Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
First, I’d like to say that I am amazed at the type of analysis that people are able to provide on this site especially with stats and information to back up their points. This is, however, not that post. I am an avid follower of BN and rarely fanpost, and rarely comment except for some game threads when I don’t have child responsibility – which seems like it’s less and less often nowadays. And those comments have sometimes even gotten me in trouble as I am often flippant and sarcastic, but I have to be that way when UCLA leaves me no option – I deflect, it drives my wife crazy too. Anyways, I have not been so upset that I had to vent in a FP, but today is that day, and I thought how could I share my thoughts without substantiated facts…. Well, Miller is my answer…. “I know it when I see it”
Miller as it applies to “taunting on defense or excessive celebration and personal fouls”
It is out and out embarrassing that our defense continues to taunt and have this swagger after one hit or tackle for loss when we are continually down in a game. I don’t have exact instances to point to, but I have seen it too many times this year already, and in years past as well. To me, this shows that the players do not see the big picture and fail to see the game a whole product; rather that if they make one play, they can brag and it’s all good. Well, I hate to burst bubbles, but that type of attitude doesn’t cut it and it needs to stop. I understand that players need to play with “controlled aggression” but far too often UCLA players have stepped beyond what is acceptable into the absurd and either cost the team in field position with penalties or just plain embarrassed themselves. Confidence and swagger is good; arrogance without justification is just plain stupid.
Miller as it applies to the “culture”
This also ties into the previous point. We have all heard the soundbytes, “This year is different.” Whether it is in the weight room or re-dedicating ourselves to film or not taking people lightly – nothing changes. As fans and alums we continue to hear after all the hyperbole, that “yeah, we didn’t have the intensity in the first half….” What have these players ever done that would allow them the excuse to take anyone lightly? Last I checked, UCLA has been a middling Pac-10 program for some time now, but the players just don’t seem to get it.
Miller on “coaching”
I am not a defensive coordinator and I never will be; but I can see what is and what is not working in a game. Whether it be DW or CB, the defense has been maddeningly inconsistent with quite a bit of talent. But I do think a point should be made in regards to Brian Price. Again, with no hard evidence, he was the reason why our defense was so stout last year, and in turn, why Rahim Moore had such a great year. BP allowed UCLA to rush 4 and still get pressure on the QB. With that, RM could roam and get into position and make the play. The key to a good defense is pressure with 4 rushers period. Look at the Giants defeating the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, UCLA is thin with playmakers at the line this year. In that case, the defensive coordinator needs to be creative with pressure; yet 3 rushers and all day to pass has led to some serious issues on 3rd and long for our D and it has not looked good. Also, it seems that at the beginning of games (whether it is the first drive or first qtr or beginning of the 2nd half) teams march right down against our defense. Is it talent, scheme, or not being ready? Is it on the players or coaches? Whatever the case, perception is reality and it seems they do not come ready to play and that is disgusting.
Miller and the QB
With apologies to Ugly Kid Joe – “They say ‘What is It?’” Quality Qb’s need to have the “it” factor and Miller is the only explanation. Aikman had “It” and so did Cade. Can you teach “it” or is “it” innate? Does “it” come with experience? What I know right now is that neither KP or RB have “it” as a Qb. I do not doubt KP’s heart or toughness. He plays through pain and wants to be out there and has never thrown his o-line under the bus. (By the way, people who deride Craft need a head check – that kid gave everything he had as a 3rd stringer and got the hell beat out him and never once complained – he deserved better from (most) of us). But the QB’s who have “it” know how to check down and get rid of the ball when pressure is coming and either slide in the pocket or throw the ball away. Of course a qb will be sacked a couple times a game, but sometimes the sack is on the qb. A QB should always recognize pressure from his throwing side and up the middle (Both qb’s do not recognize this yet IMO). Also, the QB needs to have that internal clock that lets them know when they must get rid of the ball and also read blind side blitzes. I don’t know how many times I am holding my breath when KP drops back, but it’s like I’m preparing myself for impending doom. I know it is still early in KP’s career, but for the first time (for me) I am now questioning whether the kid can lead this team – maybe he can, and maybe he can develop “it”, but for now, I’m not sure. Some of the problem is the o-line, some is the play-calling, but some must also fall on the Qb – and I’m not sure how this gets fixed.
Miller and Coach RN
I loved the hiring of RN. I still do. He loves UCLA and knows how special the University is. He is charismatic, classy, and is a “UCLA” guy. But I do not blindly give him carte blanche. Can he deliver and how much time does he get? I know these topics have been covered over and over here, but when the team is so thoroughly outclassed in game 6 of year 3 – questions needs to be asked. Yes, the cupboard was bare; but the 2 conference losses so far have been nothing short of embarrassing. At the beginning of the season, I had UCLA at 3-3 or 4-2 in my personal projection at this point. What I didn’t have was a frustrating loss to K-State, and 2 humiliating losses in conference where we were either outclassed (player issue), outcoached (coach issue), or outmanned (talent issue). I don’t believe it was a talent issue – but what do I know? I’m just an alumnus who his joy on Saturday is dependent on UCLA football. I’m a guy who has a UCLA tat and who exited his wedding to the UCLA fight song. I’m a guy who is still searching for answers. And I’m a guy who will be cheering his ass off rooting for a miracle against Oregon but will probably asking the same questions…. Just on a Thursday night….Venting concluded.