We Want Walker

DeWayne Walker for UCLA head coach.

Walker (just about) Aces his Interview

Posted by wewantwalker on December 23, 2007

“Everyday is an interview” – DeWayne Walker

The media, from the LA times to the Daily News to the Bruin/non-Bruin Blogosphere, all agree that Walker did as much as he could to take advantage of his opportunity. He passed his audition. He was a fingertip short of acing his interview.

First, from Paul Oberjuerge, a Daily News columnist. This column sums up exactly what we’ve been saying over the last few weeks: 

It’s time for the UCLA administrators to be bold.

Time to defy the court of public opinion.

To ignore conventional wisdom, not to mention meddling alumni who worship at the altar of notoriety.

It’s time to hire DeWayne Walker as UCLA football coach.

The Bruins don’t have far to go to find their next coach. As defensive coordinator the past two seasons, he already has an office in the Morgan Center.

Some believe that should disqualify him as Karl Dorrell’s successor as coach of Los Angeles’ Other College Football Team.

Because Walker – like Dorrell, when the Bruins hired him – has no history running a football team.

Until Saturday night, that is, when DeWayne Walker, interim coach, was a deflected field goal away from a rousing upset of 17th-ranked Brigham Young in the Las Vegas Bowl.

It was BYU 17, UCLA 16 – and DeWayne Walker One Impressive Candidate to return the Bruins to football prominence.

What else do UCLA administrators need to see?

Walker already has the respect of his players, who played like maniacs for him Saturday night.

He already has shown he is a great recruiter; witness the incoming recruiting class he has on call.

He already has demonstrated he can beat USC, because his defensive game plan was the linchpin of UCLA’s 13-9 victory last season.

And now he has shown he can lead the Bruins within a fingertip (on a Kai Forbath field-goal attempt as time expired) to victory in a game against a quality opponent.

 

 

From Nathan Ware, of the thedawgblog.com (A Washington Husky blog) 

UCLA Interim Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Dewayne Walker did a super job preparing the Bruins to play BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl. They did much better than I anticipated – even though they lost 17-16 on a last-second blocked field goal – and his defense was fun to watch. I’m officially on the Dewayne Walker bandwagon. If Coach Willingham could coerce him into coming to Washington, I’d be very satisfied with that hire

This from TotalBlueSports (a Scout.com affilliate):

interim UCLA head coach DeWayne Walker deserves a lot of credit for preparing his team to play far better than most pundits expected – present company included.Despite the fact they were playing without their regular head coach, a fourth-string quarterback, their second-string running back and without their top wide receiver, Walker bonded quickly in his interim role with his young band of brothers and gave the Cougars everything they could handle on both sides of the ball – and especially on defense.He prepared his coaches and players with a well-executed defensive game plan that completely stalled BYU’s potent running attack like no other team has done this season.After the game, Max Hall called the Bruin defense the best he has faced all season and possibly the best he will face as a Cougar quarterback.The Bruin defense outplayed the Cougars’ young-but-vaunted offense arsenal in every way that mattered except the bottom line – 17-16. Ironically, the tables were reversed on their early-season encounter when the Bruins won 27-17, in a game BYU statistically dominated in all key categories but the final score.Quite simply, it was a matter of respect. Walker held the utmost respect for BYU’s coaching staff and 2007 season accomplishments – and he prepared his coaches and players to do the same and they played accordingly.Last year, Mike Bellotti, head coach of Las Vegas Bowl foe Oregon, publicly dissed the Cougars before and after the game, comparing BYU to a mid-tier Pac-10 team, adding BYU couldn’t compete in the upper tier of his BCS conference. The Cougars didn’t say much before the game and walloped Bellotti’s outmatched Oregon Ducks 38-8.Walker, on the other hand, was a former BYU defensive coach, and told reporters the Cougars could definitely compete as an upper-tier Pac-10 team.In a revealing interview with Kinahan, Walker said: “I know BYU. I‘ve had a chance to coach there, and everybody knows they can definitely hold their own in the Pac-10. They have good coaches; they have good players; they have smart players…I just think they do things right and anytime you do things right, it allows you a chance to win.“I just think what Bronco’s done, since he’s been there, it’s pretty obvious he’s done things right…Bronco’s done a great job with team building and really teaching these young men what it takes to win and I think that’s crucial and if I got a [head coaching] job…I’d sure like to sit down with Bronco and really share some philosophies and hope he will share his blueprint because it’s obvious that it works,” Walker said.   

