The waiting game is over in Westwood: UCLA Bruins offensive coordinator Norm Chow's contract extension has been bought out, and his replacement, Mike Johnson of the 49ers, installed as OC. It's a homecoming of sorts for Chow, who has never coached at Utah but attended college there, playing as a guard from 1965-67. Both universities have issued press releases (UCLA's here; Utah's here) making things nice and official. SB Nation Los Angeles parses the UCLA document, taking special note of Rick Neuheisel's stated desire to take a more hands-on role in the operations of his offense:
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.
Utah's offense the last two seasons has lacked an identity. I think much of this is due to the inexperience of both Dave Schramm and Aaron Roderick. Neither could really produce a sustainable offense over the past two years and because of that, a change needed to be made. With Chow, you bring in instant credibility - but more importantly, a coach who has proven over the course of a long career that he does have an identity.
Prepare to hear a lot more about this for the entire rest of the year, but the date grudge-holders will want to circle in red on their calendars is November 12, when the Utes host the Bruins for the schools' first meeting in Pac-12 play.