Weekly Answers, Pt. 5

Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…

1) I don’t really have a question but I was wondering, as someone who is close to the team, you can relay how much better the talent is under CRN compared to under Dorrell. I really don’t think people understand how much Dorrell messed the program up when it comes to getting those elite players to come to UCLA. Thanks! – Mbruck
There is a marked difference in the talent from even a year ago, really. The speed on this team is drastically improved, and you’ll notice most immediately on special teams. I’d be shocked – like, actually really, really, really shocked – if UCLA doesn’t get at least one or two TD returns this year.

2) Jon, thanks for all the video interviews. It’s great to hear the players unfiltered and unedited. Based on what you have seen so far from Darius Bell, do you think redshirting Richard Brehaut will be a real option this year? – Anthony
Based on what I’ve seen so far? No. I like Bell’s game, but I haven’t seen enough consistency from day-to-day, much less throw-to-throw, than is needed. Bell could be a very good change-of-pace guy, and I’m intrigued by a possible Prince/Bell formation, but right now, Brehaut is a solid backup.

3) Has Savage supplanted Eddie Williams at RG? Who will be our starting 5 OL by the KSU game? (Assuming no new injuries.) Thanks for your hard work. – Dr. Mario?
Savage starting? No. Sheller/Taylor/Maiava/Williams/Kia.

4) (1) JG, who’s now running in the OL and DL two-deep? (2) Is Casey Griffiths looking like he’ll contribute this year? – KolbAte10Eggs
Well, that was the first line, and the second line, with Baca out, is Ward/Yandall/Capella/Savage/Harris. I think Griffiths is ultimately going to get into the two-deep. DL: Chandler/Edison/Carter/Holmes and Tepa/Marsh/Carter/Owa with Graham pushing hard.

5) What is your take on the O-Line’s progress? Comparing last year’s O-Line, at this time, to this year. – Roksinger
As a group, improved, but the loss of Su’a-Filo hurts. A lot. He was incredibly steady last year, especially for a freshman, and he’s the kind of guy you build around. If he returns and is healthy and can get his feel back – and honestly, that’s the hardest part, just getting that football “feel” back – and UCLA adds a few more major OL prospects, and things are looking up in a couple years.

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  • Buddy

    Darryl Jackson 6’8, 290 OL previously signed by SMU moved to UCLA can start playing next Fall. There’s a body for you.

  • uclabrruin1989

    look, i’ve bashed KD as much as anyone, but until RN starts winning all the talk about improved talent level is just hot air. time to show it on the field RN…

  • Bruinjunta

    Jon, I’m curious what type of process you have to go through to get the one-on-one interviews. Is there any protocol that you have to go through with the AD to get that access? I love the interviews, but as we all know, kids (and grown men) are always susceptible to foot-in-mouth situations during interviews, especially on camera. Just wondering how concerned UCLA is with what players say to you, and obviously how the represent the university and the team.

  • Anonymous

    Furthermore, Dorrell was in the process of cleaning up the program. He was beginning to turn the program around (at least at the recruiting level). Ayers and Moore were recruited by Dorrell and Walker. Neuheisel’s first accomplishment as a head coach at UCLA was keeping the amazing recruiting class Dorrell had put together. As a result, the talent level has been improving every year. Furthermore, because the football program was in such shambles, the administration was giving Dorrell no help in allowing special admits. Even with that, Dorrell (with much credit to Walker) was able to establish a defensive presence that kept games close – even shutting down USC for a win. Those who bash Dorrell are very short sighted – surprising for the academically superior Bruin fans. Now if you want to talk about Toledo . . .

  • Reformed Droog

    I think most of the sentiment I’ve seen on this blog is that we have great respect for Coach Dorrell and what he did to clean up the program and we have great respect for what he was starting to do in terms of bringing UCLA football into the 21st century as far as gameplanning and recruiting are concerned.

    However, I think that most of the posters here also believe that Coach Dorrell’s inexperience at head coach was too often evidenced by an inability to bring consistency to the field week in and week out.

    Unfortunately, as with all forms of politics, there will always been a vocal minority that screams loudest and gets the most attention. (And make no mistake, college football is all about politics…)

  • INawe

    Toledo and Dorrell did destroy the program. However you have no idea what you are talking about concerning “turning” the program around. Zero O-line. Not going after USC recruits. Allowing top notch recruits to be taken by other schools out of LA. Not being able to keep coordinators. If it wasn’t for Walker we would have nothing left. Dorrell was a waste of a decade.

  • Watty

    Dorrell was UCLA’s form of self-imposed sanctions.

  • Realist

    Really INawe, Dorrell destroyed the program? Lets compare Dorrell and Rick so far:

    Dorrell went 22-17 in his first three seasons as the coach.

    Rick is 11-14 after two seasons, meaning he will need to win 11 games this season to match Dorrell’s win total.

    As you pointed out, Dorrell took over a destroyed program as a result of Toledo. The four year record of the team before Dorrell took over was 24-22 with only two bowl game appearances.

    Rick took over a team that was 29-21 in the four seasons prior, with four bowl appearances.

    For those saying Dorrell was a terrible recruiter, you must be saying Dorrell is a much better coach than Rick. How could Dorrell be more successful with worse talent otherwise?

    If Dorrell destroyed the program, it appears Rick is making sure it stays down.

