Wednesday, December 14, 2011
'Not a normal situation' for UCLA coaches
By Peter Yoon
The fate of UCLA's coaching staff remains in limbo Wednesday, even after incoming coach Jim Mora met with each coach individually Tuesday after noon.
The holdovers from Rick Neuheisel's staff will remain on board to coach the team through the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 31, but Mora, who attended practice Wednesday for about 15 minutes but did not speak with reporters, is expected to bring in his own assistants.
He has already hired Washington cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin and is close to adding Arizona State offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, SMU offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, and Arizona State receivers coach Steve Broussard. Marques Tuiasosopo, recently named quarterbacks coach, is also expected to remain on as tight ends coach, but that leaves little room for the other current coaches.
"I talked to him briefly but we didn’t talk about anything whether I was going to stay or if I was going to go," interim coach Mike Johnson said.
Johnson previously served as offensive coordinator and receivers coach, so bringing Mazzone and Broussard aboard could mean Johnson's chances are slim, however there is no indication what jobs those coaches will have at UCLA. Johnson could also remain as quarterbacks coach.
"I’ll just have to wait and see what happens," Johnson said. "I have to look at all my options and then I’ll go from there. I like UCLA. I like L.A. and if the right opportunity comes up, I’ll definitely look at it."
Jim Mastro has reportedly already agreed to take a job with Mike Leachat Washington State. Mastro was not at practice for the fourth consecutive day, but that is because of a personal matter and not the Washington State job. Mastro will be back for the bowl game.
Also, defensive coordinator Joe Tresey left practice midway through Wednesday's session. Johnson said Tresey had to attend to a family matter, but acknowledged the regime change is a trying time for the staff.
"It’s a situation that is not normal," Johnson said. "It’s not a normal situation. You have guys that have things they have to do to take care of themselves. It’s a situation where we’re coaching a football team and some guys don’t have jobs after the 31st of December."
Johnson is reportedly a candidate for the open head coaching job at Akron, though he said he hadn't heard anything further on that front. For now, he said, he's focused on getting the team ready for the bowl game.
"All I worry about is what I do day to day," Johnson said. "That’s how I’ve always lived my life. I’m very confident in my abilities. I know I’m capable of doing a high job if given the opportunity. If someone wants to go on a different direction, that’s their right. I’ll find a job somewhere if it comes to that. But at the same time, Jim Mora has a job to do and I can respect that. If I’m part of that, then I’m part of that. If not then I can deal with that also."