Might Walker and Verner leave UCLA?

December, 22, 2008
12/22/08
6:47
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker's name continues to bounce around. He's talked to New Mexico State about its head coaching vacancy and he's apparently on a short list to become LSU's next defensive coordinator.

Meanwhile, the Bruins second-team All-Pac-10 junior cornerback Alterraun Verner is considering his NFL prospects.

Needless to say, these are potentially two big blows to the UCLA defense in 2009.

Walker should think long and hard before taking a dead-end job like New Mexico State, though the fact that he's seriously considering it shows how desperate some of the top black assistant coaches are to get head coaching jobs.

Turner Gill had long been a head coaching candidate who kept coming in second or third place, so he took the Buffalo job, which most saw as a doomed-to-failure decision. By force of will and personality, he made it work.

And he almost got the head coaching job at Auburn.

Perhaps Walker envisions going all Dr. Frankenstein over New Mexico State would be the final star on his already-solid resume so he could get a good head coaching job.

As for Verner, he's no can't-wait-to-ditch-the-books rube: He's a two-time, first-team All-Academic selection in the Pac-10.

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