UCLA AD Dan Guerrero Looks Ahead To Football Season
July 20, 2011
With Pac-12 Football Media Day scheduled for next week, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero talks about the upcoming football season in a UCLABruins.com Q & A.
Q. What are your overall impressions of the football program?
A. I know that the last few years have been frustrating for all Bruin football fans, but I am excited about the prospects of turning the corner this fall. Rick and his revamped coaching staff, including new additions Mike Johnson, Joe Tresey, Inoke Breckterfield, Jim Mastro and Angus McClure, brought an exciting energy to the practice field during spring ball, and the enthusiasm among the players was infectious. With the continued improvement of our players, I sense genuine optimism for this coming season. Rick has consistently recruited very well, and the young men in our classes have developed physically and gained valuable experience, which I believe will pay dividends.
Q. What did you observe during Spring Practice that gives you reason for optimism?
A. I saw our young players continue to mature and work hard with our coaches. It was great to see the veterans step up and provide the leadership for a talented group of young players. On defense, we had players flying around with great intensity, appearing as a quick and aggressive unit. I am also excited about a quality corps of linebackers and the fierce competition that will materialize in the secondary and at the defensive line positions. On offense, we have some key players back from injuries that will enhance the competition and give us some depth at several key positions. Our running back corps will be among the best in the Pac-12, and we have great experience at the receiver position. Additionally, with Jim Mastro's extensive experience in with the Pistol offense, Rick taking over the coaching of the quarterbacks, and Mike Johnson's experience with the passing game, we should see a more formidable offense, resulting in greater productivity.
Q. Do you believe Rick Neuheisel can be successful at UCLA?
A. I absolutely believe Rick can be successful at UCLA. Rick loves his alma mater. No one represents UCLA like Rick Neuheisel. He played here, graduated from here and coached here as an assistant. He knows how great this University is, and he does an outstanding job of getting prospective student-athletes and their families to understand all that is wonderful about this institution. But recruiting alone doesn't necessarily equate to wins. This past off-season, I know Rick did a lot of soul-searching, analyzing what he needed to do to get the program headed in the right direction, and he has taken the steps to make it happen. I really believe the coaching changes have upped the intensity in the program and that this team is ready to make a move.
Q. What is your definition of successful?
A. A successful program wins football games and does it the right way. I expect us to be successful. We are all looking forward to improved results on the field. Rick knows that the goal is to move the needle forward, win football games and play in big bowls. Showing improvement on the field through hard work, focus and intensity is the best way to gauge the future of a program. You can never account for injuries and other types of adversity, of which we have had more than our share during the past several years. The key to our future success is how our coaches and student-athletes respond to these circumstances. I love the fact that Rick has never made excuses, and his complete focus is on our team getting better, and that is where his attention should be.
Q. Why should fans continue to support the football players and coaches?
A. Our student-athletes are great representatives of this University and strive with everything in their power to be successful. They work hard, both on the field and in the classroom, to bring honor to the four letters - UCLA. They chose to attend UCLA to bring glory to the program, to win for the Blue and Gold, and they are terrific young men. When you are around them, you can't help but realize how fortunate we are to have them in our program. And our coaches, both young and old, pour their heart and souls into our program. But the reality is, they can't do it alone. Having our fans at the Rose Bowl helps to inspire and motivate the team. Our student-athletes are Bruins...they wear our uniform, and they battle hard to proudly represent the University we all love. As of early July, we have a had very positive season ticket renewal rate, and everyone associated with our program, including our players, coaches, administrators and staff is grateful for the support of our fans. We have an exciting home schedule, including San Jose State, Texas, Washington State, California, Arizona State and Colorado and we expect to have big crowds at the Rose Bowl cheering for the Bruins.
Q. Speaking of the Rose Bowl, can you give an update on the renovation project?
A. The project is well underway, and fans will notice some definite changes when they come to our home opener against San Jose State on September 10. Included in these changes will be a new, state-of-the-art LED video board measuring 30 feet tall by 78 feet long on the north end of the stadium. There will also be a new clock on the south end, reminiscent of the historical Rose Bowl clock of the 1950s and `60s, a new, smaller scoreboard installed on the east end of the stadium, which will benefit those sitting on the press box side of the Rose Bowl. Fans will also notice that a great deal of work has been done on the west side of the stadium around the press box area. Structures and land have been cleared for the pouring of footings for the new press box. This construction has resulted in the removal of the permanent restrooms on the west side. For the upcoming season, fans will need to bear with us, as the Rose Bowl will set up higher-end portable restroom facilities on the west side of the stadium, similar to what was utilized on the north side of Pauley Pavilion this past season. Unfortunately, there is a price to pay for progress! We know this will be an inconvenience for some, but the Rose Bowl renovation is a project that will be a great benefit to our program and our fans for years to come. I want to thank our fans for their continued support of UCLA football in particular and UCLA Athletics in general. I hope everyone has an enjoyable summer and look forward to seeing them at the Rose Bowl in September. Go Bruins!
CLick for Bruin Video