Tag:Norm Chow
Posted on: May 9, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 5:20 pm
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What we learned this spring in the Pac-12

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Spring time is a time for learning. Ask any coach and you'll hear some derivative of, 'We want to get back to learning the fundamentals' at the beginning of their spring press conference. Now that spring practices have wrapped up for all of the Pac-12 schools though, it's time to figure out what we've learned from them. Here's a few things we've learned about all 12 teams (other than the fact that they're all very rich thanks to the new media deal).

Oregon


What we've learned: The Ducks are still feeling out the offensive line situation, where they have to replace three of the starting five before taking on a top five team in LSU week one. Mark Asper is set at right tackle and Carson York returns at left guard but beyond that it's a few question marks. Expect the battles to start to continue with a few of the incoming freshmen to get a look once fall camp starts. Luckily the Ducks have two Heisman Trophy candidates in the backfield in running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Williams to smooth the transition as they can both hit the hole quickly with their speed. The defense seems set and will likely be better than last year's unit despite losing their leader, linebacker Casey Matthews, to graduation. Oregon still needs some receivers to step up but early enrollee Colt Lyerla figures to be in the mix early on offense.

Stanford

What we've learned: Andrew Luck is good. But everybody already knew that. A few pieces around Luck still need to be ironed out though, namely at receiver and on the opposite side of the ball along the defensive line. By all indications the transition from Jim Harbaugh to new head coach David Shaw went smoothly but practices were closed so there's not a ton we can gleam from the Cardinal's spring. Luck led scoring drives on all three series he was in during the Stanford spring game and that's without running back Tyler Gaffney, who was playing baseball all spring. Having the best quarterback in college football seems to cover up a lot of holes.

Arizona State

What we've learned: The Sun Devils will be donning new uniforms in the fall and on top of looking pretty slick, they'll also be carrying the weight of expectations as the Pac-12 South favorite. Injuries were the story of the spring with starting corner Omar Bolden going down with a torn ACL early last year. He's expected to come back later in the season but that's a big blow on an otherwise solid and upperclassman-laden team. Wide out T.J. Simpson also injured his knee. The offensive line, an area of concern for years in the desert, appears to be at full strength and much improved.

Utah

What we've learned: Lots of injuries to deal with this spring with the Utes, who had several starters miss the spring game or spring all together. Starting quarterback Jordan Wynn was one such player who didn't get a chance to go through practices under new offensive coordinator Norm Chow but he's still expected to be the starter once fall camp opens. There are several players competing at running back and the staff is hopeful after Harvey Langi, John White and Thretton Palamo all had a good spring. Palamo becoming the starter is interesting because he's a former ruby player. Utes also seemed to figure out the replacements in the secondary which was something head coach Kyle Whittingham wanted to do.

USC

What we've learned: There's some talent at USC but the depth is... lacking. The Trojans used to be able to stock pile four and five-star talent but it was evident that Lane Kiffin is doing some rebuilding with 49 out of the 85 scholarship players from the past two recruiting classes. That also means this is a young team but there's a lot to build around in quarterback Matt Barkley and wide out Robert Woods. The defense should be better than a year ago as players grow more comfortable with the system. The secondary should be much improved in particular. With 12 players out for spring and many freshmen expected to contribute, USC still has to figure a few things out in the fall.

Arizona

What we've learned: Starting quarterback Nick Foles has a talented group of wide outs but he'll have to get the ball to them quickly. While every coach in the country wants their trigger man to get the ball out quickly, Foles has to do so mainly because he'll have an entirely new offensive line in front of him. At the moment both tackles will be redshirt freshmen who haven't played a game but they looked solid this spring. Both defensive ends (who were very productive) are gone but C.J. Parrish impressed everyone coming off the edge this spring. The secondary seems to be rounding into form and Texas transfer Dan Buckner should be a nice target for Foles.

