If you missed it the folks over at Coach's Hot Seat named CRN as the Co Coaches of Week 1 (sharing the honors with Steve Roberts of Arkansas State which upset the Texas A&M at Kyle Field (ouch, ouch)). Anyway here is their assessment of Neuehisel's first game as his alma mater's HC:
As we settled into our seats at the Rose Bowl last night for the game against Tennessee it was very clear quickly that UCLA was not losing the battle on the line of scrimmage on either the offensive or defensive sides of the ball, and that in the end was the key to the football game. How in the world that Tennessee with all of the big guys that they have on the defensive side of the ball did not dominate a banged-up UCLA offensive line is a mystery to us, because except when the Vols brought more rushers than Bruin blockers, the UCLA QB Craft was able to stand in the pocket and do what he wished. Of course, in the first half Craft threw 4 interceptions, but once Craft and the Bruins got going in second half it looked like it was the Tennessee coaches that were in the first year, and Rick Neuheisel and his UCLA staff that were the experienced hands. Alas, Rick Neuheisel, Norm Chow, and DeWayne Walker are experienced hands, and in their first game together at UCLA, they outcoached Fulmer & Company, and that fact has to be terrible disappointing to Tennessee fans everywhere.
UCLA was severely undermanned and inexperienced compared to Tennessee in most positions on the field, and the Bruins win says a lot about where both programs are at in this point of the season, and clearly Fulmer does not have his team ready to play on the level that will be required to succeed in the SEC. Rick Neuheisel and his staff had a very nice gameplan for Tennessee, and as well as Norm Chow did calling the offensive plays, DeWayne Walker’s defense played great, and the Bruins defense hasn’t looked that good since the 2006 USC game when they upset the Trojans at the Rose Bowl.
Rick Neuheisel and the UCLA Bruins are to be congratulated for a great start to the 2008 season, and it was good to see that there was some electricity in the air around Westwood this morning as we were eating breakfast. Ahhh, nothing like a filling breakfast and a walk around the UCLA campus to get the work week off to a nice start. The Sun is out, the beaches are beautiful, the women are stunning, and Rick Neuheisel and UCLA are 1-0 after a win over the vaunted Tennessee Vols. Is this a dream or reality, because if it is a dream those omelets we had this morning tasted awfully good!
CRN earned praise from all over the country this week (See Randy Hill from Fox Sports ranking his debut as the best among new coaches in Week 1). This was noteworthy given their doubts when UCLA introduced CRN as its new football coach:
We have no idea if Neuheisel will be able to summon the will and personal responsibility to redeem his career at UCLA, but if he is not able to he will be one of the most foolish men to ever walk this planet. It is not often that humans get a 3rd chance to prove themselves, especially at a place that knows all about one’s past transgressions. In fact, the people that hired Neuheisel no longer have anywhere to stand when it comes to hiring and firing athletic coaches at UCLA for NCAA violations, because they just hired a man that himself admits the mistakes he made in his past in that area. If Rick can use the excuse that he was young and foolish (the men that won World War II were much younger), every other coach at UCLA can, and that might just put UCLA in a very uncomfortable situation down the road if they try to hold someone to what will be a clear double-standard. Whatever the outcome of this chance that UCLA took, and it is a huge chance that the school took by laying on the line the integrity of the school when there were over 100 qualified candidates out there besides Neuheisel, it will be very interesting to see how this all works out.
I guess those guys think so far so good.