Rick Neuheisel's mentally defeated team will head to Corvallis for a road trip that, on paper, should be an easy Bruin win, but with Rick at the helm and too many talented players languishing on the bench, it's no surprise that the Beavers are the favorites to win.
Once again we find ourselves in the middle of the work week, with the weekend tantalizingly close, but yet so far. Well, actually, with the way Rick has our football team playing, I can't blame folks if they dread Saturday now. Kind of a real damning indictment of Dan Guerr-error's tenure at Morgan Center when UCLA fans can't even look forward to Saturday out of fear that the Bruins will be flat-out humiliated.
But, since it's Wednesday, it's time once again to go through all the bits and pieces from around the UCLA-iverse in this mid-week edition of Bruin Bites:
- Starting with the good news, UCLA landing national top-five recruit Kyle Anderson (5 stars, ranked #2 SF by Scout) has set up a bit of a firestorm in the media during a normally quiet time for basketball news. Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Eisenberg sees the commitment of Anderson, and perhaps the landing of Shabazz Muhammad, as a major deal for UCLA, signalling a return to national prominence for the Bruins by not this season, but next.
- ESPN's Diamond Leung has noted that Anderson becoming a Bruin is part of what is developing into a UCLA-Arizona elite recruit arms race. With Anderson in the fold, the Bruins shot up the recruiting class ranks, coming second only to Arizona in the ESPNU rankings. Obviously one piece is missing for both teams during this recruiting seasons: super-prep Shabazz Muhammad, widely considered the consensus top national high school player. Let's keep our fingers crossed that Shabazz chooses Westwood, because facing him in conference play would be an absolute nightmare.
- Turning to non-revenue sports, men's soccer looked to continue their win streak on Sunday against the University of San Diego Toreros. After a big win over #6 UCSB, it appears the Bruins stepped off the gas, struggling against USD in a defensive struggle that required a bit of overtime to settle the match. Fortunately, the golden goal came through UCLA's Kelyn Rowe in the 91st minute, getting the Bruins a 1-0 win on the road. It wasn't pretty, but a road win is a solid win.
The UCLA locker room on Saturday afternoon after a 49-20 loss to Texas was not quite a morgue, but it wasn't too far off. When we were finally allowed in after a double-length cooling-off period, those who were left hadn't cooled off. Tony Dye, a stand-up guy and someone the media has always been able to rely upon for a level-headed response, completely brushed us off. "I'm not talking today, guys." That was a first. Then you had players bashing each other and questioning the coaches and coaches nearly in tears. It was the locker room of not just a defeated team, but a defeated team. Neuheisel needs to know that the message that no one has given up, that no one has lost faith, does not play well when players are so openly upset. Things need to change, and they need to change now.
Things aren't looking so good for Rick. On the field, they look like a weak and defeated team and apparently, per Jon Gold, they act like a weak and defeated team in the locker room. I hope Rick is ready to dust off the old law degree because, at this rate, coaching football isn't looking too good for him. With that, those are your Bruin Bites for the middle of the week.
Fire away with your thoughts, comments, or additional tidbits of news from around the UCLA-iverse.