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Where Will All The Recruits Go?

Bumped. Following Dohn's lead Chris Foster has now written a predictable article on the possibility of mass decommittment if and when UCLA fires the Doofus. Instead of making the same excellent points Menelaus did few weeks ago, I am just bumping his post. We really do have the dumbest beat reporters in college football/basketball covering UCLA. GO BRUINS. -N

I find this infuriating.

Honestly, it drives me absolutely bananas.

As an off-shoot of the risk adverse mentality I've discussed before, we keep hearing people waiving around the bugaboo about a coaching change leading to, OMG, lost recruits!

Let me first articulate, as best I can, the apologists' mentality.  They posit:

If coaching change; then lost recruits; then apocalyptic nastiness.

Several folks have already eviscerated this logic.  For one, there is no proof that a coaching change will lead to lost recruits, at least, that is, any more than might be caused continuing mediocrity and repeated embarrassing performances on the field (Kemonte Bateman anyone?). More importantly, even if this is true, it inaccurately assumes that the value of some number of lost recruits outweighs the heavy burden of a terrible coaching staff.  Also, it completely ignores the positive effect on recruiting generated by a new coaching change (at least one that isn't as lame as hiring Karl Dorrell in 2002), not to mention the short duration of any negative effect.

Seriously, let's think this through.  Here are a couple assumptions that ARE NOT TRUE.  Yes, that's right, I don't need any empirical data whatsoever to tell you that the following is complete BS.

  • If the current "coach" is fired, then recruits all go bye bye.  Yes, recruiting is highly personal.  And, yes, some recruits will go elsewhere.  But, I'd be shocked if any more than 50% of recruits change their minds after the typical change.  Leaving aside unusually early commits, these kids have a stake in their decisions.  And they made decisions for different reasons (for some, e.g., poor performance equals an opportunity at playing time).  I seriously invite anyone who thinks otherwise to show me the data.  Too me, this sounds like an empty scare tactic.  Silly rhetoric.  I feel like I'm in a dorm room again, and someone is talking slippery slopes.  If I'm wrong, please prove it.
  • If X recruits are lost, that value is not outweighed by: (1) the benefit of a new, even modestly better, coach; (2) the rising tide of improvement in existing players and recruits caused by said better coaching; and (3) the replacement recruits hauled in by the new coach (particularly if they are the home run hire UCLA deserves).  My wife is the math major in the family, but I'd be shocked if there was anything but a net benefit from replacing a poorly performing coach - even if all the existing recruits were lost.
  • Any disruption in the program is too great a risk to bear.  We've had coming on 5 years of heartbreaking anguish.  Even in our "10" win season, let me see a show of hands of the folks who actually thought that we were going to a BCS game, and not just pinning for a big prat fall.  Now, let's weigh the "benefit" of our four (likely five) years of shitty bowl games against an 0-11 season followed by improvement and sustained success.  That's right, let's assume we go 0-for-2008.  And, say, 7-6 in 2009.  And 10-2 in 2010.  And then have hope.  Yep, I know that's a word you've been unfamiliar with of late.  It's called H-O-P-E.  And real success to follow.
So, you see, these assumptions are all total bubkis.  And the only assumption my argument relies upon is that the new coach would be an improvement over KD.  I like them apples.

The corollary falsity, of course, is that we should hire Mr. Rebound instead, as that would limit the effects of any recruiting losses.  To this, I'll again give those who might disagree a mile of leeway.  Let's assume that Rebound Guy retains all the recruits, and Mr. Right retains none.  

Then it all comes down to Mr. Rebound v. Mr. Right.  Are the incoming recruits valuable enough to offset Mr. Rebound's relative mediocrity?  Or is Mr. Right's upswing of success enough to make this a moot point?  Maybe I'm wrong, but I think it will be the latter, and don't want to take the chance that Mr. Rebound will "learn" and "grow" into good head coach.