coordinators, Kansas ; Nick Holt ($650,000), defensive coordinator, Washington; Greg Robinson ($277,100), defensive coordinator, Michigan.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com