Though head coach Rick Neuheisel was fired by the UCLA Bruins today, he will still lead the team this week in the Pac-12 Championship Game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. The Bruins are 30-point underdogs against the Ducks. Should the Bruins play in a bowl game this year, offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Mike Johnson will coach the team.
Johnson will assume interim coaching duties after Friday, while the school undergoes a national search for its next coach.
Johnson was hired by the Bruins in January, replacing Norm Chow. Johnson coached with Neuheisel with the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL in 2006 and 2007, and most recently Johnson was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers before coming to UCLA.
When Johnson was hired, 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." With Johnson leading the squad and a three or four weeks to prepare, it will be interesting to see what changes will be made, if any, to the Bruins' playbook.
Then there is the matter of UCLA even qualifying for a bowl. If they lose to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, the Bruins will be 6-7, though they are likely to petition the NCAA for bowl eligibility even though they would be under .500. Given USC's bowl ineligibility, there would only be six teams in the conference eligible for a bowl not counting UCLA.
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