We will start our Humpday walk with once again offering our congratulations to 2008 National Champions: our UCLA Bruins
Photo Credit: UCLA Official Site
Menelaus, Telemachus have already put up posts celebrating our champions here and here. Thanks to everyone who kept all of us updated as the matches were going on yesterday afternoon. Simply an amazing accomplishment for a team that was apparently in a rebuilding mode. Not to mention you have to feel happy for Coach Stella Sampras Webster who finally brought one home after some of the near misses in recent years. Here is the recap from the Daily Bruin. Once again … congrats ladies.
Moving on from tennis, the news on the baseball front was not so cheery. Savage’s team once again came up short against Cal State Fullerton, losing to the Titans for the seventh straight game:
The UCLA baseball team carried a four-game winning streak going into its game against Cal State Fullerton Tuesday. The team, which had recently revived its hopes of reaching a third straight postseason, had also won five of its last six games.
But costly mistakes throughout a 12-8 loss snapped the winning streak and put those surging playoff aspirations at a standstill. UCLA (29-24, 11-10 Pac-10) committed four errors, which generated five unearned runs, in a hard-fought contest against No. 8 Fullerton (36-17, 15-6 Big West).
"They got us earlier in the season, so we wanted to come down here and obviously win a ball game," Blair Dunlap said. "We knew it was going to be a battle and they just came out on top."
Big West-leading Fullerton was 22-7 at home going into the game and had previously beaten UCLA twice this season. The defeat marks the seventh consecutive loss at the hands of the Titans dating back to late February of last year, which includes the two-game sweep at the 2007 Super Regionals.
"They have outplayed us the times that we’ve played them," coach John Savage said. "They’re obviously good and win a ton of games. We had an opportunity to win the game and didn’t take advantage of it."
I am assuming in order to make the playoffs, the Bruins will have to win at least 2 games in the season ending 3 game road trip in Berkeley. It will be a challenge against a very good Cal program (which IIRC is ranked in top-25).
Meanwhile, over at football front, the coaches are chipping away, working hard to resolve their depth issues at OL. One of the kids they are looking is Donovan Edwards, a Junior College OL, who is being recruited by a number of D-1 programs. From Brian Dohn:
I spoke with JUCO offensive tackle Donovan Edwards this afternoon, and he said "as of right now, I'm definitely leaning toward UCLA."
Edwards said he wanted to wait and meet members of the team and the coaching staff before he made a final decision. He is finishing up his work for this semester at Diablo Valley CC and confirmed he would visit UCLA the first week of June. USC, Cal, Florida, San Diego State and Mississippi are also recruiting him, but only UCLA is giving him the option of attending school in the fall.
"Wherever I go, I want to have a chance to come in an play and to make an impact,'' Edwards said. "I want to go where I fit in."
Given the depth issue we have at our OL, I think it is more than helpful to add a legitimate JC recruit with some experience, who can come in and contribute right away. Let’s hope this all works out for UCLA and Edwards.
Also on the football front, Dohn has this bit on an interesting road trip for DeWayne Walker:
UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker is in Pittsburgh, not to recruit, but rather to spend some time with the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff so he can bring more ideas back to UCLA.
Pittsburgh Steelers is an interesting choice for Walker (I am assuming here that he decided to pick which professional team he wanted to check out). Under Walker UCLA has been playing 4-3 defense at UCLA. Steelers are renowned for their 3-4 defensive scheme that has been dominating the NFL last few seasons. It will be interesting to see if this trip impacts UCLA’s 4-3 defensive scheme under Walker.
Lastly, just look at the schedules listing 2008 Opponents Win Percentage compiled by Phil Steele. According to that matrix UCLA has the 4th toughest schedule (.610 opponent winning percentage) in the country. So Walker, Chow and of course Neuheisel will need to explore every single creative options they have at their disposal next year.