Good Friday everyone.
AllHailMightyBruins already fanshotted the feature piece from SI.com on Rick Neuheisel and UCLA. Wanted to flesh it out a bit because I think there are actually some news worthy notes in this must read piece. Let's get to the bottom line. CRN essentially declares that the whole program can go "over the wall" when it is in a position to win Pac-10 championships and compete for National Championships (emphasis added throughout):
Neuheisel knows if the Bruins can win L.A., they can win the Pac-10. If they can accomplish that, they probably deserve a ditch day.
"I want unity, but I just want to be better as a football team," Neuheisel said. "If we get to a place where we're winning Pac-10 championships and vying for national championships, maybe the coaches will take a wall day."
Given all the shenanigans in the traditional media and over here around this story from last two and half years, I think that is very interesting note. Sure hope CRN has already communicated that to his entire staff and its team. If UCLA does get in a position to win the Pac-10 title this year or win it next couple of years, we should have hundreds if not thousands of UCLA fans go to the practice to make a spectacle out of it.
Going back to the article, it is really refreshing to see Andy Staples not push the tired storylines and CRN's "participation" in the UDub March Madness pool:
Neuheisel understands better than most how the perception game works. He's often referred to as the guy who got fired at Washington in 2003 for participating in a high-stakes NCAA tournament pool. He's rarely referred to as the coach who, in 2005, won a $4.5 million settlement from Washington and the NCAA.
Or push the nonsense that it was him who came up with the idea of that infamous monopoly ad:
He didn't know in advance that the school's marketing department would take out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times in August 2008 declaring an end to the football monopoly in the City of Angels. Neuheisel's first reaction was, "Damn." Some creative Photoshopper had fun with the ad, but, like any good politician, Neuheisel realized he was better off endorsing the message. "I didn't see it as a bad thing," he said. "That's what we want to be. We're not going to hide. I'm not going to apologize to a recruit because I want you to consider something else. We're going after 'em. And congratulations to them for being the one we're coming after, for being worthy of that."
The article also points to the natural advantages enjoyed by the UCLA football program:
UCLA is an academic paradise located at a prestigious address in a metropolitan area that produces scores of FBS-quality football players every year. Its facilities may not rival those at Texas or Alabama, but Tuscaloosa also isn't next door to Beverly Hills. At any rate, the brick-and-mortar compares favorably to that of crosstown rival USC.
Read rest of the piece here. It will only add to the optimism around this program. Yet CRN knows better than anyone that in order for us to sustain that sense of optimism we will need to take couple of steps forward from the improvements shown from this past season. Guess we will now all be rooting for our guys to have the opportunity to go over the wall ... SOON.