Every season holds much promise and for UCLA football in 2011 it's quickly dissolving into disarray. In an earlier article I wrote, I stated I would evaluate UCLA midpoint. However, disappointment has crept in. We have won once in three tries.
ESPN is suggesting we move to the Mountain West. Fans are mounting letter writing campaigns to the Chancellor. Some want a more friendly admissions policy; one that would put UCLA on equal footing with other conferences. My fellow Bruin Blitzers want a coach with no previous ties to UCLA.
Change is not being advocated for change sake. That is never a good thing. Fans just want a good football team yearly. And expect a great team occasionally. One that will make each supporter and alumni/alumna proud.
It has been suggested that its the culture at UCLA beginning with the Chancellor. It is felt as long as this mediocrity breeds a profit, there is no real reason to change. And that is a sad state of affairs, indeed.
Yes, UCLA is strapped financially, given this year's tuition is $12,000 but so are other academic institutions who take pride in putting a solid product out there on the field.
What is wrong with UCLA? Can someone tell me?
Why UCLA doesn't jam the opposing team's receivers?
Why we DO NOT tackle anybody?
Why we refuse to put the beat down on the opposition?
Why we play so soft, milquetoast?
Why we do not make appropriate adjustments in-game?
Why we cannot decide who the QB is?
Why the HC refused to take the two INT guy OUT before falling behind by 21?
Why UCLA lacks the requisite intensity on every single play?
Why we fail to stop the opposition when demanded?
Why we refuse to be imaginative on offense and way too predictable on defense?
Why we seemingly have no pride?
Why is poor preparation a recurring theme?
Why are we running an offense in which we do no have the pieces to run it effectively?
Why it appears UCLA has given up?
Why we turned Case McCoy into the second-coming of Aaron Rodgers?
We have TALENT but we DO NOT USE IT properly. It's hard to believe the likes of Verner, Jones Drew, Moore, and Ayers attended UCLA and are thriving in the NFL. By that parameter, UCLA has had talent.
What of Coach Rick Neuheisel (CRN)? Is more time warranted? When is it too much time?
If the previous year CRN had been seven and five or eight and four, then this abysmal start might be considered an aberration. If he had shown steady improvement from year one to now, discussion as to his future is moot. No one would be talking or calling for his dismissal.
While I concede a coach needs time to build his program, CRN has had three recruiting classes to improve UCLA football. Yes, CRN is a good recruiter, but it has not translated onto the field of play and hasn't with any consistency since his tenure has begun.
Not every five-star will develop into an All-American nor is every two-star average. A good coach can meld these young men into a solid unit who play hard each and every Saturday.
The previous coach had a better overall record including a 10 and two season and a USC win on his belt, but he was relieved of his coaching duties for a variety of other reasons.
CRN loves to play experience over talent and while that can work, he needs to PUT THE BEST players on the field regardless of experience.
This insistence to play Prince regardless of performance is detrimental. Just like ole Cory Paus and Bob Toledo. Prince by all measure is a fine young man. He just sustains too many injuries to be dependably productive.
CRN's continued insistence on weekly evaluating the quarterbacks is counterproductive. Select one and roll with it.
Brehaut, however pedestrian he was against San Jose State University (SJSU) powerhouse, he earned the right to start against Texas. He has thrown no INT's and put up really good numbers against Houston on Sept 3, 2011 in relief of the often-injured Prince.
The highly touted Brett Hundley is unlikely to see much action this season–if at all. Perhaps I will be proven wrong. If UCLA continues down this trajectory, Hundley should play.
Texas played a lot of true freshmen and they played pretty error-free, while we were getting a bunch of routine and stupid penalties by players who should know better. Our grandparents would have looked pretty good against Texas with UCLA's shoddy tackling, undisciplined play, no match-up exploitation.
Gee, Joe Fauria is a 6 ft 8 target. Safeties and Corners average round 5 ft 11 and is he thrown to? Hardly. Any coach should be able to instill into his players how to tackle and not over pursue. The inability to tackle has been symptomatic of UCLA's defense for a long while.
Texas benched their starter due to his poor performance the week prior and sophomore Case McCoy came in and put a beat-down on us. That should not have happened. Getting down 21 midway through the first due to Prince's three INT's to start the game, it would be difficult for anyone to rally.
Football is relatively simple. You throw/pass, run, tackle, defend, move the chains, kick/punt, score. Repeat.
My dad loved UCLA for over 50 years and the roller coaster ride he endured was remarkable indeed. I know there are some like my dad. If my dad were here ( I lost him 3 years ago and the kind words CRN expressed to my family, we will never forget), his voice would be joined with those saying CRN should resign. And I am my father's daughter.
Winning begets winning. Winning equates to bigger bowls and larger payouts. Consistent winning keeps everyone satisfied. Winning attracts more student athletes to the program.
Are these fixable? Yes!
Can UCLA turn it around? Yes!
Question is, will they? Perhaps it's a question for Downey's Sherlock Holmes! A program depends on it.