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Roundup From BN Walk: News & Notes

We will start our walk around the hoops gym. Brian Dohn has an update on the status of Michael Roll:

I spoke to Roll the other day and he said he was still experiencing discomfort in his foot, and he had to take a day or two off every few days to let it rest. Citing word he received from his doctors, he is optimistic he will be ready when practice begins in October, but he added there are no guarantees.
He said the plantar fascia completely snapped in his foot, so scar tissue must grow back to replace it. He said he was told the discomfort (and sometimes pain) is from the scar tissue, and the only way his foot will fully heal is with rest.
When I asked him if he plans on taking a few weeks off during the summer so his foot can fully heal, he said he may do that.

None of us are in position to offer Roll advice based on his medical condition. We can only assume that he is participating in summer pick up games (if that is was Dohn was referring to when he mentioned about Roll taking “a few weeks off”) with clearance from his physicians. I am hoping Roll will be ready to go this Fall. Seems like it would make sense for him to completely shut it down for few weeks and rest up for him to get totally healthy. However, in this case as long as whatever Roll is doing is OKed by his physicians, I have no problem with his summer schedule.

Speaking of shutting it down this summer and focusing on getting healthy, Dohn has this update on Drew Gordon:

UCLA incoming freshman big man Drew Gordon was supposed to play for the under-18 national team, but decided not to. The decision, in talking with several people at UCLA, appears to be made in consultation with Bruins coach Ben Howland.
Gordon was injured, including a broken foot, during his senior season at Archbishop Mitty. Rather than risk another injury or concern his foot has not healed fully, a decision was made for Gordon to skip the tryout and begin taking summer classes at UCLA.

Dohn ended that post by writing he would try to followup with Howland on that note (and other issues). Should be interesting what he comes back with.

Moving on to football, interesting Q&A re. Neuheisel’s impact on UCLA’s recruiting in the early going over at WWL’s Pac-10 blog:

Any early indications of what Rick Neuheisel's impact will be recruiting at UCLA?
I think he's had a significant impact, particularly at the quarterback position. The commitment they've got now, Richard Brehaut, I think he is, potentially, one of the top two or three quarterbacks in this entire class. He's really good. He's kind of come out of nowhere but I think he's a [offensive coordinator] Norm Chow type of guy. I think with Chow and Neuheisel, you're going to see some offensive personnel give UCLA a longer thought. Now, the best thing they ever did was keep [defensive coordinator] DeWayne Walker... When the coaching change happened [from Karl Dorrell to Neuheisel], we were down at our All-Star game and every kid that we asked what they were going to do if UCLA went another direction said, 'If DeWayne Walker is not made the head coach or kept on the staff, I'm de-committing.' I think that was a huge coaching move on Neuheisel's part to retain him.

Sounds about right. What doesn’t sound right is a Trojan’s attempt to set expectations for this November’s UCLA-Washington game:

Unless Jake Locker really is the Tim Tebow of the West, this game should be one of the most manageable for UCLA in 2008. Despite playing all three out-of-conference games at home, Washington will be punished by a schedule featuring Oklahoma, BYU, and Notre Dame. Immediately prior to the UCLA game, the Huskies are facing potential blowout losses to USC and Arizona State. Morale could reach epic depths.

The real storyline of this game should probably be about two coaches headed in opposite directions. Willingham has had an up-and-down career, but his 11-25 record with Washington is unlikely to improve this season. Assuming he makes it to November 15, will he last another month?

Neuheisel, on the other hand, should be starting to pick up steam on the recruiting front. That's important because the measure of a successful first year probably won't hinge on the Bruin's won-lost record. UCLA fans understand that he's working with an injury-riddled quarterback group that's behind a frighteningly thin offensive line. Neuheisel will get plenty of slack, and his enthusiasm will keep everybody dreaming about finishing the year with a shocking, season-validating upset against Arizona State or USC.

That was from Adam Rose, the Trojan alum who runs LAT’s “What’s Bruin” blog. In his analysis Adam misses the central point that is going to be the backdrop in this game, which is emotion. I guess Adam missed the 13-9 (or 9-13 from his pov) score from two years ago, when emotion (along with good defensive schemes combined with some opportune/courageous QBing from Cowan) enabled UCLA to preserve its unmatched 8 game winning streak. Adam writes up about Huskies difficult pre-season schedule, completely ignoring UCLA’s pre-season schedule which is just as tough as UDub’s featuring Tennessee, Fresno State and BYU on the road (while UDub is taking on the Cougars at home).

Adam also conveniently forgets to mention how UCLA has had a difficult time playing up in Seattle losing 2 out of its last games up there (would have 3 straight losses if not for MJD’s breakout game in his sophomore season). So, we hopel Adam will stick to sharing links and just reporting on news on “What’s Bruin” instead of sharing his analysis/commentary which seems to be tinted from a Trojan pointed view (not sure what else to call it since he is a Trojan).

Anyway, we will see how it turns out. If Neuheisel finds a way to pull out a victory in that game, it will be a huge boost for UCLA. However, it’s a little ridiculous to call the game “most manageable” for UCLA completely discounting the emotional storyline that has the Huskies circled this date as their game of the year.