Bruin Blue with a sobering look on how the Dorrellistas have enabled the ravaging of UCLA football. What BB writes is fairly upsetting but I agree with pretty much all of it. GO BRUINS. –N
Watching the last minute of Saturday's game tick away was an unusual experience. There was the realization that this certainly marked the end for Karl Dorrell. That is something that most of us here have been wanting for a long time; some of us from the very first day that he was hired. And at times it seemed as if it were not going to happen; so it has to be gratifying to know that this will be Dorrell's last season in Westwood. But then the realization begain to grow as to just what awful damage he and his enablers have done to our football program. It is not likely that this damage will be easily undone.
I well remember when Dorrell was hired, just how terribly upset I was, because I knew that this inexperienced Donahue disciple had little chance to do anything positive here. And after I heard him speak, I was even more upset, to hear how uninspiring and inarticulate he was. As the first season began, it was almost immediately obvious that he was unqualified to be head coach here. But of course I knew that he would obviously be given several more seasons, no matter how badly he did. And I also knew that, as with all our other incompetent coaches over the years, Dorrell would have a whole cadre of supporters, who would attack and condemn any people would would dare to point out the truth.
If someone had access to archives, he could read the myriad of essays and forum posts in favor of Dorrell. There were of course all of the newspaper stories telling us how wonderful he was. There was really no one in the entire Los Angeles media who was either bright enough or honest enough to tell the truth. So the 6-6 season came and went; and we got to read about how Dorrell was learning; and that now that Steve Axman was no longer there, big improvement would be seen. Of course, there was no improvement, there was another miserablle season of 6-7. That should have done it, but of course it did not. Dorrell still had his large group of supporters, whose defense of him just became more vociferous the worse he did. Then (to speed through this misery) we had that almost miraculous 10-2 year, followed by 7-6; more changes of coordinators; more babble from Dorrell about turning the corner; more puff pieces from the L.A. media; and still all those people who fought and argued and demanded that Dorrell be given more time.
So now here we are we are, with still another season ruined. And now we will finally get to have a new coach. And hopefully, after another defensive debacle, we will not hear any more about DeWayne Walker, but will actually get a real coach. And that should make us feel good. But I don't feel all that good, because it is beginning to sink in just how far down this program is. I don't think that this is something that even a fine new coach can fix in even two years. It took the great Ben Howland two years to get the basketball program back to being competitive, but it's obviously easier to rebuild quickly in basketball, particularly with all of our cachet in that sport. In football, I think we're looking at two pretty bad seasons, even if we make a homerun hire. And if we dont--if we only bring in a "pretty good" coach--we may be looking at five. I know that sounds bleak; and I don't like feeling that way, but this is what Dorrell and his minions have brought us to.
I don't think we have a quarterback. Olson is a hard-trying guy, but he has glaring flaws. I'm not at all sure he'll be back. Cowan is a competitor, but he is really not a major college QB. Now we have the dawning of Rashan, but no one should make the mistake of thinking that one impressive half against a pretty bad Arizona team which had not scouted or prepared for him, means that Rashan can play big-time college QB. Certainly his only chance would be in a system that was especially designed for him; one in which the pass was very much underemphasized. You certainly don't want to look for a coach who runs an option offense, just because it better suits Rashan. I really think that UCLA wants to run a productive offense which features more rollouts and maybe a little option, which is what most of the really good offenses in college football do. And I don't really see Rashan starring in that kind of attack, though maybe I'm wrong. That leaves Forcier, and he had better be awfully good. We can see that Dorrell and Company's recruiting deficiencies have left us with some real problems. In addition, we lose many of our starters to graduation. And I don't think that the recruiting of the last two or three years has been nearly what it should be, with all those 2- and 3-star players which Dorrell's cult kept telling us were "high-quality kids, with a lot of upside."
