Bruin pair abandon sinking ship

In a quick comparison of Pac 12 schools in Los Angeles, it’s UCLA that is easily mistaken for the sanctioned program. Though neither made a postseason appearance, it was the Bruins that played fewer  games in 2010.  It was also those same Bruins signing less than 20 players in the 2011 recruiting class, with the nation’s elite choosing to avoid the Westwood wasteland. And now adding to the semblance of penalty and restriction, it’s those same Bruins reporting that a gridiron pair will abandoned the sinking ship.

UCLA announced that tight end Morrell Presley and cornerback Courtney Viney will transfer to new football homes this fall. Presley is the more recognizable name, having been rated the highest at his position upon exiting high school, and giving his original commitment to USC.  The eventual snub was scored as a victory for second-year coach Rick Neuheisel and his “gap closing” football team. And his explanation for the sudden change of heart didn’t sit well with Trojans, as it echoed the scripted words of rivals intending to land a jab.

“I felt like Coach Neuheisel would make me into not only a better football player but into a better man.”–Morrell Presley, December 2008

In his two years across town, the sophomore caught more colds than passes, while providing more press clippings for off-field issues than achievement between the lines. Neuheisel didn’t make a better football player, and judging by the many references to immaturity, he also failed to make a better man.

Viney, a senior, decided 3 years of Neuheisel was enough, after committing to UCLA under Karl Dorrell. Presley makes his departure after serving just two tours.

It should also be noted that listed among the recruiting victories over the years, Randall Carroll (2009) and Josh Shirley (2010)  were signing day steals and indicative of  a program moving in a new direction. Carroll, recognized as one of the fastest players in America by Heisman Pundit, has caught only 18 passes in two seasons, and Shirley was released from his letter of intent four months after signing.

Since the termination of Karl Dorrell, the Bruin ship has undoubtedly steered a new course. The compass now points south, as it closes the gap on futility.

Unlike its crosstown rival, it was the NCAA that  imposed sanctions on USC. By appearance, you wouldn’t know it, as the program continues to conduct business as usual.  But UCLA’s penalty is easily perceived as self imposed, not mandated by a governing body, but inflicted internally by those with the power to terminate and employ.

God bless Dan Guerrero for the hire, and long live Slick Rick.

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~ by Anthony on May 9, 2011.

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