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The Karl Dorrel Kool Aid

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So Sporting News's Matt Hayes wrote a glowing article on Karl Dorrell that came out this week. Dorrell fans are all fired up about. Morgan Center's PR department is totally psyched. They even have it featured in its entirety in the official website. It's titled, "Watch out, USC -- Dorrell is making UCLA a threat again."

Wow that's pretty heavy stuff. So I decided to do a read through. And found some eye opening grafs. Let's start with this one from example:

When Dorrell arrived at UCLA, the program was a wreck. Even worse, that school across town had just finished a season in which its quarterback had won the Heisman Trophy. And because he wasn't Pete Carroll -- because he wasn't a teen with boundless energy trapped in a 50-something body -- and because he chooses words carefully and speaks in measured tones, he was seen as a coach in over his head.
So exactly how much of a "wreck" UCLA football program was when KD took over? Well let's revisit 2003 again when Dorrell took over. We posted this before (emphasis mine):
There is a new excitement surrounding UCLA football. Former wide receiver Karl Dorrell (1982-86) has returned to Westwood as the Bruins' head coach and optimism is high.

UCLA returns 14 starters from last season's 8-5 team - seven on offense and seven on defense - to form the nucleus of Dorrell's first Bruin team.
On offense, the returnees include split end Craig Bragg, an All-America candidate who led the Bruins with 55 receptions a year ago; flanker Tab Perry, an honors candidate who averaged a Pac-10 best 19.9 yards per reception; tailback Tyler Ebell, who earned second-team Freshman All-America honors while rushing for 994 yards; fullback Manuel White, the team's second-leading rusher; guard Eyoseph Efseaff, a second-team All-Pacific-10 Conference performer; tackle Steven Vieira, a Pac-10 honorable mention selection at guard last season; and center Mike McCloskey, a second-team Freshman All-American. On defense, the returnees include tackle Rodney Leisle, a 2002 pre-season All-American before suffering a broken foot; end Dave Ball, who made 11 quarterback sacks en route to second-team All-Pac-10 honors; linebackers Brandon Chillar, an All-America candidate, and first-team Freshman All-American Spencer Havner; cornerback Matt Ware, a 2001 first-team Freshman All-American; and safeties Ben Emanuel, who tied for the team lead in interceptions, and first-team Freshman All-American Jarrad Page.

Other key returnees include sophomore quarterbacks Drew Olson, who started the final five games of the year, and Matt Moore, who helped rally the team to a victory in the SEGA Sports Las Vegas Bowl; wide receivers Junior Taylor and Ryan Smith; tailback Akil Harris; fullbacks J.D. Groves and Pat Norton; offensive linemen Ed Blanton, Paul Mociler and Shane Lehmann; defensive linemen Ryan Boschetti, who started five games a year ago, Mat Ball and Asi Faoa; linebackers Dennis Link and Justin London; and defensive backs Matt Clark, Marcus Cassel, Keith Short, Kevin Brant and Glenn Ohaeri.
Yeah, uhm "wreck" could hardly be described a football team which went 8-5 with a bowl win (yeah it didn't lose to MWC opponents like Fresno State and Wyoming) and was fairly stocked with talents in both offense and defense that would merit the expectations of Dorrell producing at least a 8 win team in his first season. That of course didn't happen. And most UCLA fans were willing to give Dorrell benefit of the doubt for sounding clueless in press, but what we really had problems with was Dorrell forgetting details like he had one of the most talented backs in the conference Manny White on his roster in his first game. He was seen as a coach "over his head," not for his "measured tones," but coming across as an individual who looked clueless and not in control of his football team.

Of course the article then has the standard fans are meanies and unreasonable segment usually woven in puff peace for a coach who is insecure about the job he has done at a program. Apparently Dorrell got a lot of mail after his first two seasons going 6-7 and 6-6, which includes disgraceful, embracing, and humiliating bowl losses to Fresno State and Wyoming:
Then came the e-mails, the hurtful, embarrassing and, yes, threatening e-mails. This is what happens when the guy across town recaptures the glory and the Bruins are losing to the Fresno States and Wyomings of the world.

