Just another embarrassing loss for UCLA

October 7, 2007

cb6696d8-80c2-4862-9953-2f8ba3aa41b1.jpgI usually don’t post on weekends, but will make an exception for catastrophic losses.

Notre Dame 20, UCLA 6.

That qualifies as a horrible, indefensible, catastrophic loss.

For those of you who hadn’t been paying attention to college football this season, Notre Dame entered the game 0-5, and none of the games were even close.

Yet Notre Dame still managed to beat a team that was expected to do well this season and has talent. UCLA was ranked as high as #11 and returned 20 starters from a team that beat USC a year ago.

Some people will defend UCLA by saying that the Bruins lost because they had to use their third-string quarterback, MacLeod Bethel-Thompson, after starter Ben Olson got hurt early in the game.

But that’s not a good excuse. Bethel-Thompson passed the ball 28 times — about 20 times too many, considering that Notre Dame came into the game with the 107th best rushing defense in the country (out of 119 teams).

So even though Olson got injured and the inexperienced Bethel-Thompson threw four interceptions, I still blame coach Karl Dorrell for that disaster of an offense. A smart head coach would’ve realized that Notre Dame’s weakness on defense is the run, and to just keep running until you get stopped.

If you take away the quarterback runs (sacks), UCLA ran the ball 26 times for 111 yards — over four yards a carry, which is good. UCLA quarterbacks attempted 38 passes.

So let me get this straight — Notre Dame’s weakness on defense is stopping the run, so you pass 12 more times than you run — even though you have an inexperienced third-string quarterback. How does that make any sense? Thank you, Karl Dorrell.

To their credit, UCLA’s defense played great, holding Notre Dame to 140 total yards (UCLA got 277). But the offensive gameplan and execution was beyond horrible. The blame for that lies entirely with Dorrell. He’s the one who has an offensive background, he’s the one who recruited these players, he’s the one responsible for this team.

I know UCLA is 4-2, and to the uninformed fan, that looks good. But none of the wins are against good teams (and UCLA played horrible in all of them). Both of the losses were horrendous, embarrassing losses that made UCLA football a laughingstock. (Read my thoughts on the Utah debacle here).

If UCLA’s not the worst 4-2 team in the country, I don’t know who is. What’s scary is the tough games on the schedule are still remaining (Cal, Oregon, Arizona State, USC).

Notre Dame is now 1-5. While most of the country has been laughing at them for being a laughingstock, they will now laugh at UCLA for losing to Notre Dame.


If this post sounded incoherent, it’s because these embarrassing losses still hurt, even when you get used to them and expect them to happen.

Link for photo.

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7 Responses to “Just another embarrassing loss for UCLA”

  1. I agree. UCLA has been very dissapointing this season, but I’m still recovering from the USC lost to Stanford. I would love to hear your thoughts on that whole upset at All Talk Sports.

  2. Ben Says:

    The thing that I find really ironic about this UCLA team is that it is essentially the exact same team that Dorrell inherited in his first year. Even though we are a little more talented this year than in 2003, we have not improved at all and have cycled back through different versions of mediocrity.

    I really had a lot of faith in the coaching staff- much more than most UCLA fans – and have been extremely disappointed by the way the season has turned out.

    I don’t think there is any UCLA fan that could possibly want Dorrell back for another season. I like him as a person and I truly wish the best for him in the rest of his coaching career, but this year, he was truly exposed as a coach who isn’t ready to coach a D-I team in a major conference.

  3. Larry Brown Says:

    Harsh words, Ben. Question is this: is the school too cheap to buy him out? Possibly.

  4. Ben Says:

    Yeah…I think its going to take more to fire him…I shouldn’t have written my last comment in past-tense because I do think that the team actually has a chance to beat some of the better Pac-10 teams and if that happens, there is no way he will get fired.

    But if this team continues to just tank, it might even be cheaper for the team to buy Dorrell out because no one is going to come to any games next year. Also, I do think that Dan Guerrero wants to win football games more than any of the other AD’s we’ve had, but I guess we’ll get our answer soon enough.

  5. Larry Brown Says:

    Well, he sort of gets a pass for the ND loss because of the QB situation. (Though UCLA could have won just punting on first down each possession) I really think UCLA is content being a basketball powerhouse, and just being a 7, 8, or 9 win team in football, going to mid-level bowls, with an occasional double-digit win season and corresponding big bowl. That being said, I think UCLA can still be closer to 9 wins every year, rather than 6, which is where they are with Dorrell.

  6. Gilbert Says:

    I’m mostly the same way Larry. I never expect UCLA to have the same success USC has had, but I expect the Bruins to be consistently in the 8-10 win range, with an occasional 5-7 win off year like next season will be. The Dorrell era has given us the opposite.

    The sad part is, you’re right. A lot of UCLA fans seem to be OK with being a basketball school, being only mediocre at football. But UCLA has a better football history than people give them credit for, they consistently made and won bowl games when it was hard to make bowl games.

  7. Scott Mayhew Says:


    sorry, but I think that is bull. I’ve been going to UCLA since I was a five year old and John Wooden was the coach and Terry Donahue led the football team. Donahue was medicre. What followed, Toledo, was on the one hand, and embarrassment but on the other, gave a taste for excellence. If we hadn’t had Bobby Fields prevent defense and if Miami didn’t have Edgarin James, our present history might look a lot different. It was during those years that USC was achieving mediocrity under a host of head coaches the likes of Ted Tolner, which was equally satisfying. I think, today, most bruins fans want it all. They want excellence in basketball and excellence in football (as well as volleyball, tennis, gynmnastics, soccer, and water polo). And beside championships, they want to be better than USC in everything — all athletics and academics. I believe the line that UCLA is a basketball school and USC is a football school is ancient history and uttered when the imagination has run out of everything but cliches.

    I liked Dorrell when he was first hired — energetic about the job and promising the world. I was concerned, though, that there were only two candidates and as I often say to my wife when presented with two extremes, are those my only choices? Dorrell has proven only one thing in his — what, five, six years…ten?) that he is the wrong hire for this job. UCLA shouldn’t be giving on-the-job training to the head coach of our football team. Its unfair to the players, the fans…hell, even the city tax payers. UCLA deserves a proven head coach, one who has won with less but cannot excel to the next level without the kind of resources only USC and UCLA can offer: talent-rich Southern California. In other words, we need the Ben Howland of UCLA football. I think Bruin fans should expect nothing less.

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