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My Thoughts on Chow to ucla

A Debt of Thanks

So the circle is complete.

First, I couldn't be more happy for Norm Chow and his family. He gets to do what loves to do in a city he has adopted as a place to live and he gets to do it in the spot light.

In my eyes I owe him a debt of gratitude for helping USC achieve all they have because of his influence and development of talent. There is no need to be bitter about is arrival across town and there will be no place for it here. Chow is no different than any other person out there that is seeking employment, he gets to pick and choose whom he wants to work for with no guarantees of success or acceptance. He gets to negotiate with whomever he wants and gets to set the terms that fit for him.

I understand this pretty well from my own personal experiences. This is how its done in the business world and I have no problem with it, when I changed jobs last year I took a job with a competitor and I took a lot of heat from the company I left and was scorned by people with the attitude of "how dare you, we gave you're your shot and this is how you repay us...." The bad in people comes out when they are either scared of the unknown or when they don't get their way. It would be sanctimonious for me to criticize Chow to pick and choose where he wants to work yet say its OK for me. That's hypocritical and I won't go down that road.

What it means in general

Regardless of what I think of ucla as a fan of USC this can only be good for the Pac-10 and the exposure that it will create for the conference. The powers at be in the conference continue to hamstring us with bad Bowl tie-ins and crummy TV deals so anything that gets the conference good exposure with some solid competitive games only helps to further put us on the map as a conference that should be taken seriously. Like them or not a strong ucla in football is a good thing for the rivalry between the two schools and the conference as a whole. I hope they lose every game as long as they do it competitively.

What it means for USC

It really shouldn't mean anything, the short sited part of the fan base will get all pissed off and badmouth Chow and such and that's a shame, there really isn't much they can do about it so why be petty. Take the high road and take it for what it is, a former employee that took a job with your competitor. I understand that some may not like it but there is nothing you can do about it.

Again, I think this is a good thing for SC. We have been in the spotlight for a number of years now and our accomplishments are well documented but I think that being under the spotlight has its drawbacks as well. With all the attention comes unreasonable expectations and hype that isn't at all justified. In the early part of the decade SC was the perfect storm of talent and coaching that came together to become one of the most impressive programs ever. SC's ability to stockpile and develop talent in such a short time is unprecedented and the results couldn't be more dramatic as the numbers speak for themselves.

But lets not get crazy, as great as Norm Chow was to us while he was here he was only part of the picture. Pete Carroll has been the one constant. I realize that some across town think that since Chow left we have underachieved or are even overrated, but that's shortsighted and misinformed. If true then why did Vince Young regress under Norm Chow? I realize that VY had a less than stellar O line and that the receivers were mediocre at best but if he is such a guru VY should have gotten better not worse. We all marveled at what VY did in college and in the MNC game but most of us thought that VY would be spectacular in the NFL but that hasn't happened yet. VY didn't just all of a sudden lose all of his talent and Norm Chow didn't all of a sudden lose his ability to develop QB's but one can't happen without the other.

The stars have to be perfectly aligned. Chow is great no doubt but he didn't hit the big time until he was USC. He did some good things at BYU but that's not a top-notch program. He did a good a job at NC State with Phillip Rivers but it not like NC State was in the hunt for a MNC. Chow hit lotto at SC because PC and Orgeron went out and recruited top talent. They got offensive linemen that gave Palmer and Leinart the chance to thrive so it all has to be part of the package. RN has not shown any of us that he is successful when 1) he follows the rules and 2) when he is using his recruits and his recruits only. Its obvious that RN has grabbed the headlines but now he has to produce on the field. I don't expect much this season as they have a very weak O Line so 2009 is the target year for things to get done. He has placed a ton of pressure on himself but will he be able to produce?

I am of the feeling that a lack of competition breeds complacency so again this will get the competitive juices flowing over in Heritage Hall. There will be no free lunch, Pete Carroll and his staff will need to be on their toes as the game is on. of that doesn't mean that they should be afraid of their own shadows but they will have to work a little harder in securing top recruits and work even harder at keeping the competitive edge when it comes to our cross town rivals.

That Being Said...

You didn't think this was going to be all ruffles and flourishes did you?

