Wednesday's practice saw the Bruins continue to deal with the fallout from last Thursday's embarrassment in Arizona; not only is Rick Neuheisel continuing on with the same job he has done all year, the team has to cope with the loss of Randall Carroll, Taylor Embree, Shaq Evans and Ricky Marvary for Saturday's game against Cal. One of our seldom-used offensive weapons is preparing to return to action, as Anthony Barr was able to practice yesterday. Neu told the media that he hopes to use Barr in a small offensive role on Saturday, as long as it is not unsafe for Anthony and his return from September knee surgery. Gold reminded us of Sheldon Price's struggles in returning from his knee injury, while we should also keep in mind the multiple times that Neuheisel has used an unhealthy Kevin Prince over the past couple of years in not expecting too much of an impact from Anthony this weekend, but also in demanding that he only see action if his knee really has fully recovered. While Rick may think that he has a slim hope of keeping his job, he won't help his case by again sending an injured player into action because of a perceived necessity.
And while Dan Guerrero spends his days sending out tonedeaf dismissals of Bruin concerns over the football program and his own job, others are continuing to spread the word that Dan Guerrero needs to resign immediately or to be terminated. The folks at Occupy UCLA Athletics are continuing to spread the message, getting cited yesterday by LA Weekly and by Stewart Mandel as he criticized Morgan Center's commitment to football in his weekly mailbag. BTW, their petition was up to 1,429 signatures when I checked last night. If you haven't signed yet, sign it. And ask your Bruin friends to sign as well.
The questioning of Dan Guerrero's
leadership holding the directorship at Morgan Center goes beyond the new guys in the Bruin blogosphere, or even our site. As Achilies wrote about yesterday, UCLA Hall of Famer and current CBS sportscaster Randy Cross ripped the UCLA administration as a whole for neglecting football, while CBS Sports CFB analyst Bruce Feldman appeared on yesterday's Petros and Money radio show to share his thoughts on the Bruins predicament - coaching as well as the greater issue of athletic leadership. As Feldman noted in the interview, the depths of last Thursday's disaster in the desert makes the possibility that the Bruins could rally to even reach .500 (and give DG any sort of cover to save Rick's ass) seem farfetched.
The bigger issue was addressed when Money asked Feldman about the desirability of UCLA as a coaching destination and what sort of coach UCLA could get if Rick is fired. Bruce began by identifying an all-too-common trait of modern UCLA football coaching hires - the incestuous nature of hiring - and
I think right now, they have hired UCLA guys. And it hasn't worked. First of all, I don't know if you even have the right AD at this point? Is he making the right decisions? I am shrugging my shoulders at this point.
Bruce continued the segment by talking about Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez (two guys that Petros brought up as examples, fwiw) as examples of coaches that would bring a different attitude to Westwood than what Karl Dorrell and Neu brought to the job in the last decade - whether or not they would be the right fit in SoCal - while also showing some love for former UCLA SID Marc Dellins in describing the excitement of Mike Leach's offense: 'Marc Dellins would throw for 400 yards a game' in Leach's offense.
While the official injury report for the Cal game will be released this afternoon, it looks like Kip Smith will be out again on Saturday, with Neuheisel telling the media that his hip injury is more serious than earlier thought. With Embree unavailable for the Cal game, it appears that Jordon James is likely to take over punt returning duties. In his post-practice talk with the media, Neuheisel talked about how spirited practice was (given the reports throughout the season, whoopty-do!), and made a few other remarks on the upcoming game.