  • Redwhiteandbruin

    Realist, time to actually come back to reality. Toledo did a lot wrong but he did leave a lot of talent when he left. Toledo could recruit, especially on the offensive side. Dorell had some work to do, but he wasn’t starting from scratch. Dorell left nothing. His recruiting classes were horrid. He was afraid to fight for recruits. If $c said they were going after a recruit, Dorell gave up on him. One of the reasons CRNs classes have been so successful is that he’s gone back into the inner city, an area where recruits didn’t even think about us as an option anymore during the Dorell years.
    You can’t compare winning % during the first few seasons between the two. Dorell had talent. CRN had to rebuild.

  • INawe

    The jury is still out with Rick. I never said Ucla wasn’t good at times but Dorrell’s inability to keep Coordinators from leaving made it impossible for Dorrell to bring the team to consistent winning years. Btw, how many of those bowl games did we win? Exactly.

  • Mike H class of 90

    I don’t think it’s fair to do a comparison of Rick and Karl – too many variables like strength of schedule, key injuries, special admits, money available for assistant coaches, etc. make it hard to do that, imo. I also, however, don’t think it’s fair to say Dorrell did not improve parts of the program. Look at who is on the 2-deep – this year and last year there are still several Dorrell recruits (yes, including Kia, Sheller, Savage and Harris – all OL recruited by Dorrell – and look at some of the other positions as well). They must not be that bad if they are still on the 2-deep even with the talent Rick has brought in. There were some glaring problems in the Dorrell era, but it’s stupid to say that he destroyed the program.

  • INawe

    I will concede the fact that “destroyed” may be too harsh a word. At least we aren’t Washington State. ;)

  • bruin pride

    Dorrell did what he was brought in to do – clean up the program. However, he was not successful at making UCLA an annual BCS contender.

    Now CRN was brought in to restore the winning ways. Considering that only half of the roster are his own recruits, let’s see what he can do a year from now when it truly becomes his program.

  • Reasonable Bruin

    @Reformed Droog -

    “Vocal minority”? I’m pretty sure it was a vocal majority that got Dorrell fired.

    And to the rest of the Dorrell apologists, sure he ran a ‘clean’ program, but did you ever watch a game he coached? Have you forgotten how gutless he was in 3rd and short & 4th and short sitations? Have you forgotten his horrible clock management? Have you forgotten how he would take a knee at the end of a half instead of being aggressive? Have you forgotten his lack of in-game adjustments? Did you forget his playing-not-to-lose mentality which cost us game after game (nothing worse than at South Bend)? If it wasn’t for Coach Walker’s D and a couple of miracle finishes in 2005, Dorrell’s resume would be even worse.

    Dorrell is a good guy, and I was among the many who supported his hire. But he truly did set the program back 10 years. Toledo’s last season was 2001, and it will probably be 2011 when the Bruins are once again relevant in the national discussion.

  • Bruinjunta

    I don’t want to discount what KD did in terms of getting good kids, and maybe getting some less heralded guys to play up. However, if a team wants to be great, you need to be competitive in everything you do, which can be done with respect. I think CRN has gone about his recruiting in a straightforward and unapologetic manner. If KD didn’t have Walker pulling in Rahim and Ayers, I don’t think you could make much claim about the holdovers from the KD era.

    All anyone needs to do is watch vids of Dietrich Riley and Malcolm Jones to know CRN is getting kids that not only want to overachieve, but have potential to be superstars. If people don’t have the feeling we are on an upward trend, I don’t know what they’re smoking.

  • Anonymous

    Coach Dorrell inherited a talent-laden young team that was on its way up coming off a 8-5 season from Coach Toledo that included future NFL players such as Matt Ware, Brandon Chillar, Dave Ball, Rodney Leisle, Manuel White, Ben Emanuel, Tab Perry, Craig Bragg, Jarrad Page, Marcedes Lewis, Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Moore (who transferred to Oregon State and is the starting QB of Carolina Panthers now), and a school record setting QB in Matt Olson.

    Coach Neuheisel inherited a fast-crashing talent-depleted team from Coach Dorrell that lost a ton of seniors and was full of 2 and 3 stars recruits and walk-ons coming off a 6-7 season. His two fifth year senior QBs ended their careers in injuries during spring camp, his two underclassmen were running QBs who could not move a passing offense, and his incoming freshmen QBs were injured (Prince, who didn’t play as a senior in HS and Crissman who tore his shoulder in the 1st wk of fall camp).

    It is important for Bruins to take a closer look to recognize and appreciate the signs and the progresses made beyond the immediate records before a program flourishes and succeeds or take a complete nosedive.

  • Anonymous

    I feel like I’m listening to a bunch of Notre Dame fans blaming Willingham for Weis’ failures.

  • Anonymous

    You mean Drew Olson!

  • Rob M

    @Reasonable Bruin: Spot on depiction of Dorrell. So accurate that I got flashbacks of how frustrating it was watching those years. But, you forgot “the face”. Dorrell’s stoic, impassionate face through it all. So frustrating! He is a great character guy and he brought in good character kids that we can be proud of, but he couldn’t get them to win. The football talent just wasn’t there. His first true recruiting class in 2004 really stunted the program (2003 included Maurice Drew, who honored his verbal to Toledo):

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/footballrecruiting/football/recruiting/commitments/2004/ucla-64

    Compare that year to 2002 (Toledo’s last) or compare to 2009 or 2010 (wow, lots of 4 star/nationally recognized kids, thanks RN!). Granted, Dorrell got better (after 4years), but the damage was done. Oh, and trying to install a true WC offense for the college game is just a bad idea too.