Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
I would like to thank the Bruins Nation frontpagers for previewing the 2010 UCLA Bruins at BCS Evolution! Here is an excerpt from the Q&A session.
Based on the results the past three years, is a ranking of 59 fair?
Honestly, we are not really paying a lot of attention to pre-season rankings. Our program is in the middle of a rebuilding process under the current head coach, resulting from couple of decades of mediocre leadership dating back to last five years of Terry Donahue. When Rick Neuheisel came to Westwood, the talent level in the program was thoroughly depleted in a shattered program. After that Neuheisel had to deal with devastating injuries at QB positions losing his number 1 and 2 QBs (Patrick Cowan and Ben Olson) in his first spring practice.
Despite all those adversities, the program managed to improve by 3 games from a not surprisingly tough 4-8 season this past year. Based on what we have seen on the recruiting front this past three seasons, we feel pretty good about the steady progress the program is making and have reasons to be optimistic that there is a good chance UCLA will have a very good team in 2 seasons. We will perhaps pay attention to off-season rankings next season but don't really care much about it this season.
What do you expect to see on the gridiron in 2010?
We expect the Bruins to maintain their pace of steady progress. Last year, the goal for the program was to at least get into a bowl game following a 4-8 season. UCLA accomplished that by getting into a bowl game and beating an upstart Temple team led by one of the up and coming coaches in the game in Al Golden. This year UCLA will be taking on a schedule which is shaped up to be on the toughest in the country with three BCS programs - Kansas State, Houston and Texas - filling out our out of conference schedule.
It is going to be an incredibly difficult challenge to substantially improve on the 7 win season from this past year, and we are not sure if that is a realistic goal. However, we are hoping that we will see tangible improvements in our offense, which contrary to conventional wisdom took incremental steps forward with better line play, statistical improvement in rushing game, and an encouraging first year from red shirt freshman QB starter Kevin Prince. If UCLA can remain relatively injury free this coming season, we are hoping the program will put together a winning record in conference play, and get into another bowl game.
The rest of the interview can be found at BCS Evolution.