Your faithful Section 17 correspondent finally checking in...
It dawned on me, driving back home late today--the day after the game--that everyone who watched this game on TV probably has a much better idea of how we played, whether or not the penalties on either side were justified, etc. than me, a guy sitting up in the stands.
So, I will (mostly) try to refrain from analyzing the team's performance and just give you a different perspective:
- No "F" bombs in the stands around me, thankfully. Maybe the rain and cold simmered folks down, but I really did appreciate the lack of vulgarities in the stand, given the large number of kids around.
- Some UCLA fans are very sophisticated...and some are dolts. Case in point: the middle-aged guys behind me, and the twenty-something girl next to me, all made terrific observations about our sometimes good, sometimes bad playcalling and performance during the game. On the other hand, walking out after the game, I heard one moron excitedly say, "We have a young team this year. Just wait til next year!" It is thinking like this which makes people give Dorrell chance after chance after chance...
- Cowan is a spark plug. I'm not taking anything away from BO, but in my corner of the stadium, Cowan is damn near beloved. Maybe it is becuase of the SuC win. Maybe it is because he is a decent scrambler. Whatever it is, the crowd really does like him, and, in my mind, it seems the team responds to him.
- The replays on the big screen at the Rose Bowl are almost as bad as Pac-10 officiating. When they even bother to run the replays, it is often long after the play.
- Stupid penalties is the result of a lack of displicine. This falls 100% on the coaches. Period. Do not argue this point.
- The announced attendance was around 72,000. BS. There was maybe 55,000 people actually in attendance. And the Washington fan turnout was pretty god-awful. BYU easily had twice as many fans in attendance and the Cougar fans were much, much louder than the Huskie fans.
- Love him or hate him, Geoff Strand (the cheerleader alum in the goofy college sweater and cap) is a HUGE plus for the good guys. Goof on the guy all you like, but he gets the crowd to yell and he fires people up. He makes people laugh and he makes people pay attention, stand up, and yell. I am a witness. Anything or anybody that gets our crowd to yell louder is ok in my book.
- Nestor is 100% correct: Washington is terrible. I will say that I honestly enjoyed watching Locker scramble. The guy is talented and lightning fast, but not a great passer and he needs work. UCLA and U-Dub were both pathetic in the first half. I believe we only won because our defense played fairly well (except for our DBs, yikes) and we had an ungodly number of broken plays in the second half.
- Good news, bad news: Our playcalling was noticeably better, overall, but at times, we reverted back to the familiar run, run, pass routine. It is almost like the coaching staff retreats into their ultra-conservative ways every time we build up a small lead. That will not get it done, guys. I will say this: I am glad we went for it on 4th down, even though we did not make it. At least we tried.
- Part of me is still worried that You Know Who will win enough of these crappy games to buy himself another year. I am very worried about this. Please do not kid yourself that Guerrero and the world see, just like us, how poorly this team is coached. Just like a scary monster in the movies...he could be back.
- To end on a positive note, overall, the wife and I had a very good time. Prior to the game, we tailgated with a friend and her husband (a big Oregon Ducks fan, which means he hates U-Dub). His exact words to me: "You have no idea how lucky you were to have gone to UCLA. You had Pauley Pavillion and the Rose Bowl. I've been to many college football stadiums, all over the country, and there is no finer spot than watching football games at the Rose Bowl."