The last time we checked in with Bruin Bites, it was an emotionally poignant day as our nation remembered the ten year anniversary of the September 11 attacks that changed our world. Today's edition, our usual mid-week round-up to get you through the middle of the work week and one step closer to the weekend will, fortunately, be more lighthearted. In case you missed it, we had notes and impressions from last weekend's disappointing win over San Jose State (here, here, here, here, here, and here) and we've begun looking toward this weekend (here, here, and here), when the Texas Longhorns come to Pasadena to take on a Bruin squad that will need to take its game up a few major notches if it hopes to come away with another victory over Texas.
So with that, let's turn to your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with football, it appears that redshirt freshman kicker Kip Smith has finally shaken whatever issues were causing his inconsistency and has gained some confidence from a perfect performance (at least on his end) against the Spartans this past Saturday. Ironically, with Kip rounding into form, UCLA has reverted to the mediocre ways of the past: settling for field goals because our weak offense is too unimaginative or aggressive to put the ball into the end zone when it should.
- Sticking with notes from Spaulding, ESPN's Peter Yoon has a good compilation of notes from Neuheisel's Sunday conference call with the media. The big note in there is the return of Jeff Baca and Kai Maiava: for the first time in years, UCLA will not only have a complete offensive line, but healthy competition for starting positions between various guys with in-game experience. At least Palcic is earning his paycheck.
- Closing out our football notes, per the Washington Post, Rick is having former Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda address the team on Saturday prior to the game versus Texas. The Post also notes that this game is big for Neuheisel, who desperately needs a big, signature win over the Longhorns (like last year's) to build some momentum going into Pac-12 play and tamper talk of his firing (at least for now).
- Interesting, random side note: the first designated hitter in MLB history, Ron Blomberg, told a crowd that, had he not been drafted by the Yankees (which led to him becoming the first DH ever in 1973), he would have accepted a basketball scholarship at UCLA.
- Turning to the coaching staff, the Orange County Register took a look at the pay for UCLA's Ben Howland and Rick Neuheisel, as well as Cal's Jeff Tedford and Mike Montgomery, and compared it to the top pay for various Nobel laureates throughout the UC system. Obviously, the coaches are pulling in much more, drawn from athletic department revenues, and in large part, because if their programs are a success it brings in the revenue necessary to sustain other programs. According to the story, folks from UC schools with no major athletic tradition (read: UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara) take issue with coaches making more than Nobel laureates while Bruins and Bears have a more relaxed view. Interesting issue for discussion.
With that, those are your Bruin Bites for the middle of the week. We'll check back in with our game day edition of Bruin Bites on Saturday. For now, fire away with your thoughts, comments, additions, etc. in the comment thread.