Spaulding Roundup - Let's Go Bowling (Or Not), Tony Dye, and the Buffalo Invasion

It has been a depressing and weird couple of days for UCLA Athletics, and the current patheticness of the Pac-12 South took a turn for the surreal as tie breaker scenarios were bandied about.

Yes UCLA fans, even though we were thoroughly beaten by Utah and should be out of the Pac-12 race, Washington State decided to help ASU in their downward spiral and beat them on Saturday night. What does that mean? 

We are still in the hunt for the Pac-12 title.  Hold on to your britches everyone.

What are our chances?  Not good.  Not good as in one out of a hundred?  Nah, I'd say more like one in a million.  SO YOU'RE TELLING ME THERE'S A CHANCE?!  Rejoice Neubs!

The mind-blowing scenarios (h/t to LA Bruin for posting it earlier)

  • UCLA goes 1-1, beating Colorado but losing to USC.  ASU and Utah loses one of their remaining two.  These are all feasible scenarios.  UCLA goes to the title game and is trounced by Oregon.  With a record of 6-7, we are not eligible to go bowling because we have a sub-500 record.
  • UCLA, ASU, and Utah go 0-2. (not far fetched.)  UCLA is the Pac-12 South Champion, and by some strange, far-fetched, inconceivable miracle, we beat Oregon in the Pac-12 Title Game.  Even though we would be the Pac-12 champion, we are not eligible to play in the Rose Bowl.  We would have to appeal for a chance to play.

So what we need is to win one game, and hope Utah or ASU win out, to avoid this insanity.

For a slightly less painful time, let's recap Coach Rick Neuheisel's press conference this week.

First, your Neuheisel clothing review:  This week Neuheisel is wearing a classy v-neck with UCLA football embroidery.  Please send me the number of your clothing supplier. I'm not a fan of the color, but in true blue with white stitching it'd look awesome.

When asked about coaching this weekend against Colorado, his first head coaching stop and what's so special about it:

Anytime you get your first head coaching job that's extremely special...  it's the relationships that you forge with players and coaches alike.  that's why so few people leave this profession voluntarily you grow close to folks.  Kordell Stewart and Michael Westbrook, all the other guys I had the great fortune to coach while I was there are still great memories for me.

I remember my first job out of college... mostly. I don't think it's always a fond memory, but it was my first real paycheck, however miniscule it may be to what some of you kids get nowadays.

in regards to Taylor Embree and playing against his dad this weekend:

Taylor has known this is coming for a while and I think he anticipates the emotion that he'll go through. What Taylor needs to do is keep his emotions in check and and just play methodically...  It's when he gets going and tries to do things that are outside the realm of the offense is when we get in trouble. The play he made against Stanford when he tried to make that return in a situation that clearly called for a fair catch was him trying to do too much... It will be a positive memory. He doesn't need to worry about that portion of it. We just need to make sure his last game in the rose bowl in his home uniform is a fantastic memory for him.

After this game, Embree can head back to Colorado and enjoy their traffic all he wants.  First I hope he catches a game winning touchdown in his final game as a senior, and he can run down and give the ball to his dad if he'd like.

On the injury front, Dietrich Riley is probably done for the year, Chris Ward is looking to schedule surgery before finals, and Richard Brehaut has been upgraded to probable.  He did not play last week as he had only a few reps last week.  He will take more this week and his status will be reassessed.

As for Tony Dye:

He was cleared because he says he feels fine but he has yet to have contact.  We have to make sure the contact doesn't bring back the symptoms.... he has to rest for a while before he can have contact again.

He'd like to finish with the seniors he came in with.. but we didn't want that first blow to be in game action, if in fact if it's going to reveal he's not available so he still has the option to redshirt, but his first choice is to help us finish this season.

Does Dye want to play this year and as for the future...

He wants to play, and I've had that conversation with him and his family... If he's made that mind up that he'd rather finish with us and proceed, if he's well, then it makes sense for him to do that.  First things first is the general welfare of the student athlete.

My dealings with he and his dad is that he'd like to play if he's well.

He's a bright young man, his father Mark is a bright guy... I want all the youngsters that play in this program know that we support them and they have all the information at the ready but ultimately the decision is for them. 

We've had that discussion (about him coming back next year) and ultimately it's about his health and we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

I would love to have Tony Dye next year as a senior leader for the defense, but Tevin McDonald and Stan McKay are adapting well at being thrown into game situations this year and gaining valuable experience for next year.

What went wrong at Utah:

We didn't get the quarterback out on the edge as much, we probably weren't agressive as we could be, and some of that might be footing ... that we couldn't outrun due to traction. Especially in the first half and into the third quarter. Give them credit, they did a nice job playing nice stout defense.

Without lost yardage, we still had 170 yards.  We didn't muster up what we had been mustering up with the quarterback and that's pivotal. We've got to make sure the read player isn't in on tackles and ultimately that's where the rubber meets the road.

A ton of penalties didn't help either.

We have the wherewithal to get out of the pistol and throw up and down the field. We got to get better at throwing the football. It was not a night any of us were proud about in respect to throwing and catching, and route running, and say what you will about the field but both teams have to play on it.

There was nothing to be proud about our Utah performance.  I'm not sure if you can even call it a learning experience since it was the 10th game of the season and we should have learned lessons of "not false starting" "not committing personal fouls" and "turn around to see the ball is being thrown to you so you're not flagged for PI" but beggars can't be choosers.  I'll just beg for the regime change we are asking for on BN.

Go Bruins.

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