Whatever Chow's reasons are for going to ucla are his and his alone. It has long been speculated that Chow's leaving SC was under bad terms. I have been told off line that Chow's departure from USC and Pete Carroll was on good terms but I have yet to read that anywhere in the traditional media so while I respect the one source that told me things were cool between Chow and Carroll I tend to believe that there was great tension between the two.

I don't see Chow at ucla longer than 2-3 years. He is 61 and while his mind is no doubt sharp it doesn't take an idiot to see that he will only make what he is making for only 2 years. So once the Titans end of the contract is up he is only going to make coordinators money and that's a big step down. Slick Rick is all about Rick and he has a big ego of his own. He likes to call his own plays and run the show, so I wouldn't be surprised if there was tension between the two once the honeymoon is over.

If Chow did this with even a hint of revenge then this will end badly. That's not what he is about and if he allowed RN to talk him into the job with even a hint of that then it says a lot about Chow and not necessarily good. When you go for revenge make sure to dig two graves. It also wouldn't surprise me if RN hired Chow just to stick PC and USC in the eye, RN is all about making a splash. He's done that so now he needs to produce. Sure he will use Chow to help him get things off the ground, secure recruits and create a buzz but I think it will be short lived just like I think Dewayne Walker's tenure at ucla will be short lived. RN wanted Walker for one reason only, recruiting. Once RN gets a feel for the recruiting trails in L.A. and establishes his own contacts Walker will be dispatched and RN will put his own DC in place.

More important though, it doesn't matter who you have coaching or on the staff you still need the players to make it all come together. This string of comments from BN says it all:

better get some players, too, though

I think Norm and DeWayne are getting a little old to throw the ball and block.

by smayhew on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 11:50:00 PM EDT
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by geewhiz52 on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 02:39:37 AM EDT
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because he's right? I'm loving what RN is doing right now, but before I believe we're going to be competing for conference and national titles on a consistent basis, we're going to have to do something on the field. This staff is a great start to the RN era, but the real progress is made on the field so until we get top quality players, our coaches won't have the talent to take us where we want to go.

by ryebreadraz on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 02:45:17 AM EDT
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Yes, but you're failing to make a basic connection

that good coaches attract good players and can DO something with them once they are here!

The fact is that Dorrell had good players who were underutilized and poorly coached.

I think we do have a dream team of sorts when it comes to RN, DW, and NC at the helm.

by PeterUCLA on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:59:21 AM EDT
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has been a good recruiter, but not great. His results went down once he had his own players in place at both Colorado and Washington. DW has proven to be a good recruiter, but Chow has never been an overly good recruiter. Fact is that while we should be excited for the direction of the program, we are merely pointed in the right direction right now and have yet to get into the meat of this journey.

RN has pulled all the right strings so far, but what has he proven on the field thus far? Nothing and we shouldn't assume we're going to get where we want until we start seeing something on the field.

I'm not trying to bring people down, merely keep things in perspective. Even the best coaches can't get out on the field and play. The origin of all this was a comment someone made that our coaches can't play so they have to go out and get players. geewhiz shot down that poster, calling him a Trojan and saying it was a stupid remark. It is far from that because they do still have to go out and get players and then develop those players.

Excitement is fine, but lets try and put things in perspective. There's a long way to go and we can't just assume we're going to be great. Our Ben Ball Warriors assumed we would win Saturday and how'd that work out for them? You have to go out and get the job done and our football program has barely even gotten going on the job.

This all started with the quote "better get some players too, though." Damn straight we better and that's the next step. Let's not dismiss it and assume things are going to turn out perfectly.

by ryebreadraz on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 05:17:33 AM EDT
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I have always respected Rye's comments over there. He has the ability to make a reasoned argument without getting emotional and in this case he is dead on. The academic standards across town will make it more difficult to get some of those players and without those players I don't care how much magic you have produced in the past. You are only as good as the players you bring into program so if they don't meet the standards that are set by the school your pool of talent shrinks.

So congrats to Chow and ucla. Where this goes is anyone's guess. Frankly I am not worried; this is good for the rivalry and good for the Pac-10 but they haven't done anything yet and until they do they only thing that they have succeeded in doing is making some noise.

UPDATE: it is official on the ucla website.