Cal

What we've learned: The Bears' practices had to be moved off campus due to construction and that's pretty fitting considering that Cal football was, well, under construction this spring. The situation at quarterback seems to be Zach Maynard over Brock Mansion and Allan Bridgeford but none of the three seems to be particularly appealing based on reports. Jim Michalczik is back in Berkeley as offensive coordinator and we'll see what tweaks he makes but Jeff Tedford will be the play caller and quarterbacks coach this year. The defense will likely be the strength of the team, especially along the defensive line.

Oregon State

What we've learned: Not a ton about the team that will take the field in the fall. Quarterback Ryan Katz sat out with a broken bone in his wrist and all-everything athlete James Rodgers is rehabbing from knee surgery and might not make it back in time for the opener. The offensive line returns four of five and needs to play better but there weren't any indications they did so this spring. Terron Ward seems to have emerged as the favorite to replace Jacquizz Rodgers but there are plenty of players in the mix.

UCLA

What we've learned: There are plenty of issues on offense out side of the running back position but at least the defense looks better. Being relatively healthy on defense is nice for the new staff and the defensive line looks like it can provide a nice pass rush. The quarterback battle is on hold until the fall but freshman Brett Hundley showed flashes and if he gets the playbook down, could end up the starter. Injuries along the offensive line were an issue once again.

Washington

What we've learned: Keith Price is the new starter at quarterback and has the task of keeping the Huskies afloat without Jake Locker and several other starters. Chris Polk has looked good at running back and is primed for another good season if he can deal with more defenders in the box. Three starters along the offensive line needed to be replaced and some of the battles will likely continue in fall camp. Early enrollee Austin Seferian-Jenkins made an impression and figures to make an impact on offense at tight end.

Colorado

What we've learned: Everything is new for the conference's newest member. First time head coach Jon Embree takes over the reigns as the program tries to reset after a down couple of years. Tyler Hansen had a good spring in the new pro-style offense and the Buffs have a listed 17 starters coming back overall that gives them some hope this year. There's a bunch of questions on defense as the team moves to a more traditional 4-3 alignment from last year's 3-3-5. The front seven seems to be ok coming out of drills but replacing both corners is still a concern.

Washington State

What we've learned: There are plenty of issues on the Palouse but there's hope this spring. The Cougars are set at quarterback with Jeff Tuel and former starter Marshall Lobbestael and the offensive line seems solid coming out of the spring. The front seven was impressive this spring and should be much improved from last year with a bit of depth Washington State hasn't had. Special teams is a bit of a concern and didn't really get worked out this spring.

Posted on: March 9, 2011 8:44 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Utah

Posted by Bryan Fischer

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Utah, who began spring practice on Tuesday.

What are some of the issues Utah has to figure out before moving to the Pac-12?

When you look at teams going through transition this spring, most are referring to a quarterback change or having to deal with new coaching staff members. At Utah, "transition" is less about who's under center and more about a move to a whole different conference.

"It is a new era for Utah football and you can sense it," head coach Kyle Willingham told reporters after the Utes' first practice. "There is a lot of excitement about it and new challenges."

The move to a new league will come complete with a new offense thanks to distinguished alum and new offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Though he ran the Pistol offense while at UCLA with limited success, Chow is known best for producing high scoring offenses with top flight pro-style quarterbacks (see Palmer, Carson at USC and Rivers, Phillip at N.C. State). Last season's starter Jordan Wynn will miss spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery, which leaves all the reps to true freshman Tyler Shreve and sophomore Griff Robles. While spring offers the Utes a chance to see what the quarterback of the future looks like, they won't be able to see what the quarterback for next season looks like after Chow all but confirmed that Wynn would start in the fall.

"I told Jordan I'd go to the Heisman one more time and then I'll retire," he told The Salt Lake Tribune.

The backfield is also an area of concern. The team loses two of their leading rushers from last season in Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata. Don't be surprised if early enrollee Harvey Langi makes a big push for playing time after several top programs recruited the big back out of high school. Paving the way in the new pro-style attack will be Boo Anderson, who moves from linebacker to fullback. Three of the five starters on the offensive line are back but there will be battles at both guard spots the Utes will need to lock down before all is said and done.

