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Week 3 (Texas): The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of UCLA Football

Things are so bad for Rick Neuheisel lost his first Bruins Nation initial (now RN instead of CRN) and even the good makes him look bad.

The only "good" player this week, kicker Jeff Locke, was a guy RN was so desperate to replace he was considering using a walk on.  Locke only made two field goals of AVERAGE length 50 yards and both extra points, yet RN spent the week looking at a walk on to take kicks

The hip flexor injury to kicker Kip Smith appears to be giving the UCLA coaching staff cause for a little bit more concern than they are letting on because on Wednesday they had men's soccer team manager Tyler Gonzalez trying out for the job.

. . ."We're just taking a look around," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "By rule we can have a couple of day tryouts."

Because Gonzalez is not an official member of the team, he was not available to talk to the media, but Neuheisel says he is roommates with one of the football team's student assistants. He was an all-CIF soccer player in high school but has not played soccer for UCLA.

For those of you wondering what the coaches do during the week, you have your answer.  They look around at walk-ons and talk to the student assistants about their high school days. Also, those mad at the Morgan Center take note.  It may have been their inability to process Gonzalez quick enough that forced RN to use Locke.  BTW, don't forget that we could have tied the Houston game if UCLA could have made an extra point and a chip shot FG. How bad at evaluating talent do you have to be? 

How bad this gets after the jump.

The worst situation is of course the QB.  This is the bad.  I wrote a comment during the game that I thought  Richard Brehaut may be better because he does not listen to RN or know the system as well as Prince.  RN likes to keep the opponents guessing.  RN said during the pregame he knew who he was going to start but wanted to keep it secret from the media. 

Two problems.  This is not Tom Brady or Michael Vick starting.  I don't think any opponent is really going to change the game plan whether RB or KP is starting. 

Second bigger problem is this hurts our kids.  As Peter Yoon writes

"There was never really a definitive plan from him," Brehaut said when asked if he planned on getting in the game Saturday. "He didn't really give us a lot like he didn't give [the media] a lot."

And that doesn't give the offense a lot. UCLA has occasionally looked very good on offense, but other times it looks brilliant, on others it looks like a jumbled mess. Prince and Brehaut have different styles, different cadences to their signal calling, and different timing with their throws and different chemistry with different receivers.

"It didn't work today," offensive coordinator Mike Johnson said of the question mark-at-quarterback plan. "As a coordinator, you'd like to see it end. But you've got to keep working through it."

Neuheisel said he started Prince on Saturday because the game plan was to run and try to control the clock, but after an eight-yard gain on the Bruins' first play, Prince threw a pass. Texas defensive back Carrington Byndum intercepted it.

BTW, UCLA had 8 running plays to 7 passing plays before Prince was pulled.  Yeah, so much for more running with Prince. 

As bad as RN is as a coach.  The defense is so bad it is the ugly.  I think by the time you get to a big time program such as UCLA you would know how to tackle but apparently our players don't

"We could do a better job of tackling in practice," defensive tackle Cassius Marsh said. "I don't think people know the difference between thudding up and tapping them. That's something we should emphasize this week. We need to practice tackling in order to execute in the game."

That sums up how ugly is the defense?  Nope, the ugliest problem?  That goes to the players meeting last week and the statements of Patrick Larimore.  I realize I am old by the standards of the kids today but tackling someone after a nine gain is not a reason to celebrate.  Neither is stopping someone on first and second down because it is meaningless if you don't stop them on third down.  But last week the defense had a players only meeting where Larimore made the following statements so ridiculous that they are almost as ugly as all those celebrations by the defense after they actually make a tackle:

"We called a meeting to gel," said junior linebacker Patrick Larimore, also a team captain. "Trying to feel out each other's energy more and having that roll over into games."

Larimore said the team noticed while watching film that the energy and chemistry levels of the defense seemed to be lacking. Players are too concerned with their individual assignments, he said, and not functioning as a unit. Cohesiveness and bonding were big topics of discussion at the meeting, he said.

"We need to celebrate with each other a little more and feed off each other's energy," Larimore said. "It gets the energy of the group together. We needed to get hyped and excited and to feel like there was a purpose other than just getting assignments and practicing. There's something more that needs to be attained."

Yeah, that's right don't practice tacklng, just celebrate.  I am old but that is ugly when you look as bad as this team.  

I am glad someone is celebrating at UCLA, because after four years of RN, the only thing that will make me celebrate is a new coach. 

Go Bruins