By Gary Montgomery, Staff Writer –
What can a head coach say after a 35 point shutout by a conference opponent? You probably wouldn’t want to hear what Rick Neuheisel told his team in private, but in public, Nueheisel’s position was grim but still optimistic.
“Tonight was a rough night for UCLA Football. Congratulations to Stanford,” Said Neuheisel. “We were not very good on offense. We lost our ability to run the football and we looked like an offense that’s spinning its wheels."
Neuheisel’s assessment of his team’s performance was heartfelt but the Bruins troubles go much deeper than a mere one game meltdown. The truth of the matter is simple – UCLA does not have sufficient experience or talent at enough positions to achieve any level of football sustainability at this time. It is the same problem that UCLA has faced for nearly a decade irrespective of the Coaching staff in charge.
Actually, coming into year three of his five year deal, Neuheisel’s program has not achieved an equal level of success as his predecessor at this same point in time. Karl Dorrell entered his third year with a top 25 ranking.
Although a week four thrashing at the hands of Charlie Weis and the Fighting Irish ended that run and UCLA spiraled back to survival mode.
But, the facts remain and when studied shine a light of suspicion on the long accepted practice of firing one coach and hiring another to solve all that ills a football program. Norm Chow’s offense mustered only 81 total passing yards. This proves that being the Guru of all football means nothing without the players to execute the system. “We’ve got to make the tough decisions and see who’s ready to play. “To think it would be a struggle tonight, we could not have imagined it,” said Neuheisel.
Again, the facts trump Neuheisel’s optimism. The facts are that eight years and two coaches into the rebuilding process UCLA’s football program is still clearing out the parking lot by half time.
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