In this segment, questions on next year’s record for the football team and who will get the UCLA job if Jim Mora ever decides to leave.
So what is your imprerssion of Pat Haden as athletic director. We know about Iron Mike — unrefined, combatitive, and imperious, but he could also fire up the base like no other AD in USC history.
Haden seems to be more concilliatory and more refined, but he pisses off alumni with his golly-gee superlatives and his “Trust me, I am a Rhodes Scholar” attitude. The press seems to love him because he is much more media savvy than Garrett, but are there apsects of Haden’s personality that are rubbing people the wrong way inside Hertiage Hall and keeping him from doing a better job and getting along with alumni?
A: I think Haden wants to be seen as supporting coaches, i.e. not firing Lane Kiffin. He is also highly sensitive in making sure he supports all sports, not just football. And I think he is very accessible with the media.
Now I think if you talked to Kevin O’Neill, he might say there wasn’t a lot of support for the basketball program or that Haden wasn’t real hands on with the second-biggest sport at USC. But if that is true, it is no different than Mike Garrett, who was often unconcerned or uncomfortable dealing with basketball.
I’m aware there is a split inside Heritage (or the University Village) on working for Haden. But the bottom line is people judge on AD at USC one thing: Is football winning?
So right now, he has some work to do.
Q: Ben Doverz
My prediction for next season, 8-5 with Browne being the QB. What say you?
A: I would say it is possible. I don’t want to make any predictions this early in the year. But I can’t rule out your record if Lane Kiffin’s “lost the locker room” as I’ve heard from some sources and ESPN also reported last week.
I would have laughed at someone who predicted 7-6 a year ago. And it happened. So right now I am being cautious. I don’t think Max Browne will start the opener. I think Max Wittek will. But if Wittek struggles, then I expect to see Browne get a chance.
Q: Sam Gilbert
Who will replace Jim Mora if/when he leaves UCLA for the NFL?
A: As I write this I’m reminded that John Harbaugh was once a candidate for the UCLA job. Wonder how that would have turned out. If Mora leaves, the job is certainly more attractive than when he arrived.
I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like Nevada coach Brian Polian or Arkansas State coach Bryan Harsin are candidates if they are successful in their new jobs.
After the whole Sun Bowl debacle, from arrival to the game, Kiffin rising to #1 Hot Seat, Chip Kelly moving to NFL and all the NFL turnover, how likely is it that powerful alums can get Haden to fire Kiffin now?
A: Not likely. Haden seems firmly committed to bring Kiffin. I’m curious now what the benchmark is for next season. Will Haden bring him back with eight wins? Nine? Who will support keeping him?