After Dorrell pulled out his only big win of his mediocre career on December 2, good vibes were flowing everywhere and the expectations for his football program's prospect in 2007 went up to a whole different level. Then of course Dorrell being Dorrell, which is a mediocre head coach, went on to lay a giant egg against washed up Florida State in Emerald Bowl. So after four years in Westwood where he was hired to compete for Pac-10 championships and beat Southern Cal, Dorrell has come up with three 6 loss seasons. Not good.
Now we are looking towards Dorrell's 5th season in Westwood, which lot of blowhards shilling for Dorrell (even before the 2006 season started) billed up as the season where UCLA is going to put it together (never mind the fact before 2006 season started Dorrell hyped this team as his best team yet). Nevertheless, here we are. We are stuck with Dorrell for one more season, once again getting ready for the expectations game.
And they are high. It should be high. With the talent and starters returning on this roster, if UCLA doesn't come up with a Pac-10 championship next season, it should immediately fire Dorrell.
Before the Emerald Bowl game ESPN gurus were projecting UCLA to compete for more than just a shot at the Rose Bowl, when they take on Southern Cal in the last regular season game of next season. The expectation still remains high even after the Emerald debacle, as in their latest rankings compiled by Mark Schlabach, they have UCLA checking in at number 20:
Why: The Bruins won their last three regular-season games, including a 13-9 upset of USC, before losing to Florida State 44-27 in the Emerald Bowl. UCLA could start 10 seniors on defense next season, and coordinator DeWayne Walker proved to be a great tactician in the upset of the Trojans. Likewise, the Bruins should lose only one starter on offense -- center Robert Chai -- and two experienced quarterbacks, Patrick Cowan and Ben Olson, will battle for the starting job.
Why not: This will be a very important season for coach Karl Dorrell, who seemed to be on his way out until UCLA upset rival USC. The Bruins lose only three regulars, but two of them were All-Americans: first-team kicker Justin Medlock (28-for-32 field goals) and second-team defensive end Justin Hickman (12½ sacks).
Going back to Schlabbach's ESPN rankings, he made couple of interesting points in his blurb on UCLA.. By labeling the upcoming season a "very important" one for Dorrell, Schlabach basically lays out the gauntlet for probably the worst coach in the history of UCLA football, putting him on the hot season this off-season. Mark Schlabach then official put Dorrell on the hot seat in this followup article from bowl season:
Get ready folks. Dorrell is now on the hot seat. The huge win on December 2, 2006 did nothing to take pressure of this mediocre head coach. The expectations (deservedly) are going to be sky high going into this season, and he will not have any more excuses to hide behind should he come short against to win the Pac-10 in his fifth year in Westwood.
What's ironic is that Dorrell probably doesn't even want to be at UCLA. Even if he delivers on his expectations and win the Pac-10 next season, he will probably jump at the first opportunity of going to the NFL. Just compare the situation to our basketball coach. Our basketball coach in every opportunity he gets gushes about our university, embrace the legend of Coach Wooden, and embrace this Nation's high expectation. While on the football front all you get is having the head coach's name pop up in coaching searches for random pro and college teams in the nation (don't think it's happening just by accident ... Dorrell's name is not showing up magically in various lists). Yeah, I don't buy the BS spin (coming from his supporters) about how Dorrell is such a loyal Bruin.
So it behooves us that we do everything we can to keep up the pressure and make sure that Dorrell remains on the hot seat heading into 2007.
To date in terms of bottom line he has done nothing to earn confidence of the Bruin Nation.
We will build the case over next few months on why any head coach with reasonable competence with the current talent available on UCLA's football roster should win the Pac-10 conference in 2007. If Dorrell doesn't exhibit that competence next season and not deliver on the reasonable expectations of a Pac-10 championship in his fifth year in Westwood, we are going to put all out pressure on Dan Guerrero to pull the trigger. And if DG does not pull the trigger at that point of time, we will probably shift our focus higher than the head coaching position of UCLA football.