Since the glory years of the late 90's we have suffered some huge blows to our program, some known, some unknown. Handicap Parking scandal, agents paying our players, Bob Toledo's demise.
At a school like UCLA, which has different academic standards for it's STUDENT athlete's, a different outlook on it's overall athletic dept (excellence in the top 2 sports, as well as the Olympic sports) and LA centric alumni base (glitz and glam, front runner types or ultra research oriented) which isn't sports crazed, you can't really turn it around overnite.
More after the jump....
It takes a step based measured approach. Which I feel is happening under CRN. I currently live in the Austin area and to see how the UT program vs our program there are huge differences. UT is a flagship school of the UT system and the football program has top notch everything at it's disposal. Their overall athletic dept cannot come close to our Bruins, but Football is king so their D-coordinator, who just left, was making just under a million a year, their head coach is making 5 million a year. They have a just expanded 100,000 seat on campus stadium, the biggest HD video screen in the world, the best football facilities and so on...
We beat them in their stadium 34-12!!! Despite all their advantages and recruiting classes we kicked their butt!! So even though we are not there yet we are on our way to playing with the big boys, but we have to do it the UCLA way... measured and step based progression.
Anyone take a look at our defense next year?? Experienced players in BOLD
DL - Cassius Marsh, Datone Jones, Brandon Willis, Owa, Nate Chandler, Keenen Graham, Damien Holmes, Epensa, Iuta Tepa, D. Carter
LB - Jordan Zumwalt, Pat Larimore, Sean Westgate, S. Sloan, I Bowens, Koster, Olayian, Kendricks, Love
DB - Shelton Price, Aaron Hester, Tony Dye, D. Riley, D. Hillard, S. McKay, C. Viney, A. Abbott, A. Jefferson, T. McDonald, Mascarenas, Damian Thigpen
We will be a dominant D within the next 2 years, if not next year. The talent, the depth, we will have it all. We are building, with measured, steps.
Offensively we will have a ton of explosive skill players, in the 2ND YEAR, of the pistol offense. Check it out...
QB - Prince, Brehut, Bell, Hundley
RB- Franklin, Coleman, Jones, James
WR - Rosario, Embree, Randall Carroll, Josh Smith, J. Johnson, Ricky Marvray, Shaq Evans
F - Anthony Barr, Morrell Pressley, Damian Thigpen
TE - Cory Harkey, Christian Fauria, John Young,
Health will be key but whoever our Offensive coordinator is will have a ton to work with. I hope we keep the Pistol in some form, cause it helped our running game big time. The OL will again be a big question but look at what we have coming back...
OL - Kai Maiva, Jeff Baca, Mike Harris, Stan Hasiak, Chris Ward, Wade Yandall, Capella, Griffiths, Cody Innes, B. Downey,
Coach P will have some beef to work with. While I worry about the depth behind our starters we will be better off than when CRN took over the program. Plus the youngsters behind the starters have been with Coach P for at least a year.
So while things haven't progressed as fast as most of us have liked, it is progressing, the UCLA way.