You know things are bad when a former record holding QB, a UCLA Athletics Hall Of Famer, and a loyal Bruin fan can no longer bear to watch his alma mater in its biggest game of the year.
"So I decided to do something on the night of the UCLA-USC game that I never had done before, and that was to go to a movie with my wife.
"I just didn't want to sit at home and watch UCLA lose another game to USC."
Upon further review, seeing the latest remake of Pride and Prejudice or the latest Twilight movie or some other tortuous chick flick with my wife that night absolutely would have been much less painful than watching that game. Maybe Dennis Dummit was on to something there.
It wouldn't be the first time.
Dennis Dummit was a standout QB for the UCLA in 1969 and '70. At the end of his senior year, he held 14 different records, including most completions, yardage, and touchdowns. And this was coming after the career of one Gary Beban. Just ask Fox 71 about the kid. He could play. He knew his football.
In fact, he still does. In a recent post by columnist Doug Krikorian in the presstelegram.com, Dummit breaks down UCLA's offensive woes, gives his thoughts on CRN, and identifies the biggest barrier to UCLA success on the gridiron. And his thoughts sound like he is channelling BN.
Or maybe it's vice versa. Whichever, we have a lot in common. More after the jump...
In the article, Dummit notes much of UCLA's offensive woes begin with our two biggest concerns: QB play and the offensive line.
"Look, it's obvious there have been some issues at quarterback for UCLA this season. But it's not like these guys aren't trying. They're trying to do the best they can.
"A lot goes into playing the quarterback position. You have to get blocking from your offensive line, and the Bruins have been erratic in this area. And your receivers have to get open. I've noticed it's been a little problem for UCLA receivers getting separation from defensive backs."
Sounds familiar. A patchwork offensive line, inconsistent QB play, and a poorly coached WR unit that didn't perform up to its capabilities. We might have discussed that around here a couple times.
It is no coincidence that Stanford and Oregon, with two of the best offensive lines and two of the best QB's in the nation, are where they are. A great OL can make an average QB efficient, and make a good QB deadly. How many backup QB's had career days against us because we couldn'tt generate a pash rush? Our own OL woes certainly contributed to our QB struggles this year. Hopefully, the return of some players and the year's worth of experience for others will help in the coming season, though depth remains an issue. We have faith in Coach Bob Palcic's ability to get the most out of his group, but he needs good material to work with. Thus, OL recruiting needs to be a centerpiece of recruiting efforts in the future.
Speaking of recruiting, Dummit however is a fan of Rick Neuheisel's efforts there.
"I think Rick Neuheisel is the best recruiter UCLA ever has had," he says. "I'm not down on Rick. I get a kick out of people who have criticized Rick for his yelling at his quarterbacks on occasion. Heck, I never played for a coach who didn't yell at me.
"Sometimes we deserve it. I think Rick's doing the best he can under the conditions."
Dummit's thoughts again are right in line with our feelings here on BN, and help justify why CRN gets one more year to prove that he is qualified to lead this program. He has recruited well, and it is time to make that talent live up to its potential. It's time for him to ditch the ultra-conservative philosophy and start playing to win. We also expect that certain coaching changes (ahem, Moore, possibly Chow, absolutely Bullough) are needed to fully develop that talent into a winning product.
And speaking of coaching changes, the most concerning quote from Dummit points out that the UCLA administration may not care about these issues the way we do.
"I really believe the problem with UCLA football can be traced to the UCLA culture," he says. "The president wants the school to be known for its academics, not its football team." ... Dummit says UCLA simply isn't willing to send the money needed to lure quality assistants to Westwood. ... "I definitely think Rick could use an assistant upgrade," he says.
While there is no reason that success in both academics and football must be mutually exclusive (see Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford now, and, well, UCLA in the past), this issue of administrative apathy towards football, as well as athletics in general. is becoming a recurring theme. The excellent post last week from JeremyD hit on this, and the huge number of comments following that post backed him up. So while we may gnash our teeth over Bullough's D, or whether Norm has lost his touch, or if CRN is too conservative, there appears to be an even bigger issue out there which might limit our football team's potential, no matter who is running the ship.
In the end, we are all Bruin fans and want to see our program be successful, and do it in the right way. It is not an impossible task. Some of the pieces are in place. Many of the continued problems have been identified. What remains to be seen is whether those problems get fixed. Will the team play up to its potential? Will Coach Neuheisel will make the necessary moves in his staff and start playing to win? Will the program will get the appropriate support from AD Guerrero, the UCLA administration, and all of us as fans?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, the angst and frustration over what is and what could be continues.
Take it from the Bruin legend:
"I have a good life...I have no complaints, except of course, when I watch UCLA football games. The Bruins keep me agonized."
You and me both, Mr. Dummit. Pass the popcorn. We're all right there with you.