LA times:

While the Cougars whooped and hollered, a teary-eyed DeWayne Walker was on his own journey. The Bruins’ interim coach walked, head up, to the locker room. Next week, he will be interviewed by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block about the head coaching job.A copy of game film might be a handy visual aid.The Bruins (6-7) came oh-so-close to taking one final last good memory from a season of too many bad ones. They drove from their own two-yard line to the Cougars’ 11 in 1 minute 28 seconds, leaving three seconds for Forbath to knock home his fourth field goal.Only Forbath, who had already made kicks of 22, 52 and 50 yards, had this one blocked by Eathyn Manumaleuna.”I told the players that life is full of adversity,” Walker said. “I think adversity builds character. Whoever the head coach is next year, they are really going to inherit a bunch of good guys.”That could still be Walker, who will be the third candidate to be interviewed by Block. Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel and Temple Coach Al Golden interviewed with Block last week.UCLA officials are not believed to be interested in interviewing other coaches, at least at this time, according to a source familiar with the search.”It’s flattering,” Walker said of getting the interview. “It just reinforces the things we talk about as a staff. . . . I think it’s encouraging. All I can do is what I can do.”Walker added, “It feels like you’re getting the respect of the job that you’ve done. I appreciate it.”Athletic Director Dan Guerrero would comment only on the game, but that revolved around Walker.“I thought the team played very hard,” Guerrero said. “Obviously to have chance to win it at the end, that’s pretty much where you want to have your team. It’s a reflection of the coaching staff and the seniors and team rallying together.”Guerrero, standing in the the postseason news conference room, received a message from senior tailback Chris Markey.”Hire Coach Walker,” Markey said to the media.The lobbying continued in the locker room.“I pray they give him the opportunity to be the head coach,” defensive end Bruce Davis said. “Everybody wants to play for him. He demands excellence, and he gets the maximum effort out of his players.” The Bruins can cite the game film from Saturday.   

About the game itself, I don’t really feel that anything I say will be ground breaking. The defense pretty much dominated. The offense, which isn’t DeWayne’s, did as well as it could considering it was playing a 4th string walk-on qb and its back up runningback. Our men came out inspired and never gave up. I will say that watching Bruce Davis cry after the game is something that I will never. ever. ever. ever forget. That guy bleeds blue and gold through and through. He’ll tear it up in The League.Did anyone get that feeling watching Walker on the sideline? Like, “That guy is completely in control.”? Cuz’ I did. I smiled everytime I saw him on camera because I just felt that he had “it.” Tracy Pierson has an article under premium content that every UCLA fan should read.  Tracy makes points back and forth, but generally comes away impressed from Walker’s performance.  Walker is the man. I’ve never been as convinced as I am right now. We’ll have way more TONIGHT. 

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3 Responses to “Walker (just about) Aces his Interview”

  1. Bobby said

    Editor’s Note: I think you are totally missing the big picture. BYU was ranked 17 and was on a 9 game winning streak. Also, DeWayne brought our boys to play.

    Our expectations are probably higher than yours. We know DeWayne will deliver.

    A loss to an overrated BYU team in the Las Vegas Bowl, and Walker supporters are wetting themselves with glee.

    The way people are reacting to this game, you would have thought that UCLA took on USC, LSU and Ohio State combined, played them 11 on 33, and won 100 to nothing.

    How low our expectations have fallen….

  2. Fellow Bruin fans-
    I would like to add something to my earlier blog. It is grossly unfair to intimate that DeWayne is a Karl Dorrell clone. I have the greatest respect for Karl. DeWayne and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity Karl afforded DeWayne. But DeWayne goes to his interview on Wednesday with a resume that is superior to Neuheisel or Golden. He has been a football coach for 20-years. He has coached at the community college, division 1 and NFL levels. He has worked for four of the greatest football coaches of this generation (Lavell Edwards, Pete Carroll, Bill Bellichek and Joe Gibbs). He has never been fired from a job and Bellichek retained him at the New England Patriots when Pete was fired. DeWayne had no history with Bellichek and Bellichek brought Mangini with him to the Patriots from the Jets. Mangini, the present New York Jets head coach and DeWayne shared secondary resonsibilities during the year DeWayne remained with the Patriots. In addition to the above named coaches, DeWayne worked under Greg Williams while with the Redskins. Neusheisel, Golden or Karl have those exposures. If Neuhisel or Golden is hired, how will they recruit? DeWayne’s detractors blighthly dismisses the recruiting coups that UCLA has scored over the past two years. Who will give Golden directions to the the Southern California high school coaches who that are presently sending their youngster to UCLA. Neuhisel has not recruited the PAC 10 in six years. And, if you review his success in recruiting Washington state players while he was at the University of Washington you will see that he did not do well. Another brother of mine and DeWayne is a 1975 University of Washington gradaute. His greatest complaint against Neuheisel is not that he lied and cast a cloud over his alma mater for recruiting violations, it is that Neuheisel lost the recruiting edge in the state of Washington that Don James spent a quarter of a century building. My UW brother claims that Willingham has had slow success at UW over the past three years because it has taken him that long to retake the state. If anyone believes that Neuheisel and Golden can go where DeWayne and Scott have been the last two years and bring those recruits to UCLA they should rethink their position. DeWayne’s contacts in the southern california area comes from actively recruiting that area since the mid-1990s. He recruited Southern California for BYU, UCB and now UCLA. Many of the high school coaches in the Los Angeles County area are men he has known since childhood, played against in high school and at PCC. Remember, it was DeWayne who recruited Steve Sarkesian to BYU. If DeWayne were to leave UCLA, and believe me I have no information that he will, I can assure you that the present recruiting relationships presently established have yielded the best two recruiting classes in recent memory will not be duplicated in the near future. His 20-year work history as a football coach does not need to include his superior coaching job Saturday night. To characterize him as a “hack” as some sites have is beyond reproach. Such a characterization is inacurate and unduly hateful. I have followed UCLA football since the days of Red Sanders. My two favorite player on the 1954 champtionship team were Hardiman Cureton and Jack Ellena. I remember every head football coach hired at UCLA since Red Sanders. Vermiel and Donohue did not have coordinator experience. I am not arguing with the criteria Mr. Guerrero deems necessary to hire the next coach. That is his call. I only make reference to this to remind DeWayne’s detractors that Neuheisel, Golden or any past UCLA head coach other than Pepper Rogers or Tommy Prothro could go into Wednesday’s interview with a body of work superior to my brother. Lastly, it pains me to say that Pete Carroll appears to be smarter than the UCLA administration. Remember, DeWayne was Pete’s first hire at USC. He named him Associate Head Coach. Why do you think that was? Pete realized that when he was hired at USC,that he had no contacts at the Southern California high schools. DeWayne did. Pete also had the awareness to hire Kirby Wilson, the present running backs coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kirby is a Dorsey High School graduate. Along with DeWayne, Kirby and Hackett holdover, Olgeron, Pete hit the ground with an experienced recruiting cadre. If you recall, even though Pete began his recruiting late, he was able to sign several highly sought after recruits that formed the basis for his present program. He was able to recruit the Los Angeles inner city because of DeWayne and Kirby. Pete needed a map to find g B High School in 2001. I again thank all of you for indulging me but it so pains me to see the level of misinformation on the other blogs.
    Wallace L. Walker

