WESTWOOD — Maybe it’s not entirely fair, given that Rick Neuheisel’s UCLA team went on the road to Conference USA contender Houston, outgained the Cougars by some 80 yards, did so with starting quarterback Kevin Prince missing most of the game with a concussion, and could have tied the game if not for a missed 32-yard field goal and blocked extra point (both in the final 2:30).
But the Bruins lost 38-34 all the same, and now Neuheisel’s seat — already scorching before this make-or-break season — is now hotter than ever.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that Neuheisel has apparently lost all patience for any practice lollygagging. Neuheisel followed up a lackluster afternoon with a “post-practice tirade,” once that included his screaming “I can’t be the only one who cares!” at his Bruins.
Neuheisel explained afterwards:
“The lack of concentration, jumping off sides, that’s ridiculous. That’s just lazy. We got to have tougher minded guys … I don’t know if it was the heat or we were tired or we’re not eating during the day, but we were not as sharp as they needed to be.”
The good news for Neuheisel and UCLA is that this week’s opponent shouldn’t require much in the way of quality practice, or maybe any practice at all; San Jose State lost 57-3 to Stanford last week and is still licking its wounds from 2010’s 1-11 campaign. The Bruins have been installed as 21-point favorites.
But if the Bruins are going to use their likely win over the Spartans as a springboard to anything greater, they can’t afford to waste their practice time. This is a team that’s already suffered yet another quarterback injury, the suspension of its starting center due to marijuana use, seen its defense gashed to the tune of 469 Cougar yards and 38 points, lost multiple offensive linemen to injury or other issues … so no, we don’t blame Neuheisel for blowing his top after having a sloppy practice added to what’s already laundry list of issues.