BYU will not face UCLA All-America defenders Bruce Davis, Trey Brown and Chris Horton in Provo in 2008. They will see quarterback Ben Olson. And, according to Deseret Morning News sources, the Cougars almost got a chance to go against Tennessee Titan offensive coordinator Norm Chow next fall.

How close was the Chow deal in Westwood to become UCLA's next head coach, replacing fired Karl Dorrell?

Last week, as the Bruins prepared to meet BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl, sources close to Olson say Chow called the Bruin quarterback a minimum of two times. During the phone calls, Chow said he looked forward to working with Olson as the head coach next season.

Then last Thursday, about the time UCLA's chancellor formally interviewed Baltimore Ravens and former UCLA quarterback Rick Neuheisel for the job opening, something happened with Chow and he publicly withdrew his name from consideration for the job.

The favored candidate by Bruin players, however, is the current interim coach, former BYU secondary coach DeWayne Walker.

"Let's not beat around the bush," Davis told the Deseret Morning News last Thursday, "I want DeWayne Walker to have this job.

"He came in here and turned this defense around. We were the second worst defense in the world at one point. He then got us to be a top 10 defense with four all-Americans. That was a defense people said was terrible."

"He has a plan. He's studied under the best minds in the NFL. I want to put on a show for him (in the Las Vegas Bowl) so there is no doubt in anybody's mind," said Davis, who added that Walker had brought a swagger back to the Bruin defenders and could do so with the offense.

In the meantime, UCLA chancellor Gene Block has given return interviews to Temple's Al Golden and Neuheisel and has put off finishing interviews with Walker until after Christmas.

E-mail: [email protected]