"If they could've hanged me," Dorrell says, "they would've."
Well if anyone actually sent that kind of "threatening" emails to KD after those games he or she should be embarrassed of him (her) self. There is of course no place for that king of garbage in any level of our society.

But I wonder how of this has to do with perhaps Dorrell playing the "victim" - ooooh UCLA fans are bunch of meanies - card, we saw Lavin play so masterfully during his seven years at Westwood. Lavin always talked up about how he was getting death threats. Yet during all that time not a single person was charged with any attempts to make any kind of threats after him. All these references to "death threats" you hear from (usually incompetent/insecure/mediocre) coaches pretty much sound like WATB canard to me. I don't know about you, but when I see the words "death threat" in my daily newspaper, I expect to read about an actual threat of death to someone somewhere. I sometimes get threat often from an angry reader in the emails. But if you take everyone of these lunatics seriously then you might as well assume that MRS. MIRIAM ABACHA really does need your help to recover her husband's funds as assume that some emailer is who they say they are, without more proof that that.  It's the same level of net-ignorance. Dorrell got lot of emails from irate/emotional UCLA alums because they were upset about KD embarrassing the program and turning it into a national laughing stock.

And even though he had a nice little "10 win" season last year at the end of the season it still a joke not just nationally but a laughing stock within the confines of the 405 and the 10:



Yeah, that video sure makes us look like a "threat." Doesn't it? We are such a "threat" we are ranked by national pundits nowhere in the preseason top-25.

And then Hayes has this note on recruiting:
There's one way to get better in college football: get better players. When that school across town is like a black hole sucking up every five-star stud high schooler north of Tijuana, it makes it even tougher. Yet Dorrell is making recruiting inroads. It began a few years ago with guys such as safety Dennis Keyes, Jones-Drew and Tevaga, who grew up a USC fan but chose to play for UCLA because of Dorrell.

Look, USC still is the king -- not just of L.A. but of the entire nation. But the Bruins are becoming more than just a nuisance on the recruiting trail. UCLA has seven early commitments for 2007, three of whom USC badly wanted, including defensive tackle Brian Price from Crenshaw High School, a Trojan stronghold a couple miles from USC's campus.
Uh if getting better players is the best way to improve a program what exactly Dorrell had been doing his first three years to close the talent gap with USC? Well he was so spectacular that the talent gap widened not just against USC but we also fell behind Cal. Ok so this year we are off to a good start. That is nice. But any hard core college football fans knows it's not how you start, but how you finish. In other words if we end up having another 6-7 win season with no wins against USC, all that early season momentum is going to dissipate in the recruiting trail, and then come next August Dorrell's supporters will be looking forward to - not 2007 - but 2008 season. Yes, it will be the "next" next year.

But anyways it's a new season. Everyone is excited. We haven't drunk the Dorrell Kool Aid yet, but will try to stay positive. So I will end with this portion of the article:
This team is more talented than his previous three. Bigger and stronger and more, well, more like that school's across town. This team is his team. For the first time since he arrived before the 2003 season, nearly every scholarship player is one Dorrell recruited.

There are seven fifth-year seniors who were recruited by the previous staff, seven players who have bought into and embraced Dorrell's philosophy. This year's freshmen, some of whom could have chosen that school across town, make up his best recruiting class yet. This team is coming off a 10-win season, something only six other teams in school history have accomplished.

The staff believes quarterback Ben Olson, after two years on a Mormon mission and one year sitting and waiting, finally is ready to live up to his megarecruit hype. Remember mighty-mite tailback Maurice Jones-Drew? Meet tailback Chris Markey, who, if he lost a couple of inches, would be Jones-Drew's twin. The interior lines are stronger and more experienced, and the Bruins haven't been this deep at wide receiver in years.
Well then. So if all this is true what will be the excuse for this team not winning 9 games and beating SC? If they can get that done perhaps UCLA will really emerge again as a "threat" to USC, and then I will be happy to drink that kool aid from Mr. Hayes. Again as fellow Bruin scittles wrote couple of days ago, "let 10 wins be momentum, not an excuse."

8 more days.

GO BRUINS.