Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Underbelly Strikes Again

Senior tackle C.J. Niusulu, UCLA's most experienced defensive lineman, was suspended indefinitely by Coach Karl Dorrell on Tuesday for violation of athletic department policy.

Niusulu, who sat out last season's game against San Diego State for the same violation, may have played his last game as a Bruin.

"I don't know at this point and time whether I'm going to give him the opportunity to come back or not," Dorrell said. "This happened to him before and it's to the point where we have to make a decision about what we should do with our program and moving forward from this point on."

A few points.

First and foremost, what happened to the underbelly that Dorrell was supposedly cleaning up? See also this.

I'm sure Blindo has a handful of ready-made excuses. It's not Dorrell's fault that this player did whatever it is he did. (Just like Dorrell doesn't make the plays on the field). But KD should get credit for all the other guys that didn't get arrested. Of course. It's becoming increasingly clear that KD is really not a disciplinarian. But we knew all along that this was just a Blindo excuse anyway.

It was just another way to blame KD's current problems on the past tenure of Bob Toledo. Who, by the way, won 7 games the season he was (rightfully) fired. The team won 8 games. Dorrell has yet to win 7 games, and there are discipline problems, in other words, Dorrell has a lot of underbelly of his own. Somehow Blinod will manage to blame this on Bob Toledo, but the fact of the matter is that that excuse just isn't going to fly anymore.

We also don't want to hear about this affecting depth. (Which of course will also be blamed on everyone but Dorrell.) If he had disicplined his players to prevent this sort of thing (or -- perish the thought -- actually recruited some more good players of his own) would not be as big of a problem.

By the way, once again Lonnie White does nothing more than "report" the preparted Morgan Center spin. But Brian Dohn, the best Bruin sports reporter by a longshot, in our opinion, actually explains some of the facts behind the incident:

Niusulu missed practice Monday, but Dorrell said that was because of a class conflict. However, his absence Tuesday was because of the suspension, which comes after a string of transgressions within the program.

Niusulu repeatedly came late to team meetings and workout sessions. Last month, Niusulu acknowledged he was suspended from team activities because of his failure to show up on time for mandatory workouts. But he was reinstated for spring practice.

Last season, Niusulu was suspended for the game against San Diego State for a violation of athletic department policies.

Phone messages were not returned by Niusulu, who started seven games and tied for second among UCLA linemen with 24 tackles.


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