Conservative ...

... is another word for Dorrellian Donahue football.

It's not something I want to see associated with Rick Neuheisel's offense at UCLA. From Tracy Pierson at BruinReportOnline.com (emphasis added):

I know, calling UCLA’s offense conservative is about the dirtiest word you could use to describe it, after coming off a long six years of a mind-numbingly conservative offense under Karl Dorrell.

But, Bruin fans, sometimes you have to use dirty words to aptly describe how it is.

Also, under the coaching-blame umbrella, you have to list the penalties and the poor management of the play-calling and personnel. After a bye week in which the coaches repeated that they needed to clean up the penalties, once again UCLA’s penalties were huge in determining the outcome of this game. And, it’s inexplicable that UCLA sometimes struggles in the management of the offense. In this game, and in previous games this year and last season, UCLA 1) struggled to get the play in, 2) struggled to get in the right personnel for a certain play, 3) had a number of mis-assignments or busted plays, 4) had to call a timeout to get everything right or 5) wasted precious seconds (in this game, 35 seconds on UCLA’s second to last drive) when it could have called a timeout but waited to do it, probably because there was a problem with one of the first four things on this list, or a combination thereof.

UCLA seems to struggle with these issues more than other programs. And you really can’t blame the players; compared to other programs, UCLA is generally younger, but its players are generally smarter, right?

There seems to be a problem with the discipline of the team. And that falls at the feet of the coaches.

For most of last season, you could clearly see that UCLA was at a disadvantage in terms of talent. There was a clear talent deficit. But now, this season, and in this game, it’s clear that UCLA has some talent. Stanford was good, and actually pretty talented, and will probably fare pretty well against the Pac-10 (I’d be surprised if they don’t beat Cal). Last season the primary problem was the lack of talent on UCLA’s offensive line, but that really wasn’t an issue in this game. Early on, it opened impressive holes for its running backs, before Stanford adjusted and dedicated more defenders against the run, and it provided good pass protection throughout the game. Going up against the best team UCLA had faced yet this season, the Cardinal, it was clear that UCLA’s offensive line was now talented enough to enable the offense to be effective. There was no longer the talent deficit on the OL, which is the primary determining factor in how an offense will perform.

So, really, you shouldn’t worry about whether UCLA is getting enough talent. It’s clear that, in just Neuheisel’s second year, he’s bringing in talent that can play at this level, and even be among the elite in the conference. In recruiting, the program’s on track. It’s clear that this season will be a step forward in terms of a talent upgrade, and it’s reasonable to expect that there will be another step up for 2010 and another for 2011.

But for UCLA to go where we all want it to go, the issues that fall under the coach-blame umbrella have to be "cleaned up."

Can't agree more with Tracy. You should read rest of his outstanding analysis over at BRO (which is not behind the subscription firewall at the time of this post).

Let me make it clear. I still believe in Rick Neuheisel and am excited about the direction of our program under him. There is no excuse for what took place in Palo Alto yesterday. That was a winnable game. 

Of course Staford deserves due credit for executing an outstanding game plan on their part and putting together a solid program with a great coach at helm (who IMHO will eventually end up either in Ann Arbor or the NFL). However, that doesn't mean we will stay quiet in the name of blind supporting our head coach for putting together a questionable offensive game plan and an unprepared and unfocused team after two weeks off.

The good thing about Neuheisel is that he seems to be the first UCLA head football coach in decades who is in tune with Bruins Nation and who is aware of the existence of an "entire world that bleeds blue and gold." While we have been dying for what took place in Neyland stadium three weekends ago, what we have been really dying for is a team who gives that kind of effort every Saturday (not just once or twice a year like the listless UCLA football teams have done since the departure of Cade McNown).

Hope you get the message coach. We are counting on you (and rooting for you) to prove yesterday's conservatism was an aberration.

GO BRUINS.

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