Merry Christmas to everyone in the wider Bruin Nation! Unfortunately, we only got one of the two presents we were hoping from ol' St. Nick, in that Rick Neuheisel was finally shown the door, while sadly, Chianti Dan still collects a paycheck from our alma mater. But, since it's Christmas, it's time to take a minute to say thank you to all of you in the BN community and wish you all a great holiday (and if you don't do Christmas, then enjoy your long weekend!). For me, the way this virtual community has grown is like a gift that keeps on giving, so thank you everyone. And, I'd like to say thank you to all the men and women in uniform, many of whom are unable to spend this holiday weekend with their loved ones, spending it instead in a distant land in harm's way, allowing us to enjoy this holiday in peace and safety.
Snce it's Christmas, I can do something cheesy and talk about BN's virtual naughty and nice list. On the nice side, we'll find Rick Neuheisel (who was on the naughty list until he got fired and handled it with amazing class and love for UCLA), as well as Jerime Anderson (who still makes the same mistakes but plays tough for the four letters, unlike a certain brooding someone), along with others like Randy Cross, Peter Yoon, and yes, Coach Jim Mora. I admit, I was (and still am) skeptical of his ability to coach college football, and absolutely disgusted with how half-ass the search for Neuheisel's replacement was, but so far, Jim has done well, apparently recognizing his unfamiliarity with recruiting and bringing in some very good recruiters, along with a solid OC in Noel Mazzone. And of course, at the top of the nice list is Coach Michael Sealy and all of the ladies on our women's volleyball team. Joining Rachael Kidder and Co. on the top of the nice list is Coach Carrie Forsyth, Stephanie Kono, and the rest of the ladies on the women's golf team. UCLA's 107th and 108th national titles were very nice presents from them.
Now, on to the naughty list. Naturally, Public Enemy No. 1, Chianti Dan Guerrero, remains firmly entrenched on the naughty list. Do I really need to explain why this brain-dead, incompetent, tone-deaf, chianti-swilling bureaucrat is here? Joining Chianti Dan on the naughty list this year are some of the usual candidates: Mark Harlan, Chianti Dan's right hand man, as well as other UCLA mediocre losers like Bob Field and Terry Donahue. Of course, Gene Block finds himself on this side of the list for his continued tone-deaf, short-sighted support of Chianti Dan's Reign of Error. But joining Gene this year is his vice chancellor, Rhea Turteltaub, who after showing good faith in communicating with the wider Bruin community, apparently got upset with Bruins questioning their sincerity (which should be expected after decades of administrative apathy and empty words). But, while she is on the naughty list, I think she'll be able to get herself to the very top of the nice list for next year by continuing to engage with disappointed Bruins and getting her boss to take action instead of making empty talk, specifically, stepping up and firing Chianti Dan before he further destroys our athletic department. And of course, on this year's naughty list is Taylor Embree who, besides being unable to hold on to the ball or return a punt, managed to further embarrass UCLA with his misconduct in Tucson, and topped it off by leading the football team in their stupid over the wall "tradition" which has become a national joke. Oh, and trying to defend it was even more laughable.
Anyway, with that, let's turn to the bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse on this holiday weekend after the jump.
- Starting with our Christmas theme, Daniel Martin at NBC Sports' Beyond the Arc has a "Christmas Wish List" for UCLA basketball. Of course, our re-gift this season is our latest export to Lithuania, Reeves Nelson. We often like to say Howland can put guys in the pros, but this isn't exactly what we were talking about.
- Turning back to our football program becoming a national joke, the Associated Post makes a very good point: if there was ever a perfect example for why there should be fewer bowl games, it is the matchup between UCLA (6-7) and Illinois (6-6) in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Apparently, this kind of laugh-fest is something that mediocre players like Taylor Embree think we should be proud of. LOL.
- Speaking of our bowl game, the San Francisco Examiner has a profile of native San Franciscan, UCLA's special teams coach Angus McClure. McClure has been UCLA's recruiting guru under Neuheisel, and reportedly, was a big player in getting four-star cornerback Marcus Rios to UCLA. That said, our special teams have been absolutely deplorable, so hopefully Coach Mora can find another role for Angus, because special teams clearly is not his thing.
- Speaking of Coach Mora and the lame, pathetic over the wall "tradition" that losers who accept mediocrity defend, the Orange County Register has some quotes from younger Bruins, like Kevin Prince and Dalton Hilliard, who think it's a ridiculous tradition that needs to be axed for good. And, the article takes a nice shot at departing designated punt catcher Taylor Embree, which well, are well-taken shots. LOL.
Alright folks, those are your special holiday edition of Bruin Bites. Merry Christmas everyone and feel free to fire away with your thoughts, comments, or additions to the UCLA naughty and nice lists in the comment thread.