Well, I could go on, writing about how good Arizona State is going to be in this league as long as Erickson stays here; and how USC, even if Carroll were to leave, will be better next year with a real quarterback in Mustain, and so on. The schedule is so difficult next year that 4-8 is a real possibility. And that of course will be another nice gift that Dorrell will have given us--leaving us with mostly mediocre talent, and the need for the new coach to completely change our attitude and our fundamentals. That is what happens when you make such a dreadful mistake in hiring; and then you compound it by almost willfully keeping the coach despite the mounting criticism. Yes, they sure showed us naysayers. Now we'll be told to be patient; that the rebuilding process is going to take some time. We could have already had the rebuilding five years ago; but, no, we were obliged to try out an affirmative action hire who was vetted by Donahue and his little corps of ex-players. So we have had to suffer for five long years, and almost certainly another two or three before we might possibly actually have a program which is good enough to make some BCS waves, and have ESPN Gameday come and visit us, like they did Oregon this weekend.
That of course brings us squarely back to the hiring process. Whom should we hire? Whom can we hire, particularly with all of these other schools, many with bigger budgets, being possible direct competitors to us? Dorrell also will leave us with another parting gift; the fact that our talent level is so comparatively weak that it may be that a coach we want will choose another program where the rebuilding task is not nearly as daunting. That is why I and so many here pushed for Dorrell to be fired last year, when the new coach would have had the prospect of some pretty good returning talent to work with. Now, if Chris Peterson is offered our job, along with that of Nebraska, say, and perhaps Texas A&M or even MIchigan, is he really likely to choose Westwood? We can only hope so, but it won't be easy to convince him. What if we actually try to go after Bobby Petrino, only to see that Tennessee, LSU (if Carr retires and Miles goes to Michigan) and Arkansas are willing to pay big bucks to him? There is no obvious choice--someone like Tommy Prothro who was a top assistant here; or like Howland who grew up here and always wanted this job. There is no one out there, to my knowledge, who has dreamed about being UCLA football coach, unless it's Mike Leach, whom I absolutely do not want. So I think that we are going to have to play for big stakes, and be willing to go all out and offer a lot of money--more than that $1.2 million we have been talking about. If not, we could be ending up with a second-tier coach, someone either decent but not great, or possibly a promising assistant coach. Given those choices, I'd rather have the latter; someone with great promise, rather than some of the hack coaches I have seen mentioned in other places.
Here are some coaches I DO NOT want, and why:
- Mike Leach. Because he cannot coach defense, and will be eaten up by the offenses in this league. Because he's something like 3-18 against ranked teams.
- Brian Kelly. Because he really hasn't proven all that much. Taking D;Antonio's Cincy team and winning some games in his first year, is not enough. How many big-time teams has he beaten in his career?
- Kirk Ferentz. Because he's really not a very good coach, despite some mid-career success at Iowa
- Norm Chow. Because he's 62 and has never been given a head coaching offer.
- Rocky Long. Because he's not a particularly good coach.
- Greg Schiano. He's had one good year in his life
- Pat Hill. He's a hack.
Okay, whom does that leave us with? Not all that many, really. There's my first choice, Chris Peterson. There's Navy's Paul Johnson. Randy Edsall of Connecticut. Schottenheimer. Cowher, both big longshots. Petrino, another fantasy hire. Jim Grobe of Wake, maybe. After that, Dan Guerrero is going to have to come up with the best young assistant in the country.
So that is what Mr. Dorrell and all of his supporters will have left us with. And I am very angry about the fact that we who knew better are left in this situation, where we are going to have to practice even more patience over the next few years. And of course all of those Dorrell cultists will say, "Who, me?," as they join in the discussions about the coaching search, and mostly come up with stupid ideas along the lines of the other bad coaches they have supported so vehemently. And if we somehow manage to come up with a big-time coach, of course they will be right there enjoying the fruits of a rejuvenated UCLA football program. And as far as I am concerned, they really don't deserve to, after all they have put us through.