Bumped. This post went up here few months ago. BN Eds.
I've been doing some musing, and I think the recent announcement by Urban Meyer to resign from Florida has piqued my interest. If you recall Urban is the same coach that just a year ago announced his retirement from the University of Florida, and then reneged and returned, only to retire after a "dismal" year. (Ironic that we would pray for Florida's "dismal" year, but I digress.) In any case, he has now retired, ostensibly for a few years. It is well known that Urban Meyer is one of the premier coaches in college football. He is an excellent teacher, motivator, and supreme recruiter. I simply posed the question to myself, if this truly is Rick's last year, for whatever reason, could we land Urban Meyer? I divided up the pros and cons trying to judge the possibility:
- UCLA is one of the finest institutions in the nation, recognized worldwide, and the UCLA brand is eminently marketable, with the right buzz. We could be a household name overnight with a hiring like Urban Meyer.
- UCLA is located in southern california, a hotbed for talented football recruits. The Inner city is widely regarded as one of the top talent pools in the nation, and with Urban's recruiting skills, we could finally out-recruit the Trogans. (as a side note, Urban has significant ties to the Florida recruiting scene. This would be a massive boost, as it links us to the two biggest talent pools in the country)
- UCLA plays at the Rose Bowl, a bastion of college football. With the right coach, the atmosphere at the RB could be electric. 90,000 Bruins fans, a sea of blue, like a thunderstorm on third down? the "Swamp" of California? Could be.
- We have lots of talent on the roster right now that Meyer could use to his advantage. Players that play a spread offense like Hundley, running backs like Malcolm Jones and Jordon James, athletic WRs like Randall Carroll (who could be used like a poor man's Percy Harvin) and Josh Smith, not to mention big time defenders like Owa, Marsh, Riley, and Zumwalt.
- He could instantly change the culture at the top athletic institution in the world. Football is the ONE sport where we have never really succeeded. He could change the mindset of our players, change their work ethic, and make them believe they can succed. He could make them realize how talented they are, and if he could point them in a successful direction, how good could we be? The answer? We have NO ceiling. We could be the top program in the country.
- It would be a new start for Meyer, who could play in a major conference and take on the bigwigs of college football such as Harbaugh (until he leaves) and Kelly. Along with the SEC, the Pac 12 is the most respected and most powerful conference in college football. He could dominate the South region of the Pac 12 in two years.
- Finally, he could rally a fanbase that stretches from coast to coast. UCLA fans are everywhere, and have never been so eager to be galvanized. If we could rally around a major coaching hire, dominoes could fall. The Athletic Department could learn to accept the success of a football team, and allow standards to become more acceptable. We could improve our facilities with added revenue, and we would finally have strong showings at the RB. With the increased success comes increased support, and we could pay quality assistants to really help us shine.
- The Trogans wouldn't stand a chance.
Cons after the jump.
And now the Cons, the detriments to a possible hire:
- Obviously, RN is still our head coach. However, his hold on this position is tenuous at best. Meyer has not indicated how long he will be away, but I would surmise two years. This would mean that if RN was fired after next year, we would be out of luck. But if Rick left after two, we would be in position. Either way, if Rick is out, and Meyer is available, we should make every possible push to get him.
- Money. The bane of our public school existence. We have a track record of not ponying up the money to pay quality coaches. We gave RN a pittance, with the caveat that if he succeeded, more would be forthcoming. We paid CTS next to nothing. We are mired in the fact that we will not pay anything. Such is our reputation. However, ever the optimist, we can break this trend. We are paying CNC 500,000 this year. While we are paying Neuheisel next to nothing, these combined salaries are something that should be looked at. If we can really, really go all out, (i'm sure boosters would happily pay to see Urban Meyer come here, although they can't directly) we could have the potential, at least financially, to bring him here.
- Administration. Aside from money, the largest roadblock we face. The administration has set such severe limitations on our academic acceptances and our recruiting, we are unable to recruit with the big boys. The simple fact is, high school football players, often good ones, do not have very good grades. There are exceptions, such as Hundley, but they are few and far between. However, we have seen that schools with stringent academic requirements can succeed with the right support from the administration and the right coaching. Stanford is case-in-point. Yes, it is a different situation, but it is applicable. They are however, a private school, and thus can pay the, you guessed it, money for him.
- Finally, I do not believe we have the collective will to make this happen. Call me a pessimist, but we don't seem to believe, as a university, as a fanbase, that we are ever going to be any good. Sure we hope, but there is a general malaise that I notice among even the most hardcore fans. We saw the potential of our fanbase when we went to 3 straight final fours. I was in San Antonio watching boatloads of our fans go by screaming their heads off. We can be the best fans in the country. But we have been down for so long, we have forgotten as a team how to win, as fans how to support unconditionally, and as members of a community how to rally, push, and prod our school to make a splash, make a difference, and really just lay it all on the line to finally succeed at football.
So will we be able to hire one of the top coaches in the CF world? Honestly, i'd put the odds at 1/100. Even that is assuming Rick is fired. I really hope Rick finally takes hold next year and turns us into a contender. And this is in no way meant to disparage him, although I disagree with much that has happened over the past 3 years. This is me taking a daydream and putting it out into the world in hopes that it can spark something among fans, alums, students, that could maybe, somehow actually become reality. We, UCLA, are a sleeping giant. When, or if, we ever wake up again, people are going to take notice. As I said, we could be the top College Football program in the country. If we could hire Urban Meyer. But, as always, that's a big if.