Pivoting ...

So today we will start putting the Rice game behind us and start thinking about Washington. Yesterday thought Dorrell still had to talk about the Rice game in his Monday chat with the beat reporters.  Today's papers have some of Dorrell's word of wisdom.

Despite scoring just 26 points against Rice Owls, KD is feeling good about his running game:

Offensively, although UCLA's 26 points were the fewest Rice allowed in 16 games and the Bruins don't yet have a rushing touchdown, Dorrell singled out the running game and gave kudos to the interior of the offensive line for clearing the way for tailback Chris Markey to rush for a career-high 208 yards.

"We made a few mistakes, critical mistakes," Dorrell said. "When you turn the ball over, it stalled some drives. We moved the ball very, very well. Wow, the run game, it was unbelievable with what we were able to accomplish from running the ball from Week 1 to Week 2."
His standards are really high. Aren't they? We don't have a single rushing TD after 8 quarters in this season, and our running game is "unbelievable." Some Dorrell supporters are fawning over that 208 yards Markey rushed for, which is nice. But no one (except Dohn) pointed out the fact the coaches decided not to play Markey most of third quarter, even though he had 116 yards on 13 carries at the half. The guy was missing in action in the first 13minutes of the quarter, before busting out for 36 yards on his first carry in the third. Anyways, we can only hope we will see better play calling/coaching decisions up in Seattle.

Lonnie White has more on Dorrell's assessment of last Saturday:
"We had some pretty good performances, although we didn't get the points on the board. We weren't executing to get touchdowns instead of field goals.

"This will be a great game to go over with for our team; so we can catch up some things that we can be really good at.... We did a lot of positive things, but there were just some miscues that overshadow the potential of what this team can become."
I guess really no need for a snarky retort here. But still. Executing to get TDs instead of FGs? This is like shooting fish in a barrel. I mean I heard from a very good source that apparently UCLA spent substantial amount of $$ for Dorrell to get some media training couple of years ago. And we are still getting these kinds of gibberish, unclear, coach speak from KD, which frankly not only embarrasses the head coach, but is also embarrassing to the university, where he graduated from. Anyways ...

Time to pivot and move on to the next game. Obviously Bruins need to resolve their punt returning issues. Well we needed to figure that out before the Rice game. But I guess we will use next two weeks deal with the disaster which is now the special teams. Here is Robert Kuwada on what Bruins will be doing to fix punt returning issues in next two weeks:
The Bruins will use their bye week to work on catching punts and making better decisions. Everett was near the 10-yard line and against the sideline when he misjudged the punt Saturday. UCLA would have been in poor field position had he let the ball go out of bounds, but at least the team would have retained possession.

"We're going to put them in more live situations in practice, in terms of getting a full coverage," said Dorrell, who coaches the punt returners. "I think all of them catch the ball well. ... I think the next step is really putting them under pressure and getting coverage down and distracting them, things like that. We're going to spend a lot of time doing that this week."
Huh? So Dorrell himself is responsible for coaching the punt returners? And this is what we have been getting last two weeks. We will see how Dorrell's "coaching" come through in Seattle in two weeks.

Speaking of the Huskies, already mentioned how they had a tough road game against the Sooners.  To get a little sense of Husky fans mindset going into their game against Fresno State, here is Washington Husky Football blog:
We always figured we would be 1-1 coming into this game, and Fresno St is a really big game as far as bowl contention is concerned. The Bulldogs gave the Duck's everything they could handle at home on Saturday and will be just as formidable a foe as Oklahoma.

Lappano also didn't call a very good game by continuing to force a square peg in a round hole which did not give his QB a lot of help. The call for an option inside the 5 when you have had no trouble running the ball up the middle all day is very questionable to say the least. You have four downs to make four yards, go with the percentages, and the percentages say that I.S. can't run the option under pressure.

Pass defense becomes a real concern as we get closer to the conference season because two teams that don't pass well have put a lot of yards on us the past two weeks. We all were counting on improved play and have yet to see it at the corners. Not many teams will beat UW with the run this year, but they really won't need to.

How good is Oklahoma? I don't think they will beat the Duck's in Autzen, if they do it will really surprise me.

How good is Washington? Much better than most expected, and about where I figured they would be. The question is will they be able to bounce back and win this week against another tough opponent? They will if they get improved play from QB. I expected a lot better performance from IS (Isiah Stanback - N), obviously he hasn't made a quantum leap from last year but perhaps Carl Bonnell has.
The note on their pass defense is pretty interesting. I am pretty sure BO will probably not see another funky Rocky Longish 3-3-5 formation from the Huskies, which he got from Rice. But it is a pretty good bet Huskies will be watching lot of the Rice tape, and figure out ways to mix in coverage, and put pressure on the first year QB. It sounds like Huskies have a pretty good run defense (although they did give up huge chunk of yardage against Peterson). So again it will be really up to Svoboda and Colletto (OL coach) to work with the OL, and come up with schemes, which will allow UCLA to establish a credible running game early. This will alleviate some of the pressure of Olson, allowing him to manage the game in a hostile situation on the road, and use a balanced attack to keep the Husky defense off guard.

In other words it will come down to coaching.

We will see if UCLA gets that in two weeks in Seattle.

GO BRUINS.
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