Walker, Weis to Meet Again, as Opponents
The matchup to watch Saturday when UCLA plays Notre Dame at South Bend, Ind., will be the Bruins defense against the Irish offense.
It will feature a showdown between UCLA first-year defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker and Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis, who worked together as assistants with the New England Patriots for one season.
“We worked together for a short period,” Weis said about Walker, who coached the Patriots’ secondary from 1998 to 2000 under coaches Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. “He had been under Pete’s staff and when Bill came in, he stayed around.”
After leaving New England, Walker coached with the New York Giants under coordinator Johnnie Lynn, a former UCLA defensive back, and the Washington Redskins under coordinator Gregg Williams.
“They are obviously reaping the benefits of his coaching; they are ninth in the country in total defense,” Weis said about UCLA’s defense under Walker, who joined the Bruins’ staff this year.
“It’s interesting that he’s obviously picked up a couple of things. There’s definitely a Washington influence there.... He’s taken a little bit of what we did but he’s definitely developed his own personality and his own identity as far as how [UCLA] is playing.”
Despite giving up a season-high 30 points and 404 yards in a loss at Oregon last week, UCLA still leads the Pacific 10 Conference in total defense (252 yards allowed per game), run defense (84.3 yards), third-down conversions allowed (23.3%) and first downs allowed (90). The Bruins are also second in scoring defense (15.3 points) and pass defense (167.7 yards allowed).
Against Oregon, UCLA had 104 yards rushing and two touchdowns with junior Chris Markey rushing for 97 yards in 17 carries. With the Bruins’ passing game struggling under new starting quarterback Patrick Cowan, Markey said he wanted UCLA to rely on its ground attack.
“We could have run the ball more effectively on them,” said Markey, who is fourth in the Pac-10 in rushing at 98.17 yards per game.
After six games, UCLA’s longest completion to a wide receiver is only 25 yards, registered by junior Brandon Breazell.... Defensive tackle Chase Moline, sidelined because of a back injury, is expected to return to practice this week.... UCLA has played and lost twice to Notre Dame but has not faced the Irish since 1964. Offensive line coach Jim Colletto played in the 1963 and 1964 meetings, and worked as an assistant at Notre Dame in 1997-98.