Oh and one of the best names in college football, wide receiver Shaky Smithson, departs after being a threat in the passing game and special teams. While it might seem like there's a lot of moving parts on offense, there are a few things Willingham doesn't have to worry about. Linebackers Matt Martinez and Chaz Walker return and safety Brian Belchen has bulked up a bit after moving to SAM linebacker. Not a surprise but Willingham thanks Star Lotulelei will be a star at defensive tackle and David Kruger and Derrick Shelby are returning starters at defensive end.

Previous Spring Primers
The front seven should be relatively well equipped for the move for the Pac-12 but the secondary will need to be straightened out over the next month with all four spots up for grabs. You can pencil in junior Conroy Black, who is the fastest player on the team and grabbed an interception last season in a decent amount of playing time. Outside of Black, there's several players who should compete for the other three spots.

Are there a few things the Utes want to get worked out? Yes on both sides of the ball. But that's what spring football is all about, working out the kinks. The coaching staff believes that there's plenty of talent to compete week in and week out in a new conference and there is enough proven talent that will suit up this spring to back that up.

"They've played in big games against the Alabama's and teams so that will be nothing different," Chow told the Tribune. "The challenge will be the week to week competition in the Pac-12. That is different but we'll be ready."

Plenty of things to figure out beforehand though.

Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Norm Chow taking a pay cut at Utah

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Have you ever been to both Utah and Los Angeles? Even if you haven't, you probably don't need to be told that there's a slight difference in the culture and speed of both places. There's also a difference in the cost of living, which would seem to be good news for new Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Chow recently left the same position at UCLA to return to Utah, and it seems he took a healthy pay cut to do so.
Even though he is still making more than the next highest paid assistant, Norm Chow still took a big cut in salary when he joined Utah's staff.
Chow will receive $275,000, annually, according to his contract which was finalized Wednesday. The contract runs from Jan. 25, 2011 to June 30, 2013.
Chow's salary is far from the $640,000 package he was earning at UCLA, but still way above Utah's next highest paid assistant, defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake who receives a base salary of $170,000.
That's a 58% pay cut that Chow has taken, though there are some bonuses worked in to his deal. He'd get a $20,000 bonus should Utah make a BCS game, and also gets a "company" car and tickets to home and road games. Though unless that company car is worth $400,000, or the prices of Utah tickets have skyrocketed, it's still a drastic change.

Of course, so is no longer having to work under Rick Neuheisel.
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 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: 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:

MOST DUE FOR A RAISE

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.

MOST DUE TO NOT RECEIVE A RAISE

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.
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:30 am
Edited on: December 2, 2010 10:31 am
 

UCLA guarantees Neuheisel's position is safe

Posted by Chip Patterson

There is plenty of reason for concern in Westwood over the UCLA football program.  Since hiring head coach Rick Neuheisel, the Bruins have gone 15-21, they have zero offensive identity, and despite the coaching of the legendary coordinator Norm Chow - the Bruins have no certainty at the quarterback position.  Neuheisel has already addressed the evaluation process for all the assistant coaches, but what about the evaluation of the head coach?

Even with the downfalls, UCLA still has Neuheisel's back for now.  Athletic director Dan Guerrero stood firmly behind his head coach when questioned about Neuheisel's status with the Bruins for 2011.

“Of course there’s never been any question of that,” Guerrero said outside the Bruin locker-room following UCLA's 55-24 loss at Arizona State on Friday. “There’s no doubt. Why would you ask that question?”

There are many reasons why both fans and critics would question Guerrero's confidence in Neuheisel.  The former Washington head coach was brought in with the promise to "end the football monopoly in Los Angeles," but even with a win over the Trojans on Saturday the Bruins will have failed to pick up more than three conference victories in the brief Neuheisel era.  Scott Reid, of the Orange Country Register, seems to suggest that Neuheisel's critics may also be Guerrero's critics.  If so, and the losing continues, there could be major changes on the way at UCLA.
 
 
 
 
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