UCLA v Stanford and “Skippy” and the Gang

In a comment to my initial post, reference was made to the inept UCLA Football team, and the knight in shinning armor, Rick ‘Skippy” Neuheisel. While I hate to agree with the commenter, he does raise some good points. I am at a disadvantage, as the press of other obligations kept me from seeing all but most of the fourth quarter, so what I saw was pretty impressive. However, having seen almost every play of the season so far, and coming in with the Bruins holding a single point lead, and then falling behind the mighty Cardinal of Palo Alto and environs, I can easily and correctly say that this is not what most fans expected to be seeing.

When Neuheisel was hired, replacing the inept Karl Dorrell, the feelings were much the same as when Ben Howland replaced Steve Lavin. However, knowledgeable fans should have expected a similar first year. Least we forget, the man who has led the Bruins to three straight Final Fours went 11-17 in his first year, and it was not until his third year that he produced a championship caliber team.

Neuheisel did a commendable recruiting job after his late hire, but the returning squad was far from a deep and talented group, including many over-rated players. Add to the mix a siege of injuries to key players, including QBs number one and two, and to many other key players beginning with almost the first play of the season, and clearly, as stated by the commenter, the talent the Bruins put on the field is thin, and each additional injury, as seemed to hit the defense especially hard today, further reduced the quality of the play on the field. But, the talent of the coaching staff was very evident today, and Neuheisel and OC Norm Chow got the most out of Kevin Craft and the young offense, to score in the last seconds, to pull out a victory.

The offense and the play of Craft has been more than inconsistent, but given the inexperienced offensive line, injuries to running back Kahlil Bell and fullback Trevor Theriot, and the numerous receivers out with injuries causing almost total reliance on young, inexperienced receivers Taylor Embree, Dominique Johnson, Nelson Rosario, Ryan Moya, and Cory Harkey, the present is ok, but the future looks bright.

I think overall the team is improving, and I do see more victories possible this season.

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