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Spineless (and clueless) in Seattle

Well what else can we say about last night? The game in Seattle pretty much epitomized what so many of us here on the Bruins Nation have been arguing for a while - Karl Dorrell is really nothing short of a mediocre "leader." And I am using the term "leader" generously here considering I am still not sure exactly what he does on Saturdays. He doesn't call either the offensive or defensive plays. Doesn't really do much on the sidelines and never appears to be saying much into his head phone. Anyways, I still have yet to see any evidence on the football field, which shows Dorrell is actually the "leader" for this football program. Yet again he looked like a spineless and clueless head coach, the way he did when he got annihilated by Arizona and by Southern Cal last season.

And no we are not being harsh when we are calling Dorrell and his coaching staff (we are looking at you offensive "coordinator" Svoboda) clues and spineless. Dohn zeroes in on one of the main reasons of yesterday's debacle:

On each of UCLA's four possessions inside the 10-yard line, the first-down play was a run. And of 11 plays called inside the 10-yard line, seven were runs, including a handoff to Kahlil Bell on third-and-goal from the 10 with the Bruins clinging to a 16-14 lead in the final minute of the third quarter.

"Probably have to be a little more aggressive and take a couple of shots," UCLA offensive coordinator and play-caller Jim Svoboda said. "Just taking a look back at it, off the top of my head, it may be something we had an opportunity to do."

The offensive ineptitude meant short field goals for Bruins placekicker Justin Medlock, who made kicks from 28, 23, 51 and 22 yards.

"Red-zone opportunities. That's what it comes down to," Svoboda said. "It's a different game if we can turn those into touchdowns instead of field goals."

But even outside the red zone, UCLA's offense was predictable, if not ultra-conservative.

Before the last desperation drive, the Bruins ran 19 times on first down, compared to four pass attempts on first down. Olson was also sacked once on first down.
And from the OC Register today:
The game should not have been close, and UCLA knew that. But opportunities were wasted, one after another after yet another.

Put simply, UCLA set itself up for an embarrassing failure with some questionable and conservative play calls and a lack of execution in the red zone.
And what did those spineless and clueless play calling reminded me of? It reminded me of weak who is afraid to go for it on the 4th down inside his rival's territory when his team is desperately looking for some kind of inspiration. It reminded me of a head coach who every time takes the easy way out by playing not to lose.

It's called being Dorrellian.

Was it just me screaming at the television when we sat on the ball with about a minute to go in the first half?  Well I should have known better because Dorrell does it every single time.  You can't really blame a sick talent like Ben Olson in this situation because his head coach and offensive coordinator never put him in position to gain some experience in running the two minute/end of the half hurry up offense. Last time he had the opportunity against a sh!ty team like Rice (who BTW got blown out by Florida State), Dorrell/Svoboda sat on the ball at the Rose Bowl.

And there was running the ball up the gut back to back times with about 6 minutes left in the game being down by 10 points. Unfreaking believable.

I mean what else to call out the morons who call those plays other than being clueless and spineless.

And you know this kind of cowardly play calling has an effect on rest of the team. When they see their so called "leader" calling cowardly plays it takes away all the incentives from them to make daring plays and play to win. Again check this out from the OC Register:
"A lot of those plays, we're one block away," Pitre said. "We just weren't making the plays. Guys are out there, being a little conservative, just because of the atmosphere. Guys need to want to be the person to go make that play, not to be the person to make the mistake."
Why would anybody want to make those plays when their "leader" stands around the sidelines like a clueless, spineless, gutless, coward playing it safe?

Spineless in Seattle. AP Photo Jim Bryant

On this blog we are hard on Pom Pom every day. But you know what - the dude goes for it.  He makes those tough calls. He goes for it on 4th downs. He gives clear cut signals that he believes in his team. And his players feed off that energy. We can say what we want to about Chetey Petey but we can't be in denial about the fact that he plays to win and his players feed off it.

We will never becoming a winning football program by playing it safe.


I guess I want to hold out hope and hang on to some semblance of optimism thinking that perhaps this will be another "wake up call." Perhaps this will really light up the team and the program as kids will come out fired up in next two games - destroy Stanford and Arizona - and then pull out an upset against Oregon.

But seriously how can I have that hope? How can I have that hope when our players have no one to look up to as a courageous, gutsy leader with a backbone who is going to install the confidence in them of their talent and abilities.

Right now there is absolutely no excuse for the breakdown in making strategic decisions, the obviously poor preparations, and the glaring lack of half time adjustments in our game plan. Some Dorrell supporters are shamelessly blaming Rodney Van and hanging the game on him. That is just unfair. Rodney screwed up. But it is pretty obvious he never got the direction and confidence, he and his team-mates sorely needed from their head coach and his spineless, clueless, and cowardly coaching staff.

I got a word for you - Dorrellian.