Check out the first batch of weekly answers…
1) Well I’m finally out of seclusion after the USC game, and I think I may have had an epiphany as to what went wrong this year. During the senior salute prior to the USC game, as the seniors came out one at time I kept asking myself, “Who are these guys?” Really, the only notable senior was Forbath. Could it be that there was such a lack of senior leadership, because there were no seniors to speak of, that a vital ingredient was plain missing? – UCLAW
Absolutely, and that cannot be understated. I always found it surprising that UCLA fans criticized the Bosworths, Reggie Carter and Jerzy Siewierski last season at times, given what they brought to the table on a consistent basis. Forget senior stars, there was simply a shocking lack of even senior role players, particularly on defense. Once UCLA gets to that level, where there is enough depth in the program that it’s a revolving door of older players, with young stars sprinkled in, then the Bruins can attempt to sustain success. I think it’s coming soon.
I don’t really buy into the “star” system, but I definitely think you can judge recruits based on tiers, and just look at Scout.com’s UCLA positional rankings from the class of 2008: 9, 14, 17, 28, 30, 38, 23, 33, 34, 48, 50, 53, 56, 56, 61, 69, 85, NR, NR.
Now look at 2010: 3, 8, 8, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 20, 11, 25, 34, 42, 45, 55, 80, 86.
Hard not to see a difference there.
2) Any updates on Akeem Ayers or Rahim Moore and their decisions whether to return or leave early for the NFL? What percentage do you put on each one leaving early? – Keith
Ayers already has a foot at the door, and Moore is going to analyze his stock a little more, but I expect him to leave early, as well. I would say the percentages are 98 percent and 66 percent.
3) What is the back story on Carlino’s sudden departure? – JP Losman
You have a kid who has bounced around before, with by most accounts a helicopter father, who comes to a program like UCLA, and suffers a concussion that derails his progress. Then you have a head coach who doesn’t realize that in 2010-11, even non-premier recruits feel a grossly overstated sense of entitlement and need to be coddled, and when the player is healthy, he doesn’t play him against Montana. Sprinkle into that the fact that UCLA has already recruited over him with Norman Powell, and could be expected to do the same next season, and you get a good idea of how they valued Carlino. I think he was a good player who could turn into a good mid-major guy, but clearly his camp thought he was a great player who could turn into a great major guy.
4) It seems like UCLA has a hard time retaining successful assistant coaches. Guys like Tom Cable, Eric Bienemy, Dewayne Walker, etc. all jump ship at the first offer. I have yet to hear of a highly-regarded UCLA assistant coach turning down an offer to go elsewhere. What do you make of UCLA’s inability to hang on to these types of guys long-term and how does it affect the program? – SidVicious
Yeah, I agree that is a problem, but I don’t think it’s really any worse at UCLA than at other programs. The cream rises to the top, and UCLA has had some good individual assistants. I’m not surprised any of them left for the jobs they ended up leaving for. Were any of those offers for worse jobs? If THAT starts happening, then get scared.
5) Has Darius Bell burned any bridges at UCLA after his brief playing time against Washington? Will he compete or is a transfer likely? – Football Fan
I doubt he will transfer, but I don’t expect him to be back in the quarterback race to any meaningful level. If I was UCLA, I would’ve played him in more unique packages last season to see if they at least had something there. Granted, his performance against Washington left a lot to be desired, but I also think they threw him into the wolves there.