AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.As players walk around campus, sit in classrooms and talk with friends not on the football team, there is no escaping the reminders, which sometimes come from the most unexpected of places. “I’ve been in a couple of classes where teachers have made jokes about us not winning,” UCLA sophomore receiver Terrence Austin said. “There’s nothing I can say. I slump in my seat.” Austin said professors know he is a football player, but he declined to go into specifics about it because, after all, these are the same folks grading him. The Bruins are 5-3, and at 4-1 in the Pacific-10 Conference, they are in second place. They travel to seventh-place Arizona on Saturday, which should be a certain win, but not with this squad. Losing such games now define UCLA football, now known for playing well against top-tier teams, and mediocre, at best, against lower-tier teams. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Dorrell and players become butt of jokes. By Brian Dohn Staff Writer The physical pain comes on Saturdays. When UCLA loses one of its classic effort-questioning games to a supposedly inferior opponent, the mental battering lasts a few more days. Because of the inconsistent play, the job of fifth-year coach Karl Dorrell is in jeopardy, and some players are hearing about it nearly everywhere they turn on campus. “It’s tough because everyone is opening up a newspaper, and seeing photos and headlines of UCLA’s loss,” Austin said. “Everybody wants to know, we can get up for the big games, but how come we can’t win the ones we’re supposed to win? “Right now, we haven’t lost a game we were expected to lose. Right now, the mood around campus is how come we can’t win games we’re supposed to win? “I feel that hurt every day when I walk into class and somebody is looking at the newspaper and reading it. Or I’ll get a text message or something. It’s hard for me to respond. I can’t answer that question.” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero turned up the heat two days after Saturday’s 27-7 loss at Washington State by stating, “I will be very interested to see how we finish the season this year.” Everyone who thumbs through the campus newspaper today will be greeted by the controversy involving Dorrell’s status. An ad was purchased and will run in today’s Daily Bruin calling for Dorrell to be fired, according to Saba Riazati, the newspaper’s editor in chief. The contact number given for the buyer of the ad is a law firm in Orange County. Riazati added the ad is “a little larger than a quarter of a page,” and was subject to the same guidelines as other ads for the publication. “I’ve had at least a couple of students come up to me and skip the preamble of asking whether or not Dorrell’s going to lose his job, and just ask who I think will be replacing him,” said David Woods, a senior and football beat reporter for the Daily Bruin. “No one I’ve talked to really blames the players. On the other hand, this girl I know carved `Fire Karl’ in a pumpkin.” Woods added students who care about the state of the football program “are generally on the dump-Dorrell bandwagon.” The displeasure stems from Dorrell’s five-year coaching career, which is dotted with a few big wins, and some inexplicable losses, a few of which came this season. UCLA has faltered in colossal fashion in what was billed as an important season, and one in which 20 starters returned and many of the supposedly more difficult games are at home. As 16-point favorites at winless Utah on Sept. 15, UCLA was embarrassed, 44-6. The Bruins plummeted from No. 11 in the AP ranking out of the top 25 because of the loss. A lack of effort was cited by many players in the defeat. As 20-point favorites three weeks later against winless Notre Dame, the Bruins turned the ball over seven times, including six by walk-on quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, in a 20-6 loss. “Fire Dorrell” chants were heard coming from several sections of the Rose Bowl, and UCLA’s play calling was severely criticized. It remains the Irish’s only win in eight games. Then came the loss at Washington State, which was a six-point underdog. It was the Cougars’ only win in five conference games. UCLA’s lack of offensive execution – dropped passes, poorly thrown passes and missed blocks – was the main theme after the game. “The one feel you get from the fans around is it’s unacceptable, and I’m right there with them,” UCLA senior cornerback Trey Brown said. “That’s one of the biggest things I always say, is we’re not only out here playing for ourselves, but for the former players and all the Bruin fans out there as well. We have to get this thing in line, and we are.” Brown, one of UCLA’s top defensive players, said he hasn’t experienced professors making jokes at the football team’s expense, but said: “I’m sure they’re thinking it. And rightfully so. That’s not what we want to do out here.” But not all the players are feeling prying eyes and blistering words on campus. Senior defensive end Bruce Davis and sophomore cornerback Alterraun Verner each said the messages they are getting remain positive. “The only thing I ever hear is, `Sorry about the loss,”‘ Verner said. “I haven’t heard jokes. I think people are still juiced about football. I don’t think people have really given up on us yet.” As for jokes being made by professors, senior offensive lineman Brian Abraham said, “That stuff happens all the time.” But he ignores it. “I, seriously, couldn’t give a crap, to be honest,” UCLA senior right tackle Brian Abraham said. “I’m at the point where I don’t pay attention to it.” [email protected]
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