Rick Neuheisel's situation in Westwood as UCLA Bruins head coach might be more tenuous than ever after getting plastered in Tucson by a not-so-good Arizona Wildcats squad, but it doesn't look as if his boss is about to let him loose. Athletic director Dan Guerrero is sticking by his hire, at least for a little longer.
"Rick is my coach," Guerrero said after watching the lopsided loss. "I don't know who is talking about him being relieved early, but it's certainly not me. He's a great Bruin. I want to see him succeed.
"We'll evaluate at the end of the year like we always evaluate and make determinations (of) what we're going to do at that point. But right now, all this talk about him staying or him going, that does nothing for our team that is trying to regroup and go out there every week and play hard and try to win football games."
Guerrero's stance makes sense--UCLA still has plenty to gain from this season, and making an in-season change would probably be a little too dramatic at this juncture. The Bruins, despite the embarrassing loss, still can win the Pac-12 South by winning out, and still have a great shot at bowl eligibility if they can win the majority of their games. UCLA going 7-5/6-6 is not out of the realm of possibility given that the team's remaining games in-conference are absolutely winnable.
It's not likely getting to a bowl will save Rick either though. He might have to get his team to the Pac-12 title game AND win it. Guerrero had this to say on his blog.
"I certainly believe that, based on what I have seen in the first three conference games, the 2011 team has improved over last year, though we are still not where we ultimately want to be as a program. Nevertheless, our coaching staff and players are working hard to get better every week and to improve upon the previous week's performance. Among the expectations for this year is to get back into a bowl game; to not accomplish this goal for a second consecutive season would be a disappointment. But be assured that returning to a bowl is just one of several steps we need to take to get this program to the level we all desire."
To discuss more on the Neuheisel situation, head to Bruins Nation.