I am going to try to post this "Good, Bad, and the Ugly" feature after each game. This week that feature will be on Coach Rick Neuheisal(CRN). A lot of good analysis has been written and will be written about UCLA's "victory" over SJSU. But I want to focus on this game on CRN and do things a bit differently
What was good about the SJSU game? It showed we have talent, a lot of it. We were out coached and only won because we had better talent and depth. And CRN recruited this talent. Some examples:
The player of the game was Derrick Coleman. Derrick Coleman was just physically superior to anyone SJSU University had. He ran over the players and they could not stop him. And, oh he is not our best RB and is in fact the backup.
Our first touchdown pass of the game was to Joseph Fauria, a 6'8" freak of nature who is practically uncoverable and our backup TE.
Our starting QB, Richard Brehaut was the backup week one for UCLA, regardless of what CRN officially called him. While he was not a star in this game, I guarantee that SJSU would love to have him and think about this little fact: SJSU was totally screwed when their third string QB got in the game, he was 1-3 for four yards and an INT. Our Third String QB is the highest recruited player on the team: Brett Hundley.
Look, I am not saying that we should compare ourselves to SJSU. But I am saying it is pretty amazing how talented this team is and how deep it is. Our backups have more talent across the board than SJSU's starters. That has not always been true and just look to Dorrell's last year.
While we all want to jump on CRN right now, the fact is he has recruited a very good team, even one with depth.
Face it, we were completely out coached. IMO for the second week in a row. We did not lose this week but I guess I would call this a "moral loss." A few examples of how we were outcoached:
MOTIVATIONALLY. Guess which team went for it on 4th down and made it? And think of the message it sent to the UCLA players. It is the first drive of the game and it is 4th and 2 at the SJSU 37. We punt for 17 yards net. What was CRN trying to tell the team? He had no faith in our offense to make 2 yards? Our defense was not good enough to stop SJSU from driving and the net 17 yards we got on the punt was going to make a difference?
SCHEMING: Our Defense looks bad. We give enough cushion where I think Class of 66 would be able to throw a few completions. And this week it was not a good QB like Case Keenum. You are playing against a second string QB and later a third string QB. We also failed to contain at all. Not only did we give up the outside, when you are playing a bad or inexperienced QB in college you know he is going to run. I mean come on; I want the third string QB to try to beat me in the air. (BTW, he passed as often to us as his team.) And these were not options or designed running plays. Can we recognize the personnel please?
PERSONNEL: Speaking of personnel, UCLA had two turnovers in the game and both pointed to an interesting facts:
The first fumble was by Jonathan Franklin after Coleman had gained 58 yards in three carries the series before. This is the risk of playing Franklin but in this game at this point you did not need him. Derrick Coleman was dominating SJSU and outplaying Franklin. Why was Coleman not playing then?
The second fumble was the department of irony. With a potentially dominate returner like Josh Smith on the roster, CRN goes to the "fail safe" Tyler Embree on punt returns because he will not turn the ball over. Okay fine. Of course, who bobbles then fumbles the ball after a catch in the fourth quarter of a tie game, Tyler Embree. While I realize running with the ball after the catch and catching punts are different things, I still think Smith should be returning punts.
FUNDAMENTALS: Tackling?!?? Nuff said.
The ugly comes from Coach Rick Neuhisial and is told by twwl UCLA beat reporter Peter Yoon in a story entitled Lackluster play now seems acceptable at UCLA. Yoon points out SJSU is 0-11 against BCS teams since 2007, UCLA victory was the only one less than 13 points, and SJSU ranked 119 out of 120 in rushing last year but had over 200 yards for the first time since 2007. As Yoon put it quoting CRN (emphasis mine):
And yet the coaches and players seemed just fine with letting one of major college football's worst teams hang around until the fourth quarter in a game that should have been put away long before that.
. . .
This win left a distinctly empty feeling in just about everybody who witnessed it except the UCLA coaches and players. That the Bruins would be satisfied just because they got a notch in the W column points to an underlying problem: The Bruins seem to have accepted mediocrity.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," Neuheisel said, continuing to try and put a positive spin on the thing.
The problem is, nobody seems to be buying it anymore. Neuheisel has maintained a relentlessly positive attitude during his tenure in Westwood and, thus far he has gotten the benefit of the doubt despite a 15-22 career record entering this season.
CRN better turn it around real soon. Four years of empty rhetoric is too much. The excuses of blaming the predecessor are too tired, this is his team. He has to deliver in year four or it is time for a new leader.
The key test is Oregon State. They have four Walk Ons starting on the offense line and lost to Sacramento State. If we can't win that game . . .