It's been a long decade of irrelevance for UCLA football, but last night, against Arizona, UCLA finally hit rock bottom. The Wildcats put an absolute beat-down on the Bruins on a nationally televised ESPN game, outscoring the Bruins 42-7 . . . in the first half. Fortunately, Arizona took their foot off the pedal, took out their starters, or else Rick would be facing something 80+.
With a roster loaded with talent from top-tier recruiting class after top-tier recruiting class, the Bruins again came out flat, were undisciplined, and were thoroughly out-coached by an interim head coach with zero head coaching experience in charge of a moribund program that was 1-5 coming in to last night's game. That's right folks: Tim Kish, coaching his first game ever as a head coach, made Rick look flat-out clueless.
Despite two weeks of "preparation" and getting "ready to compete" Rick's team came out flat, uninspired, and could not even execute simple, basic fundamental football skills. From dropped passes to the lack of anything resembling defensive discipline or tackling ability, one thing became abundantly clear: there's a lot of guys in Westwood who call themselves "coaches" but no one on Rick Neuheisel's staff knows how to coach. It's sad when high school programs (De La Salle, Mater Dei) have better defensive gap discipline and more sound fundamentals.
And this isn't the first time this kind of embarrassing play happened. As Patroclus laid out yesterday, the embarrassing performances have been the norm for every game this season as the Bruins have flailed away in our much discussed "eye test" game after game.
This is absolutely pathetic. It's totally unacceptable. We have bent over backwards to give Rick Neuheisel a fair shake, to be reasonable in our expectations for him. While Neuheisel is still technically alive to meet the baseline expectations for this season, we specifically mentioned this (emphasis ours):
We should also add that we are also going to look at more than just the baseline expectations set out above. For example, we are not going to look kindly on an 8-4 regular season record that includes the type of epic beat downs that the UCLA football program has vomited out in recent years in the form of drubbings courtesy of BYU, Oregon and Southern Cal.
Well in some ways the latest debacle in Arizona was worse than those epic beat downs referred in the paragraph above. Add to the scoreboard, what happened towards the end of first half showed on national television how Neuheisel has completely lost this program.
Generally speaking, it is unwise to let a coach go mid-season. The exception to the rule is when a team quits on the coach. The team quit last night. Frankly, it looked like they quit before the game even started. They did not come to compete. They did not rally around their coach in an attempt to save his job. They played like they did not care.
So after last night, no matter what happens rest of the season, we can say absolutely, without any doubt, that Rick Neuheisel is not the man for the job in Westwood:
Rick Neuheisel needs to either resign or be fired immediately.
But that's not enough folks.
The diseased culture of mediocrity that permeates Morgan Center has not only made our football program a laughing stock, a proverbial soft team of vespa clowns, but it has damaged UCLA athletics as a whole. Not only is operating revenue and ticket sales down, but even our non-revenue programs aren't nearly as successful as they were before Dan Guerrero took over at Morgan Center, but ol' Dan still collects a big fat paycheck. In case folks need reminders here are the low lights from Guerrero's reign of error at UCLA:
- Dan Guerrero initiates a newsletter, calls it a "blog", refuses to allow UCLA fans to post questions publicly, and hand-picks the softball questions to answer, in a manner that proves Dan and Morgan Center have zero understanding of how to engage with the fan base using "new media."
- UCLA football, under Dan's watch, has gone from a conference power and nationally prominent program, with regular Rose Bowl appearances, into the laughing stock of the conference, causing UCLA football to slide into total irrelevancy.
- Guerrero's tone-deaf public statements are embarrassing at best, and insulting to the intelligence of the UCLA fan base at worst, but more damning is that Guerrero and Morgan Center's failure to grasp that they have become an easy target for open mockery.
- Dan Guerrero is responsible for the diseased culture of mediocrity that has infected Morgan Center, demonstrating a complete inability to manage a top-tier Division I athletic program with a BCS conference football program.
- Under Dan's watch,UCLA football has managed to hit an all-time low, with sagging attendance at the Rose Bowl and embarrassing defeats at home on national television, playing undisciplined, lazy, conservative football.
- Since Dan Guerrero has taken the reins at Morgan Center, UCLA has managed to consistently slide toward mediocrity and obscurity, causing us to openly wonder if Dan's new slogan is "First to 100, Last to 200"as UCLA's formerly-consistent championship haul gets smaller during his reign.
- The entire student seating debacle at the lame, over-priced Pauley Pavilion renovation (#SFatPauley), which involved shady UCLA athletic department officials flat-out lying to the UCLA community.
- The idiotic decision to hire Cheatey Petey disciple Rocky Seto as UCLA's next defensive coordinator (#VetoSeto), demonstrating a total inability to grasp the entire Bruin Nation's objection to hiring a shady Trogan operator from a sanctioned program of cheaters.
- Declining operating revenue and ticket sales due to total mismanagement of UCLA's main revenue program, letting football turn into a total joke.
- Hiring two football coaches from the diseased, conservative, play-not-to-lose Donahue coaching tree (Karl Dorrell and Rick Neuheisel), while passing on other, better qualified, more talented coaches, that made us openly question Guerrero's ability to evaluate coaching talent and make a competent hire for the football program.
All of this leads to our other conclusion:
Dan Guerrero needs to either resign or be fired immediately.
Before going any further, we want to make something abundantly clear: we appreciate Rick's passion and love for UCLA. He's been a very classy coach and great representative of UCLA. Even as his program circles the drain, he hasn't stooped to the lame duck tactics we saw from the last head coach (playing the race card, throwing players under the bus). Rick, unlike his predecessor, recruited very well (in spite of the poor on-field product, probably because he's a great salesman for everything UCLA) and he'll leave a loaded roster for the next head coach.
That said, it's clear that Rick is not the right man for the job. His recruiting was very solid, and sometimes absolutely lights-out amazing, but college football just doesn't seem to mesh well with him. We wish Rick luck in whatever endeavor he chooses to pursue next.
As for Dan Guerrero, UCLA should not have been in a position to look for it's third head coach in the last decade. That's an unacceptable statistic and, even in the absence of all the other BS that Guerrero has pulled while in charge at Morgan Center, is a damning indictment of his mismanagement of the Athletic Department and his willing acceptance and promotion of the diseased culture of mediocrity at Morgan Center.
It is time for wholesale regime change in Westwood.