Mike Johnson interested in UCLA job
Mike Johnson, UCLA's interim football coach, would like to be considered for the permanent job, he said Sunday.
Johnson, the Bruins' offensive coordinator this season, is coaching UCLA through the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Illinois on Dec. 31 because Rick Neuheisel was fired last week.
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"I think anyone who works in this profession would have an interest in coaching UCLA, so to answer that question, yes, I would be," Johnson said. "And it's a situation where I've been asked to be the interim coach to get us to Dec. 31st and that's what I'm going to do."
Johnson said he has not spoken with athletic director Dan Guerrero about the open position. He is scheduled to meet with Guerrero and associate athletic director Bob Field this week regarding the preparation for the bowl game.
"If that comes up then we'll definitely talk about it," Johnson said. "But as of right now, we have not had any conversations towards that."
UCLA has been turned down by Boise State coach Chris Petersen, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions, and eliminated Houston coach Kevin Sumlin as a candidate after meeting with him on Saturday, according to a source. Al Golden of Miami is considered the next top target, though Golden recently signed a four-year contract extension at Miami.
Johnson's resume includes two seasons as offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers, including most of the 2010 season as offensive coordinator. He also served as wide receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens and quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons, where he tutored Michael Vick.
He said he hopes the coaching search will not affect the team's preparation for the bowl game and that should a hire be made between now and the bowl game, it won't affect his status.
"I'm going to coach the bowl game, so I'm looking to Dec. 31st and getting the team there with the proper and necessary focus, and making sure that we're not distracted in any way," he said.
"If that happens, then it happens, but I've been asked to coach this team in the bowl game, get us ready in practice, and put together a plan that gives us the best opportunity to compete on Dec. 31st, and that's what I'm going to do."
Peter Yoon covers UCLA for ESPNLosAngeles.com.