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Strawman & a little round up ...

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Blackjack already brought up Dohn's post in the diaries. Needless to say I am a little disappointed to see Dohn throwing up so many strawman arguments to lower the expectations for this upcoming season. Let's take a look at look some of Dohn's comments in response to a question concerning the expectation for this upcoming season.

Dohn says:

I think an 8-win season, at this point, would be quite an achievement given the stretch of games at Oregon, at Notre Dame, Washington State and at Cal.
Well 8-win season may be an "achievement" in the eyes of a graduate of Rutgers University, but it will not mean much to UCLA fans if none of those 8 wins include a win over USC.  We have written enough (here and here) on why we believe it is more than reasonable for UCLA fans to expect a minimum 9 win season, which must include a win over USC.

Dohn then goes on to say:
That so many fans want Dorrell out after a 10-2 season is mind-boggling.
This is nothing short of a strawman argument. Not sure where exactly Dohn is getting this. Even none of us here were calling for Dorrell to get fired after his win over a shaky Northwestern team. Were we disgusted and humiliated by how the team finished in 2 of its last 3 regular season games? Absolutely. But we are also practical enough to know that it is not possible for UCLA or any other school to fire a head coach after he has won 10 games. What we have said repeatedly though that Dorrell has not proven himself in his three years at UCLA. After three years at UCLA he still hasn't come close to contending (realistically) for the Pac-10 title or a major BCS bowl game. That is a problem. And all we are saying is that if Dorrell doesn't prove himself this year or beyond, UCLA should be looking for a new direction. Not exactly sure where Dohn is getting the fact that "so many fans" wanted Dorrell out. That sounds a bit like those Lavin statements that UCLA fans were unreasonable and not happy with his Sweet-16 runs year in and year out.

And, then Dohn drops another tired Lavinesque strawman:
UCLA football has never been about winning national championships, just look at its history.
Again this is just not true. We were a play away from playing in the NC in 1998. We were on top of the world two weeks before the USC game in 1988. We started the season 6-0 before everything collapsed (following that disastrous Stanford game) in 2001.  We were perennially one of the top programs in the country going into the 1990s. Sure UCLA fans are not asking to contend for the NC every year. But we do have an incredible institution with a solid football tradition, which merits the expectations of fielding a team, which should be in the top-20 every season, and win the Pac-10 conference at least 3-4 times a decade, and make serious runs for the NCs every 3-4 years.

And we'll end with this last Dohn note (another strawman):
But since USC is on top in the city everyone wants Dorrell out. Well, for who? What coach is the administration going to pay $2 million to come in, deal with an infrastructure that causes delays (check the Spaulding Field and Pauley Pavilion renovation projects) and then get headaches when the academic folks challenge coaches on recruits whenever given the chance.
Uh Dohn misses the point again. No one asking for paying up $ 2 million to bring in a coach. It would be nice. But the fact is there are enough young, hungry coaches around the country who'd leap at the chance of playing at UCLA at the same salary Dorrell is making. If you just want to look few years back UCLA could have hired Urban Meyer (who ended up at Utah) instead of Dorrell out of Bowling Green University, when it was on the market for a coach. All we really need is some football oriented minds in Morgan Center who do their homework and can scout out the fresh, young coaching talents working in D-1 institutions all around the nation.

Anyways, those are just of some my early reactions. Lots of good thoughts from BN readers in the comment thread as well. Scittles nailed it (emphasis added):
What this boils down to is progress toward the goal of contending for a title.  The concern about the 10 wins of last year in my mind is that we accept this as the high water mark, when it should just be a stepping stone toward the ultimate goal.  We must give last years team credit for not mentally folding when faced with a difficult task (as past teams have), but at the same time, we should at least analyze why those deficits opened up in the first place.  What good does it do in the long run to simply accept that the team made miraculous comebacks last season if they aren't able to apply those lessons in the future?

I've said it many times, we contend on the national stage in virtually every other sport that we field a team in, and I see no reason why this tradition of excellence shouldn't extend to football.  While last year provided plenty of great moments, I can only hope that the few (extended) bad moments have been relentlessly studied.  I can accept that a young coach makes mistakes, which is why this should be a pivotal year for KD, to prove that he doesn't repeat the mistakes of his first three seasons.

In the end, what I'd like to see at the end of this season is that we are noticably closer to being a national contender than we were at the end of last season, and given the schedule, 9 wins and beating SUC will go a long way towards convincing me of the rising status of UCLA football. Let 10 wins be momentum, not an excuse.
Honestly, I am a bit disappointed with Dohn, who I think would be a little better than offering up such strawman arguments in defending the mediocre achievements of Karl Dorrell. Oh well. Moving on. Let's take a quick stroll around the papers this morning:

Lonnie White's LA Times report focuses on a healthy Brandon Breazell, and gives us some great news: Kevin Brown will be back for the Utah game (Lonne is a little behind TBG).

The Daily News reports (not Dohn) on who will be returning kicks for UCLA this season - it won't be Chris Markey.

Robert Kuwada (OC Register) profiles our two huge incoming freshmen DL: Savage and Siewierski.

Lastly, a great profile of WR Junior Taylor in his home state newspaper AZ Republic. Taylor has come a long way since his injury against the Sooners:
He still isn't 100 percent, but he's holding his own at practice.

"He's able to do what he did before the injury, and he's not even going full speed yet," McCarthy said. "He's only going half speed."

What's also helping Taylor is that he's able to fully concentrate on football this season. He was on the dean's list numerous times and graduated with a degree in history in the spring. [...]

[H]e's working one-on-one with Ben Olson, the favorite to be the starting quarterback this year, after practice to get their timing down on pass routes. Their first session gave Taylor more confidence.

"He just looked at me and said, 'I'm throwing the ball just like how I would throw to everybody else,' " Taylor said. "From then on, I knew I was making progress."
Cannot wait to see No. 8 take it to the House in just 10 days.