Trying to overhaul an offense that was near the bottom of the country in several categories, UCLA officially made a change today at offensive coordinator, hiring Mike Johnson, who was most recently offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. The hiring of Johnson all but assures the end of Norm Chow's tenure at UCLA, who is reportedly headed for the same position with the Utah Utes. UCLA made the Johnson hiring official today.
Head coach Rick Neuheisel will have a more direct role in the offense, more than he did with Chow as his offensive coordinator:
"During my assessment of our program, I felt it was necessary for me to be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the offense," 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."
Of course, with new responsibility comes a target for Neuheisel. The Bruins ranked 99th out of 120 FBS teams in total offense in 2010, and were 115th in passing yardage. For Neuheisel, who is 15-22 in three seasons with UCLA, he won't have assistants to blame if the Bruins falter again.
Meanwhile, Chow is close to being named offensive coordinator at Utah, reported Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times. Foster reported that Chow and UCLA were negotiating the buyout of his contract, and that an announcement could be made as soon as today. Utah, which joins the Pac-10 conference next season, hosts the Bruins on November 12.
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