WSU recruiting: The arms race

FORMER UCLA HEAD COACH and the father of a current Bruin quarterback, Rick Neuheisel, made waves recently when he discounted one key aspect of the Bruin facilities. Conversely, Mike Leach and AD Bill Moos have taken every opportunity to rave about Washington State’s still like-new Football Complex.

After UCLA allowed a 5-7 Nebraska team to rush for 326 yards in the Foster Farms Bowl, Neuheisel went on Sirius XM radio and pointed to the Bruins’ nutrition program and the lack of a nearby training table/dining room as major failings.

“It gets back to the one thing that was widely out of whack for my program there as compared to USC: the nutrition. They don’t eat… The snacks have gotten better, but they still don’t have a dining room. UCLA still doesn’t have an athletic dining room,” said Neuheisel (audio clip below).

Moos, on the other hand, has long trumpeted the importance of proper nutrition to team success, including in the summer of 2014 when the new Cougar Football Complex opened. 

Inside, WSU’s student-athletes eat meals in a dining hall that features two executive chefs and a general manger. In addition to the three meticulously planned meals a day, full-time nutritionists work with WSU’s student-athletes.  An array of snacks are also available at refueling stations next to the weight rooms (pictured above).

UCLA, according to Neuheisel, doesn’t have anything like that.

“In their whole remodel of Pauley Pavilion, they didn’t add a kitchen -- they have no place,” says Neuheisel. “So they contract out with the foods facility there… It’s still a walk. When you’re asking student-athletes to walk places, they’re not going to show up. Not nearly as much as they would if it were convenient and located right where their facility is. And because of that, especially as the season wears on, you see them lose their size.”

When the Cougar Football Complex opened, Leach said Washington State now had the best facilities in the Pac-12 and 18 months later, he’s still saying it and with increasing frequency.

Neuheisel, meanwhile, doesn’t see UCLA making changes anytime soon.

“The bottom line is until you have a facility and you have a commitment to nutrition, you’re in harm’s way. And I promise you, I know they think they do, but they don’t,” said Neuheisel.

For the audio clip, CLICK HERE

-- Rick Neuheisel (54) was the head man at UCLA from  2008-11. He has been a television analyst since 2012, first with the Pac-12 Networks and now with CBS. His son, QB Jerry Neuheisel, will be a fifth-year senior at UCLA this fall. 

-- Until August 2014, for reasons passing understanding, old NCAA rules prohibited schools from providing any  snacks other than bagels, fruits, nuts and peanut butter. Student-athletes can now receive unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with athletics participation.

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