UCLA vs. Washington Report Card

Let's be honest now. UCLA was far from flawless. While the effort, courage and heart that the Bruins displayed was admirable, you're not going to win many games with five giveaways. Two weeks ago, Arizona was kind enough to keep UCLA in the game before eventually winning. Today, it was UCLA who was kind enough to keep Washington in the game, but the Bruins did do enough to win and a team coming off of five straight losses isn't going to complain about the manner in which they get a W. Here are the grades for each unit, with A being exceptional, C being average and F last season's offensive line.

Quarterback

The Bruin quarterbacks were fantastic from the first toss of the game to the last. Kevin Prince put together a performance that justified all of the pre-season hype I was giving him as he put the ball in all of the right places, used his hot routes to perfection and even an audible. If he could just learn to slide, he'd be in great shape. With Prince on the bench due to injury, Kevin Craft got a shot and showed why he is a capable backup, making just about every throw. He wasn't perfect, but he was good enough and especially good when you consider the lack of snaps he's gotten of late. In his one series, Richard Brehaut proved that he still does have a ways to go. According to CRN in his post-game interview, Brehaut not only took a sack, but he also forgot to bring a guy in motion and was responsible for the illegal formation penalty when the Bruins were in the Wildcat and he did not get on the line. Overall, great day from the QB's, although the two interceptions were ill advised throws. Grade: A-

Running Back/Fullback

You have to hold onto the ball. Jonathan Franklin still hasn't figured that one out. Franklin has had a great freshman season, but fumbling the ball is the number one sin for a back and today was an example of that. Franklin made three great blitz pickups so he did some things right, but hanging onto the ball is number one. Derrick Coleman had a couple nice runs and while he still doesn't have the speed to break one, he picks up solid chunks of yards on just about every carry. Milton Knox was very good with the ball in his hands again, but that was mostly out of the Wildcat. When asked to work as a back in the base offense, he was hesitant, exhibiting why he's had issues getting on the field. Chane Moline is still an adequate blocker at best from the fullback spot, but he was tough running the ball. It was a sub-par performance overall, especially running the ball, but the blitz pickups were great all the way around. Grade: C-

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

It sure is nice to have a go-to receiver and it looks like the Bruins have one in Nelson Rosario. When a guy is 6'5'' and you know that all you have to do is get it up high, it makes things a heck of a lot easier on the quarterback so it's no surprise that Rosario has become a go-to guy. He's showing the focus and confidence he lacked earlier in the year and his second consecutive 100+ yard game is a product of that. Some excellent route running doesn't hurt either and his second quarter deep in that made the DB fall because he was caught by surprise when Rosario cut in is a perfect example of it. Terrance Austin showed some dependability and he's reading defenses better than any of the receivers, becoming a real weapon against zone defenses. Embree had a solid game, while Ketchum made an appearance. Ryan Moya made a good catch and Logan Paulsen had a big 56 yard catch, but for how much longer is the senior going to lead the team in freshman mistakes? Grade: A-

Offensive Line

The unit of the game, bar none. The growth from last season and even the beginning of this season is startling. Last season against a win-less Washington team, the Bruins gave up three sacks. Today, it was just two sacks despite 50% more pass attempts. Kai Maiava was a stud, getting side to side quickly to give the quarterbacks plenty of room to step up, while both tackles, Xavier Sua-Filo and Mike Harris, showed great feet, especially against the blitz. The guards were solid on passing plays, but the lack of surge on running plays has to be a concern for Jeff Baca and Ryan Taylor. The unit gets an A for pass blocking, but they need to be better on the run. The pass was the key to today's win though. Grade: B+

Defensive Line

A poor performance from the defensive line was the low light of the game for UCLA. It's concerning that the front four can't pressure the quarterback on their own, even occasionally and while they've done well to bottle up dive plays, they're not moving well enough side to side to stuff the runs off tackle. A lack of discipline on misdirection plays is also concerning, although they do a good job maintaining their position on the pass rush so even if they did not hit Jake Locker very often, they did keep him from getting the edge too often. At some point, someone needs to make a big play, especially if teams continually double Brian Prince. Two sacks and over six yards a rush for UW points to the defensive line. Grade: D+

Linebackers

The linebackers are fast, but sometimes too fast for their own good, especially Akeem Ayers. Over-pursuit has been a problem for the UCLA linebackers all year and reared its ugly head again today. Luckily, Reggie Carter looked to be in better health than he was last week and he was able to make up for some of the over-pursuit. Carter did a fantastic job holding the point and keeping big holes from opening up in the second level. The run defense of the UCLA linebackers was adequate at best, but they were fantastic in pass defense. They dropped back quickly to get into their space, were very quick coming up to make tackles and got to Locker when they were actually asked to blitz. Their ability to come up and make tackles after dropping into coverage showed just how much speed they have and their tackling was sure. Grade: B

Defensive Backs

Rahim Moore just manages to be in the right place at the right time. Some may call it lucky, but at some point, with how frequently he does it, Moore needs to get credit for it. Moor has eight interceptions now after picking one off the seal the win for the Bruins and he was very active all game, playing centerfield and making tackles against the run when the front seven didn't get it done. Alterraun Verner is still having issues that nobody was expected, but he's still the surest of corners for the Bruins, even if Sheldon Price made a singular great play on Moore's interception. One player who went largely unnoticed was Andrew Abbott, who did a fantastic job at nickle back. The safety position opposite Moore continues to be a trouble though as neither Tony Dye nor Glenn Love was better than mediocre. Grade: B

Special Teams

Kai Forbath is still automatic and while Jeff Locke has not showed the booming leg he did earlier on in the year, he's still be good. Austin's fumble on the kick is a concern for a guy who had been holding onto the ball, while the other candidates for the job haven't. Austin did have one big return to make up for some of his fumble. Kick coverage is still awful on a good day. Grade: C-

Coaching

Norm Chow called a great game and to the surprise of many, didn't take the foot off the pedal when Prince went down. It proved to be very successful and landed the Bruins a win. CRN's decision to go with Brehaut is questionable at best and his vow to get the freshman some meaningful snaps almost cost the Bruins a win, but the sack that took UCLA out of field goal range did not come back to haunt the team. Chuck Bullough's defense is doing just enough, but not as much as it should. He did show some more creativity and aggressiveness at the end of the game and we can only hope that he's turned a corner. The personal fouls are traced back to discipline and the coaching staff. Grade: B-

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