It's Wednesday, so we're half-way to the weekend, which for the last few months, meant we were half-way to a UCLA football game where we'd have absolutely no clue what to expect from the vespa clown show that resulted from Chianti Dan and Rick's mismanagement of our football program. And although it's abundantly clear that Chianti Dan is a clueless failure (who runs a dysfunctional, incompetent athletic director that will literally withhold money for food to its student-athletes) who must be fired, with the fluid situation surrounding Coach Jim Mora's assembly of his staff (which so far, has gotten off to a good start), we'll be on our toes to see if he can land Mazzone or another top-notch college offensive coordinator.
So, with that said, I'll keep this brief and get right into the Bruin Bites for the middle of the week. Here's your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- ESPN's Greg Biggins tweeted this morning that Washington Huskies' ace recruiter DB coach Demetrice Martin may be headed to UCLA. Martin is considered to be one of the best recruiters in the Pac-12 conference. Brandon Huffman agrees. Adding him to the staff in addition to the hiring of Adrian Klemm and Steven Broussard should set up Mora well. It shows encouraging signs that Mora "gets it" in terms of the need to establish deep roots in the local recruiting scene. The only concern here is the Husky defense hasn't performed during Martin's tenure but maybe that has more to do with Nick Holt than Marin.
- Speaking of defensive coaches, Huffman tweeted that "there is a very good chance UCLA defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield will be retained on Jim Mora's staff." This move will be puzzling to say the least given the performance (or lack thereof) of the DL this past season. The DL this past season was one of the most disappointing units of the team. The personnel decision was baffling and the technique was poor. Maybe Breckterfield brings something to the table in recruiting or that he was held back by the previous staff. This is the only coaching move in last 48 hours (if the report is true) that will pose some questions.
- Sticking with football news, Bill Connelly at SBN's Coaching Carousel 2011, evaluated the coaching hires at various programs in major conferences, including our own hiring of Jim Mora to replace Rick Neuheisel. In Connelly's rating criteria, the programs that fared the best were the ones who hired coaches that appeared on wish lists on BN: Washington State (Mike Leach), Ohio State (Urban Meyer), Arizona (Rich Rodriguez), and North Carolina (Larry Fedora). The bottom end? Of course, given Chianti Dan's propensity to fail, UCLA finished near the bottom with the Mora hire (which way work out fantastically for UCLA, but it's a huge risk/gamble) and Kansas (which hired failed former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis).
- Speaking of CJM, he hasn't won a lot of fans over in Atlanta, where he was the head coach of the Falcons for a few years: Mark Bradley at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about being torn between which college football coach in Los Angeles he hates more: Jim Mora, who had a tenure in Atlanta that was not exactly well-received, or Lane Kiffin, who Bradley calls "a smug little weasel who thinks the football world owes him a living because his daddy was a coach." LOL at the dig at Hello Kiffin. Ultimately, Bradley predicts Mora will flame out of Westwood in only two years. Oh, how optimistic these out-of-town journalists are: they totally forget Chianti Dan will predictably fiddle and remain idle and refuse to take action if a coach isn't meeting expectations (i.e. keeping Neuheisel after the Arizona and U$C losses, until his hand was forced).
- Oh, and in case you missed it, there is an ultimate must-read post from former UCLA offensive lineman Nick Ekbatani, in which he discusses life at UCLA, the hiring of Jim Mora, and ultimately, the need for change in administrative and financial support of the football program (read: Chianti Dan needs to stop trying to do it on the cheap).
- One last football note: WR Nelson Rosario and MLB Patrick Larimore were named the team MVPs. Personally, I would have picked Derrick Coleman and Tevin McDonald, but that's just me. Disagree? Fire away with your picks in the comment thread.
- Former UCLA tennis player Allen Fox is currently recovering from heart bypass surgery. Fox was a three-time All-American for the Bruins from 1959 through 1961, bringing national titles back to Westwood in 1960 and 1961. Let's all hope for and wish Dr. Fox a speedy and complete recovery.
- This Thursday, our women's volleyball team takes on Florida State in the NCAA tournament semi-finals. To get you geared up, check out ESPN's list of five things to look for in the semi-final round (and BTW, ESPN, if you're reading this, Tabi Love was clearly the better transfer). Finally, former Bruin volleyball player and member of UCLA's 1990 national title team, Holly McPeak, chimed in with her thoughts on the NCAA semi-final round, breaking down UCLA's ball-control style and solid defense, among other things.
- Finally, in a note that is sure to launch an internal BN NorCal vs. SoCal civil war, UCLA senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg has indicated that it is the Bay Area (mostly Silicon Valley) that is leading the state economy, and in all likelihood, the national economy. Interesting read. And folks, let's keep the NorCal vs. SoCal flame-baiting to a minimum.
Alright folks, that is your Bruin Bites round-up for the middle of this week. We're going to keep it short and sweet as we anticipate another hectic few days as we keep our focus on the on-going assistant coach situation with CJM's newly forming staff.
Fire away with your thoughts, comments, additions, etc. in the thread.