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The Right Notes

Let's get to the news and notes from the big Monday. As bruinhoo outlined below DG hit all the right notes in yesterday's press conference.  Wanted to pick out three bits from the LAT report on firing. First, DG said he was going to take as much time as it takes to make sure we hire the "right coach":

Guerrero expects a lengthy process before hiring the Bruins' next football coach because "we need to hire the right coach, and it's better to take some time and get it right then to rush and not make the right decisions."
Also I was encouraged to not hear the name - Bob Field - anywhere in this sentence:
Guerrero said an executive search firm will be hired to help "assist with the background checks and help evaluate the talent pool," but he said athletic department officials and Chancellor Gene Block would be involved "every step of the way."
From what I hear the athletic department officials DG will be paying close attention will probably not include Bob Fields, who came up with the finalist list of Riley, Robinson, and Dorrell last time around.

And as to one of the main reason why DG let Dorrell go:
"We have to build a program that can be competitive, especially in this city, as you well know," Guerrero said, referring to USC. "At times we did, but at other times we didn't. . . . At some point you have to say, 'Are you ready to take that next step?' I felt at this point in time we weren't ready to do this and I felt I had to get a new coach."
In other words just winning 60 percent of football games will not be enough at UCLA. The next step here means winning Pac-10 championships and being one of the main contenders in the BCS discussions in early December not in late August.

Meanwhile, Chris Dufresne in the LA Times hit all the right notes in his observations that Dorrell absolutely received a fair shake at UCLA:
Black, white, green or red, it's tough to argue Dorrell didn't get a fair shake.

UCLA gave a young coach a five-year chance and it didn't work out.

Dorrell got sufficient time to breathe, grow and prosper. He was a Bruin, a former star receiver, part of the family. Dorrell was hired by Dan Guerrero, a minority athletic director.

Dorrell was not fired because he is black. He was fired for the same reason a lot of coaches are fired. He didn't win enough, 35-27 in five seasons, and didn't beat USC enough -- one time in five tries.

"The issue in this particular situation has nothing to do with race," Guerrero said Monday. "It is really about performance and about my expectations of this program as we move forward."
Chris also connected when he wrote that why it is more than reasonable for DG to go another route than hiring an unproven assistant coach like DeWayne Walker with zero years of head coaching experience:
However, Walker's chances of getting the top spot at UCLA may be undermined by circumstances.

UCLA just took a chance on a minority coach with no previous head-coaching experience. Guerrero, understandably, might not want to go that route again.
Unfortunately Dufresne's common sense is missing from Mark Whicker's UCLA "wish list," which has the DyNoMite at the top. Then again Mark was defending Dorrell till the very last day. So his words don't count for much. He has no credibility when it comes to matter of UCLA football.

Moving on over at the recruiting front there has been no mass decommittments. In fact the LA Times is reporting that some kids reasonably are now on a holding pattern, while others are going a step forward and remaining committed to UCLA:
Newhall Hart High linebacker Patrick Larimore was at a news conference today for the teams playing in this weekend's Southern Section football championships when his cell phone buzzed.

It was a text message from his father telling him that Karl Dorrell had been fired as UCLA's football coach.

Larimore told Dorrell and his staff that he planned on accepting UCLA's scholarship offer and would sign a national letter of intent in February.

The news didn't change any of those plans.

"It's unfortunate they're going to leave, but I'm going to honor [my commitment]," he said. "I hope the defensive coaches don't leave, but I guess it just happens. I imagine we might lose some people, but I looked at everything. The education is huge."
Larimore sounds like a veteran Bruin. As for concerns about defensive coaches leaving, Kuwada also had these notes from two current players:
After learning of the firing, defensive tackle Brian Price, the top prize in the Bruins' 2007 recruiting class and a second-team freshman All-American, said he might transfer.

"He's one of the reasons I came here," Price said of Dorrell. "If they get rid of the defensive staff, yeah, I'll probably leave. I'm not sure yet, though. I'm still weighing my options."

Last week, linebacker Reggie Carter said the gains UCLA had made in recruiting L.A. high schools would take a hit if there was a total turnover on the coaching staff, particularly with top recruiters in defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker and receivers coach Eric Scott.

"Those are the two people I definitely wouldn't want to leave. I think that would really break things up," Carter said. "I know we're trying to build, but I don't want to start over. That would destroy the team and we would have to start all over again."
I appreciate the concerns of Price and Carter. But we have to remember they are still kids. And some of these reactions are expected. If DG executes a good search process (which I think he will) and gets us the right coach, not only the recruits will remain in fold, I believe the concerns of our current players will be addressed, and everyone will look forward to a new beginning starting.

All in all, I think Monday went really well. Once again I will say how encouraging it was to hear DG strike all the right notes. It's pretty clear to me that he is in line with the thoughts and vision we have been laying out here on BN for almost three years.
Now as grok451 pointed out below as we go through a coaching search (which could be a long one), we have to be patient. I know we all have our own favorite candidates. However, there is no absolute in this business. Every coach has their own flaws, while each of them is unique in their own way. I am just encouraged by the names that we are hearing publicly, which I believe is a huge improvement from the names we heard last go around, and to me I am sensing a breaking away from the era of Terry Donahue, which is a huge relief in my book. So let's all buckle up a little and enjoy the search.

I really liked how Quickhands stepped up and shared the article he found on Mike Leach (and BTW our friends at Double-T Nation are worried to say the least). If you like a particular coach and are doing research on him, feel free to share with rest of us, and articulate why you think he would be a good fit for Westwood. This is a great time for all of us to enlighten each other about new coaches, personalities, philosophies/approaches to the game etc.

It's a great time to be a UCLA football fan. There is a sense of hope as everyone is hitting our notes. The right notes.