Tag:Jim Mastro
Posted on: July 15, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 12:40 pm
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Even Neuheisel agrees: it's bowl game or bust

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The consensus has been that after three seasons with no achievement more impressive than a handful of blue-chip signings and an EagleBank Bowl victory over Temple, Rick Neuheisel must either guide his UCLA team back to the postseason or get fired trying.

One person at UCLA who won't argue with that consensus? Rick Neuheisel, as it turns out:
The UCLA football coach must win at least half of his games and play in a bowl or he's gone, and he knows it.
"I hate talking like that, but, as an alumni, I would say absolutely yes," Neuheisel said Thursday. "At the end of the day, I am responsible for this program."
That's from a conversation between Neuheisel and Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, during which Neuheisel tocuhed on various aspects of last year's disastrous 4-8 campaign. One of those aspects was the hiring of since-departed offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who the Bruins paid some $500,000 to coach somewhere else. Despite Chow's pedigree, it's clear from Neuheisel's comments he feels he never should have hired the current Utah OC in the first place:
"I was more enamored with Norm's profile than anything else," Neuheisel says ... "I was trying to hit a home run ..."
"It just didn't work, and it's not Norm's fault. It was that chemistry thing. We didn't have the usual give-and-take that staffs need to be successful," Neuheisel says. "You have to have a staff that develops a recipe for success and stays united behind it. … I don't think that always got accomplished and, because of that, there's a trickle-down effect on your players."
The result of the Chow hire was that between Neuheisel and his star offensive coordinator, Plaschke writes, the Bruins saw their offense pulled in two different directions. He neglects to point out, however, that with neither Neuheisel nor Chow having any experience with the pistol offense installed before last season, Neuheisel also gave his team a third separate direction for the offense to juggle.

Here's how Plaschke describes Neuheisel's attempt to remedy the situation:
[H]e hired a bunch of strangers to everyone but him, coaches whose main attribute was that they shared his boundless optimism and energy. Anonymous guys. Neuheisel guys. He hired Mike Johnson to bring NFL offensive smarts, Joe Tresey to bring a Midwestern-style defense, and Jim Mastro to bring some secrets from that crazy Nevada "pistol" offense.
That's right: he hired a dyed-in-the-NFL-wool pro-style coordinator to oversee a doubling-down on the pistol ... or, in other words, he created -- on paper -- the exact offensive identity crisis that caused so many problems for his team last season.

We're wishing Neuheisel the best of luck. As good as the Bruins' defense shapes up to be, we're guessing he'll still need it.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 4:59 pm
 

Neuheisel vacations as staff vacancies wait

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one -- well, not many people -- would blame a head football coach for taking a little personal time following Signing Day. After the long grind of fall camp bleeding into the season followed immediately by the sprint to the recruiting finish line, it's a rare human being who wouldn't have his batteries almost totally drained.

But that blameslessness assumes the coach wasn't leaving important unfinished business behind him when he went on vacation. And for an unstable-looking program coming off of a 4-8 disaster of a season, multiple vacancies on the coaching staff most definitely qualify as "unfinished business." But according to a candidate for one of those vacancies at UCLA, that hasn't stopped Rick Neuheisel from jetting off to warmer climes:
Nevada running backs coach Jim Mastro interviewed for and was offered a position on the UCLA football staff Friday, but said he won't make a decision on whether he's leaving the Wolf Pack for at least a week.

"Nothing's done. We're still in talks," Mastro said via cell phone Friday night. "The challenge of the move is appealing, but this isn't an easy decision" ...

Mastro said UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and is scheduled to return to the U.S. on Thursday. Mastro said he needed to discuss the terms of a potential contract with Neuheisel before making a decision.
Remember that "running game coordinator," the position for which Mastro is interviewing, isn't the only or even the most important open position on the Bruins staff; that would be defensive coordinator, the job for which Neuheisel had reportedly already hired former USC assistant Rocky Seto before Seto's premature Facebook announcement (and according to many , fan-related protests based on Seto's Trojan past) led to his dismissal.

And as Bruin fans already irritated by the Seto fiasco are bitterly pointing out , while Neuheisel enjoys the Cabo sunshine, other schools are in the process of potentially hiring one of the precious few brand-name coordinators still on the market.

If his team hadn't gone 2-7 in its conference, if the Bruins' recruiting class hadn't been the program's weakest in years, if he had all his staff's i's dotted and t's crossed, then no one would begrudge Neuheisel a little time off. But given the state of affairs in which he has left his team, it's hard not to imagine him playing a fiddle on that Mexico beach as his program burns a hole to the bottom of the Pac-12 .

 
 
 
 
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