Regular-season football has come to a close in the Rose Bowl, and the UCLA football program has a long winter ahead of it to ponder the team's future. Question marks abound, from the quarterback position right on up to the name on the head coach's office. Five pressing issues from our UCLA community, Bruins Nation, for 2011:
1. Is Rick Neuheisel's clock ticking? Bruins Nation wants less pretty words from their coach, and more pretty wins:
I will make this very clear: Rick Neuheisel has 12 games left as UCLA's head coach. If he does not win at least 8 of those, with a win over U$C, he should be fired. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. 8 wins with a victory over U$C next year or it's time to give him the ol' Karl Dorrell treatment.
The ouchiest point: At this point on their respective timelines, Dorrell was winninger than Neuheisel.
2. What about the rest of the staff? Chuck Bullough is understandably under some volcanic fire from the fanbase:
We all know that it is IMPOSSIBLE to win a game, let alone be competitive if you don't get pressure on the QB (the reason why Mario Williams was drafted ahead of Bu$h, when, at the time, Bu$h was more accomplished). So if you have 3 frosh in your front seven, you need to bring pressure in creative ways (our only effort was to line up Ayers at DE). But we didn't...all season.
3. And what of the Pistol? UCLA's new offensive scheme may require some, er, trigger-pulling on the sidelines:
If we’re going to run the Pistol offense as opposed to the Pro Style offense, I personally believe CNC needs to be let go. I don’t think it’s in CNC to master another offense when he’s been running his offense which he has perfected for decades. CNC is just a bad fit for the Pistol offense IMO. Instead of bringing in a Pistol expert, I’d rather see CRN hire a OC in name who is an up & comer and who has potential to be a full time OC in the future.
And as for who's going to run it:
I see a QB controversy brewing in the offseason. You have KP who believes he is still the starter, RB who believes it’s his team and Hundley who is the ideal fit for the Pistol.
4. There are plugins available for your program. On the bright side, the Bruins are stacked with skill players for next season who'll need to be utilized properly for success:
Our depth and skill at the RB/WR is the best it's been in a long long time. Franklin will be coming off a 1,000 yard season, although he desperately needs to get in touch with Tiki Barber to cure his fumbling woes. Malcolm Jones will split the heavy duties and I'm excited to see him break out. Derrick Coleman will provide depth in case anyone gets hurt.will be the scat back shifty runner (and I hope will be used in screens and empty backfield spread formations because he should be a matchup nightmare).
At WR, Rosario and Embree need to take a back seat. Marvray and Carroll are faster, hungrier and attack the ball with more intensity.
5. It's the institution, stupid. Is UCLA committed to priming the Bruins to compete? Be it financially or spiritually, certain segments of the fanbase aren't seeing the love from upstairs they think this program's earned:
The athletic department is profitable. Football is the cash cow for that whole house of cards. Would spending a couple a million dollars more on salaries for coaches really break the bank? I think not. We play in a venue capable of seating nearly 95k for football. Would it be worth several more millions in expenses for coaching/staff if it generated 8, 9, 10 win seasons with 85k fans in the stands every weekend? I think we can afford it.
See, despite being the ONLY school with over 100 NCAA championships, I don't get the impression that UCLA, as an institution, really cares about any of this. Now, I'll be the first to tell you that universities should always put academics ahead of sports, and I'm proud to say I went to a school where this is, for the most part, a true statement (as opposed to that other "school" in LA). But when the institution takes an entirely apathetic view towards athletics, it reflects not only in the product on the field (court, pool, etc.), but in the stands too.