Wed Apr 15 03:46pm EDT
With tight end Logan Paulsen's mysterious ailment, UCLA has lost yet another key offensive player to a freak foot injury, and Rick Neuheisel, P.I. has his first suspect: Adidas' unusually narrow cleats:
The adidas shoe Paulsen is wearing is also coming under scrutiny, since the prevailing thought at UCLA is the sole of his shoe is too narrow and facilitated the injury.
"I had a similar circumstance at Washington," Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel said. "I had Jerramy Stevens there, a tight end, who broke his fifth metatarsal, and the complaint was the shoes that they're wearing doesn't have enough sole for their foot because they're big guys. The little toe hangs over the edge when they make their cuts, and (the injury) almost always happens when they're cutting on it."
Sounds ridiculous? The sort of thing a coach of Neuheisel's casual, off-the-cuff temperament might blurt out without thinking? Sure. Should reasonable readers be taking fashion advice in any form whatsoever from a man who wears sweater vests over v-neck shirts? Absolutely not.
But does the repeated and repeatedly flukey string of foot incidents on his suggest he's onto something? Yeah, maybe. We have diligently tracked UCLA's curious history with disabling podiatric mishaps for some time now -- Paulsen is the third Bruin to break his fifth metatarsal in less than a year, according to the L.A. Daily News -- with an especially cocked eyebrow toward quarterback Ben Olson (above, hopping like wounded deer next to his future ward mate, Paulsen), the one-time top-ranked recruit who first broke his foot last spring while backing away from the center in a non-contact drill, then broke it again during preseason drills last August and recently re-injured it preparing for UCLA's pro day. Something ain't right down there, friends and neighbors, and the shoes are as likely a culprit as anything else.
Adidas can be expected to release a statement in the coming weeks implying prissily that it's not their problem UCLA players have fat feet, along with statements of support from the athletic departments of Notre Dame, Nebraska, Michigan and Tennessee, all of whom employ Adidas' patented Lead-Soled Quarterbacking Clogs to considerable success in terms of overall foot health.