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UCLA Coach Blames Rodney Van for the Loss to UW

DC Dewayne Walker is now publicly blaming Rodney Van for yesterday's loss to UW:

The defense's tackling doldrums, a staple of the last few seasons, showed up in bits and pieces and also played a role in Washington's comeback.

The biggest culprit was cornerback Rodney Van, whose missed tackle of receiver Quintin Daniels gave the Huskies a first down on a third-and-11 from their own 7. It was also the impetus for a nine-play, 92-yard drive as Washington got back into the game on Sonny Shackelford's 23-yard touchdown catch. It brought the Huskies within 16-7 with 65 seconds remaining in the first half.

Van then missed another key tackle two minutes into the second half that allowed Shackelford to turn a short gainer into a 28-yard touchdown reception as Washington pulled within 16-14.

"It cost us a game, it cost us a touchdown," UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker said. "One kept the drive alive, and then he missed the other one. That's a problem. It's an issue that keeps showing up."

The irony in this, if it's not obvious, is Van took an agressive angle on a ballcarrier instead of taking the safe route. In other words, he was trying to make a play. I'll never blame a kid who is being agressive and trying to make a play. It didn't work this time. Of course, Coach Walker conveniently forgets the fact that UCLA should have already had a 3 TD lead when this happened.

For Walker to put the blame for this loss on Rodney Van's shoulders is disgusting, and as Nestor points out, not the best way to win over recruits. Walker, with all of his NFL expereince, should recognize the real reason for the loss, and address it accordingly.

Blaming a 19-year old kid is not going to help anything. I expect to hear an apology from Coach Walker forthcoming.