"Locked in"?

Back to joys of following Karl Dorrell football. One of the main themes heading into the Washington game is the ineffectiveness of our ground attack. Remember all the bragging about our running attack after that 270+ yard performance against D-1 powerhouse Rice? Well it's all gone. Players are still trying to find answers. The OL coach Jim Colletto blamed the inexperienced QBs for the ineffective ground attack earlier in the week. He still doesn't seem to have any good solutions for cranking up our ground attack:

There are plenty of reasons why UCLA's ground game has struggled, Colletto said, "but there's no point dwelling on it. We have to get it improved."

The strength of the Bruins offensive line was expected to be run blocking, but that has not been the case.

The Bruins rank eighth in the Pacific 10 Conference, averaging 126.9 yards rushing and 3.7 yards a carry. And in last week's 20-17 loss at Notre Dame, UCLA hit rock bottom with a season-low 26 yards rushing.

"The mechanics have to improve, our execution has to improve, the technique at the point of attack needs to improve," said Colletto, rattling off UCLA's offensive line to-do list. "At times we get things right and we look real good. Then there are times when we go to sleep."

UCLA ran well against Rice (277 yards) and Stanford (175 and two touchdowns), and had good stretches against Washington and Oregon. But there have been way too many times when they haven't, according to Colletto.

"We may have given them too many running plays, maybe too much information," he said. "... I have to do a better job of not overloading them."
Yeah that is really comforting from a journey man position who has been fired so many times in his mediocre career.  While Colletto doesn't seem to have any good answers for the ineffective running game, his players just sound confused (emphasis mine):
"We're going to get back on track with the running game. It's nothing major," said Markey, who has a team-leading 621 yards rushing. "We just have to focus on little details and execute. That's what we've been lacking lately. I have no concern at all."

After strong rushing performances at the beginning of the season, the Bruins had difficulty running against Arizona (22 carries, 65 yards), Oregon (30-104), and Notre Dame (28-26), averaging 2.4 yards per attempt.

The dry spell pushed UCLA to eighth in the Pacific-10 Conference in rushing at 126.9 yards per game, and the Bruins' five rushing touchdowns is tied for eighth.

"For some reason, when we play teams, the box is filled," UCLA offensive guard Shannon Tevaga said. "We game plan nine (defenders) in the box. When the run game wasn't working, we were frustrated by that. (Markey) didn't have anywhere to run against (Notre Dame)."
Tevaga's comments suggest two things: our players are inadequately prepared for the game and they (coaches) don't seem to have any clue how to adjust their game plan/schemes when Bruins' opponents are stifling the running game. This of course goes back to one of the main sources of our frustrations with Karl Dorrell here in BN. Sure we get how Walker may have called the right defense against ND in those last 62 seconds. But what gets us is not just the fact that they called 6 straight runs during the last 2 series, but it was the kind of run plays the coaches were calling. Well it was basically just one play, which had Markey slamming straight up the middle. It just encapsulated the whole season portraying a team which not only is often unprepared especially on the offensive side of the ball, but is also totally incapable of making in game adjustments (case in point scoring 3 points against a mediocre ND defense during the second half).

Anyways, we will not go back to the ND game and stop being a meanie to KD. We will take him at his word when he says this:
The Bruins finished what Dorrell characterized as a strong week of practice with no obvious signs of a hangover stemming from their last-minute loss at Notre Dame. "I like what I saw today," Dorrell said. "I was looking for things, to see if that was the case, but today confirmed everything. They're pretty locked in."
All righty then.  We will expect a "locked in" Bruin team to come out with focus (this week it was Markey using the word) and pay attention to all the details and finally put together the team's first complete performance since the Utah game. BTW, the OC Register articled linked above says that OL (strong tackle) Lanis may play after all despite his injury, which is very good news. Let's hope the ground attack will crank it up and take a lot of pressure off Patrick Cowan who will definitely face some serious heat from the Couger DEs this weekend.

Once again, it's time for KD to back up all the talk of "growing" and "learning" by showing some positive results on the field.  He seems to keep coming up short every weekend. Because as far as W-L record against good teams goes, KD has come up with a big fat "zero" this season. That's right, he is 0-3 against teams with winning record in 2006. So if the team is "locked in" we expect a big win against a winning team at the Rose Bowl.

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