Sports Beat, 11-4-07

--It's beginning to look like the Karl Dorrell era of UCLA football is coming to a close. Earlier this week, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said he'd be "very interested" to see how the Bruins play in their last four games. Well, he can't be pleased with a 41-34 loss to Arizona, while the LA Times openly asks "Is Dorrell losing his grip?" in the headline. In fairness to Dorrell, his team has faced injuries to several top offensive players at various times this season, but the team's inconsistencies are driving Bruin fans mad.

Already, I've heard rumors about two potential replacements in Boise State head coach Chris Petersen and former Washington and Colorado head coach Rick Neuheisel (now the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens). The latter has some obvious UCLA ties, and one would expect he's learned from his past mistakes. Chances are he wouldn't have quite as liberal of an interpretation of the NCAA rulebook if he coached college football again.

--I was at the Coliseum yesterday to see USC's 24-3 victory over Oregon State. The Trojan defense was phenomenal, as Beavers QB Sean Canfield never had a chance to do anything with the football. But USC's offense continues to lack rhythm and it seems out of sync. They seemed to fall asleep in the second half. John David Booty had a few moments in his return from injury, but many of his passes lacked the precision one would expect out of a Trojan quarterback. Booty and the running game are going to need to develop consistently quickly if they want a quality showing at Cal next weekend.

--LA Times writer Mark Heisler advises everyone to take a deep breath regarding the Kobe Bryant trade rumors. This story has really spiraled out of control. But amidst all the chaos, the Lakers still found a way to crush the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

Vladimir Radmanovic's performance 19-point performance was exactly what the Lakers needed. If he can play up to his capabilities and manage to stay within the triangle offense (Phil Jackson once called Radmanovic a "space cadet"), then the Lakers will be in much better shape than some expected.

At the time of this writing, the Lakers are trailing Utah 51-46 at halftime.

--It's obviously early, but Clipper fans have to be pleased with the team's 2-0 start. The Clippers aren't expected to do much this season, but Chris Kaman has looked better in the low post, and Corey Maggette scored 27 points in today's win over Seattle. And shockingly, Tim Thomas has scored 20 points in each Clipper win.

--Joe Torre's presence is already being felt in Los Angeles. After declaring that he had no interest in returning to the Dodgers, outfielder Luis Gonzalez suddenly changed his mind upon learning of Torre's hire.

"This is no knock against Grady," Gonzalez said, referring to former manager Grady Little, who resigned Tuesday. "But the credibility that Joe and his coaches bring is definitely intriguing."

Gonzalez said he thought that Torre would help the Dodgers on the free-agent market.

"I think it intrigues a lot of players that they hired a manager of the caliber of Joe," Gonzalez said. "I think it makes a huge difference. He's been in how many World Series? He's done it on both sides, as a player and as a manager. Players go through struggles, he's been there, done that. Everyone who's played for him respects him."

The Dodgers may be legitimately hesitant to re-sign Gonzalez, given his late-season attitude and subpar performance. But his comments are telling. Torre is one of the most respected managers in baseball, and his presence will make Dodger Stadium a more attractive free agent destination.

--Injuries to Ante Razov and Maykel Galindo were too much for Chivas USA to overcome, as the LA team was defeated by the Kansas City Wizards in the first round of the MLS Playoffs. It was a difficult end to what had been a great season for Chivas. The west's top-seeded team just suffered an injury to its star at the worst possible time.

--Staying with the MLS, it appears that the Los Angeles Galaxy will need a new coach. Frank Yallop is reportedly leaving to become the head coach of the expansion San Jose Earthquakes. Yallop had won two MLS titles as the head coach of the original San Jose Earthquakes before they moved to Houston in 2006. Reportedly, Yallop will cost the Earthquakes two draft picks.

This isn't devastating news to most Galaxy fans. Yallop presided over two of the worst seasons in Galaxy history, and he was rumored to be on the hot seat for much of the year. Now, it will be interesting to see who the Galaxy entrust to be David Beckham's MLS coach. There have been reports that AEG has approached former Chelsea head coach Jose Mourinho about taking over the team. The Galaxy have also reportedly talked to former German national coach Jurgen Klinsmann about the job.

Both Klinsmann and Mourinho are European and are two of the top coaches in the world. Mourinho won a Champions League title with FC Porto in 2004, and he had success at Chelsea. Klinsmann is a soccer legend who guided Germany to the semi-finals in the 2006 World Cup. He also lives in Southern California. Either coach would add even more excitement to Beckham's first full season (start-to-finish) with the Galaxy.

November 4, 2007 7:51 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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