Let’s stay with pigskin. CollegeFootballNews (CFN) has more on UCLA football. Specifically CFN’s Pete Fiutak from CFN posted a Q&A with Rick Neuheisel . Neuheisel doesn’t disappoint. You have to read the entire transcript, which will get you even more fired up than you already are for next season. I will flag three specific excerpts that pretty much drills down some key points from his vision of what it means to be the head coach of UCLA football. Here is CRN channeling the passion of Bruin Nation:
CFN: I’m a superstar recruit. USC and UCLA both have the great weather, the city, and the hot co-eds. Why should I be a Bruin instead of a Trojan?
RN: It’s UCLA. UCLA is a special place. That’s not to say USC isn’t, but when you walk on this campus and you set foot in the John Wooden Center and go by the Arthur Ashe Student Wellness Center, the Jackie Robinson baseball stadium, the Ralph Bunche center, you realize there’s been a group of people who came here as students, athletes, and coaches, and who came here to do a job, but became so much more because of the opportunities UCLA afforded them. Young people can come here and realize that this is a place that can make them who they want to be; this is where they can really take off. USC has preached for years that you’re a Trojan for life while you go to UCLA for four years. I’m setting out to prove that that isn’t true. We’re going to make a full-fledged assault on that rumor.
CRN is going to find a lot of friends here who will be more than happy to do whatever within the rules to help him lead the charge. Plus it also helps CRN is entering the scene at a time when the marquee defining figures for the Southern Cal’s major sports programs – Bush & Mayo – do not exactly invoke the idea of "Trojans for life," while our alums are getting tighter with the program.
Anyway, let’s go back to the Q&A, in which CRN displays his confidence …
CFN: Being a Bruin for life, do you internally feel any extra pressure because this is your team. This is your program. Not to say you didn’t feel pressure everywhere else, but you’re a UCLA fan, not just a coach.
RN: Absolutely, but I don’t look at it as extra or added pressure. First of all, if you’re in this job, you’re nuts. You can’t be a head coach and not understand there’s going to be immense pressure to deal with no matter where you are. I say you’re nuts because you kind of have to like the pressure and the stress, otherwise, why be in it if you don’t enjoy it? Extra and added pressure doesn’t really factor into it. Bring it on and let’s go; that’s what we’re in this for.
… and his ability to provide pitch perfect answer for question posed to a Bruin head football coach:
CFN: Obviously you know the program inside and out, but when you got the job, what’s the best advice you got about coaching at UCLA?
RN: The best advice I got was from John Wooden. Coach Wooden has given a lot of advice in his life, and almost all of it very good, of course. He told me to not worry about the wins and losses. There will be huge pressure to win and lose, and if that’s all you focus on, you’ll never get the full satisfaction from the job. The full satisfaction comes from teaching the proper fundamentals of not only the game, but of life. And if your kids get that, and if you develop those kinds of relationships, then the wins and losses will come because they’ll buy in. And then you’ll achieve what all coaches set out to achieve which is that great balance between a great winning percentage and a positive influence on these kids’ lives.
Like I said pitch perfect.