  3. Bobby said

    My comments are in bold throughout.

    To the “editor”… I think thats me.

    Do you truly believe Walker to be irreplaceable? That to lose him would be truly and forever devastating to the UCLA program? If you do, why aren’t Ohio State and Florida and USC lining up to fire their coaches and hire DW? It’s easy: They’re racist.

    But seriously, Pete Carroll, Urban Meyer, and Jim Tressel have all won national championships. Personally, I wouldn’t fire any of them. But that’s just me 😛

    It’s a serious question. The market forces tend to show where demand exists. And right now, there seems to be very little demand for DW, outside of a DC position at UW. Miami wants him too. And look at those boards. They are DYING for him. From 113th to 35 in total defense. 3rd best third down conversion rate in the country, despite a bottom of the barrell offensive time of possession. Recruits like nobody’s business. Assuming you were right and people didn’t want him (which they do) then good for us. No one wanted Pete Carroll, remember?

    Once again, UCLA fans have deluded themselves into thinking that, even if most unproven head coaches do not succeed, THIS one will be different. I have NEVER looked at a single assistant head coach anywhere and had such strong feelings as I do about DeWayne Walker. I completely understand where you are coming from on this. Please read this post, entitled UCLA’s long distinguished history of promoting assistant coaches. I understand this issue, and I have not ignored it. Also, did any of those assistants have a website out there like this? Only at UCLA have they discovered a gold mine of assistant coaches; a wellspring of untapped talent that the rest of the sports world has been too obtuse or too stupid to recognize.

    Ask Steve Lavin, Larry Farmer, Walt Hazzard, Bob Toledo and Karl Dorrell how that kind of thinking worked out. I never felt any of those coaches were close to DeWayne. TRUST me Bobby. I know what you mean, but I really really really think Walker is completely different. I’m willing to stake my reputation on it.

    Any coaching hire is a risk. So the goal should be to minimize the risk involved. Walker has never hired an OC before and doesn’t appear to have any offensive philosophy of his own. Do you trust him to hire one? Some rumors have him liking Al Borges, whose Auburn offense just finished about 111th in the country. Is that what you want?

    Al Borges was UCLA’s coordinator when they had considerable success wasn’t he? And I agree a coaching hire is a risk, but there is a complicated calculus involved here. I’m weighing the risk of hiring walker against his ceiling and to me the benefits of the latter trump the former by far.

    With Walker, here is what you will get: A good, but not great, defense in most years. Susceptibility to the spread offenses. And you will have wild inconsistency on offense, as DW shuffles through an array of coordinators trying to find the right one. When it doesn’t work out in his first 2 years, people will say, “Give him time, he’s learning.” Then you give him a pass for a couple of years after that, saying, “He finally has enough of HIS players to make it work.” Then, when there is little progress and he gets fired, it’s 2014 and we haven’t done anything as a football program since before Richard Nixon was elected President. Given the talent he’s recruited recently, you will have a great/consistent excellent defense whose depth and breadth will be able to fight spreads. DeWayne has been coaching for a long time. With Bellicheck, Carroll, and Mariucci, among others. Coaches respect him and I’m sure he’ll nab a great coordinator. I have a tremendous amount of faith in him.

    Can’t wait. Neither can I. Thanks for the comments, you make a good argument that all UCLA fans should consider.

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