Rick Neuheisel embarrassed himself, his team and his university last night here in Los Angeles as he took a senseless timeout late in the game against USC that lead to an embarrassing 48-yard touchdown pass by the Trojans’ to cap a 28-7 win over UCLA.
(Slick Rick gave us something to remember him by last night)
With under a minute to go and UCLA trailing 21-7, USC quarterback Matt Barkley took a knee to run out the clock, but Neuheisel inexplicably called timeout. Barkley responded on the next play with the long touchdown strike.
Barkley after the game said, “They can’t disrespect us like that.“
The move by the Neuheisel was another clue that UCLA blew it when hiring him, and I’m guessing last night’s game may shave a year off the coach’s tenure in Westwood.
In other words, Neuheisel could be facing a make or break season in 2010.
The team he inherited from Karl Dorrell hasn’t improved one bit in the two years Neuheisel has been the coach. Unlike Colorado and Washington, where Neuheisel inherited a cache of top quality talent schooled in a disciplined system, he didn’t have a chance to milk the previous regime’s team at UCLA.
At both CU and UW, after Neuheisel ran out of players from his predecessor, the programs fell into decline and the coach was eventually run out of town under differing, dubious circumstances.
At UCLA he’s fielded two seasons of mind-numbingly mediocre football, punctuated by public relations gaffes like what we saw last night. Before yesterday evening, I was thinking Neuheisel had at least two more years from his champion, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero, to get the program back to respectability. Now I’m not so sure that next year very well could be Neuheisel’s last season at UCLA.