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BN Roundup: Neuheisel's Middle East Trip, JUCO Updates & Graduations

Let's start Tuesday's round up with a little update from Rick Neuheisel's "Coach's Tour" in the Middle East. Neuheisel and his coaches are now in Iraq and staying at an interesting location. From the official site:

Coach Neuheisel called the office for a minute on Monday. He reported to one of the assistant coaches that the head coaches on the tour were currently staying in a place that had belonged to Saddam Hussein. All of the coaches were staying in the same room... in bunk beds.

Well hopefully we will get to see some pictures. On their way to Iraq, the coaches made a stop in Ramstein, Germany:

We arrived at 9:00 am and immediately checked into "billeting" - synonymous for lodging - and headed straight for the hospital to visit the wounded. Coach Neuheisel's charm was unmistakable as he and the rest of the coaches brought smiles to the faces of the young men and women at bed side. You can bet he got plenty of laughs from everyone as well.

Following the hospital, we headed to the Ramstein Fitness Center where 1,500-2,000 troops and families were eagerly waiting the coaches panel autograph signing.

That evening, we appropriately dined at the BenHoff German restaurant for some Schnitzel and a tall, slowly-poured Pilsner.

I can not explain how impressed Coach and I have been with the professionalism and enthusiasm displayed by all the men and women in our Armed Forces. We are kindly greeted everywhere we go with resounding applause, smiles and hugs. The young people, similar age to the young men and women representing our UCLA athletic program and school, are experiencing things day in and day out that force them to act with maturity far beyond their years. My heart goes out to these kids. It is too important for all of us to hear the story and support these young people in all they are doing. What once seemed like a far-off place comprised of young people you don't know is now all too familiar due to the common bond we all share as Americans.

Go here to read the full update from David Raih. Looking forward to reading more in the coming days.

While Coach Neuheisel is visiting troops in Iraq, things are looking good for couple of JUCO transfers back home in LA. Things look positive for Brandon Warner and Eddie Williams to get their administrative paper work done and get into UCLA. Brian Dohn has the latest updates on Warner:

I spoke to Compton College defensive tackle Branden Warner, and he said he is graduating Thursday and he believed UCLA will have his transcripts by the end of the week.
I was told by a few sources that if Warner is graduating, he will get into UCLA.
There is talk Warner could sign scholarship papers, but he said he will enroll June 21, when the first summer session begins.

And on Eddie Williams:

I spoke with Mt. SAC offensive lineman and UCLA signee Eddie Williams, and he said his plan is to enroll at UCLA June 21, when the first summer session begins.
He said he still has another week of school remaining, but he expects to get the necessary grades and be admitted to UCLA.
"it's been a long, tough road, having all this pressure on my back with school and life, work, friends family, bills,'' Williams said. "Like my coach would say, you prepare now for the rest of my life. It's been a long two years at the JUCO level. I can't wait to get to the next level."

Not a secret how badly we need some depth at OL. Getting Williams into school would a  boost. Of course an athlete like Warner will also help Bullough's guys up front as well. It's encouraging that they have been staying patient through the paperworks (which can get frustrating). I could totally see some other kids in the same situation giving up and taking the easy way out by going somewhere else.

Lastly, graduation weekend is coming up very soon at UCLA. Two pretty good Bruin quarterbacks will be attending the ceremony. From "What's Bruin":

In addition to the current student-athletes who are graduating, two of UCLA's top quarterbacks of the last 20 years will also be participating in graduation ceremonies - Troy Aikman, who completed his requirements last January, and Drew Olson, who is finishing his requirements this quarter. Congratulations to all of the graduates.

Well I don't really need to go on about Aikman's legend. Drew Olson on the other hand was one of the better QBs who often gets forgotten because of the mediocre coaching he had endure through college. He was of course instrumental in a big way (along with MJD) for UCLA putting together a 10 win season in 2005 despite being held back by the coaching of Karl Dorrell. Lot of those wins came because of miracles like this courtesy of the DO:

UCLA Stanford 2005 (via adonakis)

That was a great win in which Olson bailed us out. Of course we the team was well coached that game against an awful Stanford team should have been a blowout. Oh well.

Anyway, congrats to Olson, Aikman and all of our graduates.