Frankly, I am still swooning. It feels so good and so right to be really excited about UCLA football again. RN has so quickly said all the right things in just the right way, and has so deftly disarmed and charmed the media by taking the issues head-on that he has swept me off my feet. He has been very impressive.
Well, my new crush on RN has come from mere scraps of material. A few brief interviews in different papers, the UCLA press conference, and a couple of impromptu TV chats, most recently at the Rose Bowl yesterday.
That's it. A few days, a few snippets, a few glimpses, and I'm buzzed. If that's not charisma, of the very best kind, then I don't know what is. If I weren't so happily married, I'd think my compass needle was getting reoriented.
Anyway, because there have been so many good RN anecdotes and stories over the last few days, I thought I'd propose a "diary" of little RN anecdotes, impressions, stories, whatever, by the folks of BN. What did you like? What were your impressions? What hasn't been talked about much? There are so many people here who express themselves well, it will make for fun reading.
Not long essays, just little takes, little stories. The intent is not to canonize RN, just to do a little anecdote swapping, like BB's tale of the Alabama bank teller. Silly, probably, but it has been so long since I have felt this way. Please forgive me. I can't help it if I like reading this stuff and feeling this feeling again and again.
I'll kick it off with what I call the "Rick Neuheisel is UCLA's Rudy" story.
I don't remember all the facts, and I may be guilty of overdramatizing, but the story was of his early days as walk-on QB. The original article might have quoted his roommate at the time. Sorry; I'm not a journalist. If I have to, I'll try to find my "sources."
Anyway, as something like fourth-string QB, he would be the guy to play the part of their upcoming opponent's QB during the week's practice against the first team defense. Day after day, he'd come back to the room, battered and bruised, sometimes bloodied.
Yet, rather than feeling sorry for himself, he'd speak of how his role was important because, the better he played, and the better he mimicked the other guy, the better he'd prepare the defense. The better he was, the better the team would be. No self-pity. No pining for glory. Just exuberence in the joint effort, and thorough motivation in a mission. And, rock steadiness in his role.
That is EXACTLY the kind of guy I want heading UCLA football. Way to go, Dan.