The UCLA Bruins will look for their third straight victory on Saturday as they head to Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City to face the Utah Utes. While the game will be decided on the field, much of the focus will be the reuniting of Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel and Utes offensive coordinator Norm Chow.
Chow was offensive coordinator for the Bruins under Neuheisel for three seasons before essentially getting forced out after last season. Mike Johnson was hired as offensive coordinator while Chow still had two years remaining on his contract. Chow eventually worked out a buyout with UCLA and accepted a job at his alma mater in January. At issue between Neuheisel and Chow was control over the quarterback coaching.
"We both feel like we know the quarterback position. We had lots of great conversations about quarterbacking, passing offense, and so forth. I enjoyed that banter. I learned from him. Whether or not he learned from me you'll have to ask him," Neuheisel said on Monday.
"I tried to give Norm his space. You don't want to confuse a guy because of the language he's hearing. Sometimes I may say the same thing Norm is saying but I'm saying it differently so it gets a different result," Neuheisel said. "I worked hard at trying to give room, but as things started to go in different directions I yearned for that responsibility again, so I'm excited to have it now."
|UCLA Offense Under Norm Chow, Pac-10 Ranks|
Neuheisel deflected any talk of blame for the offensive struggles on either Chow or himself. "I don't think the reason that we didn't have as much success was at all because of a rift between Norm and I," Neuheisel said. "It was a case of too many injuries to be able to sustain any level of consistency, whether it be at the quarterback position or the offensive line and protection issues."
Neuheisel said he and Chow spoke once this season, after Utah's win over BYU on September 17. He doesn't expect much interaction with Chow this week, other than before the game on Saturday. "I enjoyed my time with Norm, and enjoyed getting to know his family. I'm happy they're having some success. I just would like it to stall for one particular day and wish them well the rest of the time."
Saturday's 3:30 p.m. PDT game will be televised by Prime Ticket. For for UCLA football news and analysis, be sure to read Bruins Nation.