Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
This was the first game I was able to attend since the game in Austin, Texas. I have obviously seen all the games on TV, but you get a better sense for what is going on when you are there. I have to say, I am frustrated, for many reasons. Here is my humble analysis.
1) Conservative play calling: I am frustrated that when RB got on a little bit of a roll passing the ball, we got conservative (4th quarter) and really didn’t give the young kid a chance. I do feel somewhat vindicated in that I have been saying for a long time that RB is our best option. He made passes to day that Prince never could have made. Arizona was trying to give this game away, and we got super conservative by passing on first down most of the time, and putting RB into tough passing situations. Once again, with the aggressiveness of the Arizona defense, why did we not throw one screen today ...and I am not only talking about your traditional screen. What about a WR screen or a bubble screen ... something to get Carroll and Smith the ball quickly in space. Never saw it once today, unless it happened when I went to get my pretzel.
2) Bullough blows. He did not blitz alot. He blitzed somewhat, and when he did blitz it wasn’t disguised at all. When he was going to blitz he brought up Westgate or Ayers and it was no secret what they were doing. Each time that happened, our cornerbacks (usually Price) were playing 10 yards off their man and Matt Scott just checked down to his hot read and completed the pass. Also, our tackling was atrocious … and the players have to take responsibility for that, but so does Bullough. It is his job to teach tackling and proper technique, and we are incredibly lacking in that department. Our defense doesn’t disguise anything. I bet if you did an anonymous poll of Pac-10 offensive coordinators, they would say our defense is the easiest to scheme against. I didn’t see any run blitz’s and we were relying on our LB’s to make tackles 5 yards off the line of scrimmage.
3) Jordan's great game: Jordan Zumwalt played a great game and showed that he should have been starting over Sloan from the get go. Sloan was slow and is very bad at taking on tacklers. Owa and Marsh also played very well, so the young defensive players are really getting some great experience. I would like to see Riley get more time, but I understand with Rahim why that isn’t happening. Offensively, it was great to see some creativity (at times), but why haven’t we gotten the ball to Carroll and Smith more during the season? The answer? Because Prince wasn’t capable.
4) Done drinking Norm Chow kool-aid. I know this may ruffle a few feathers, but I am done drinking the Norm Chow kool-aid. Plain and simple. We did not hire CNC to run the pistol offense. I have nothing against the pistol. I really don’t. However, that is like asking Bobby Knight to play zone defense or Albert Pujols to become a contact hitter. It doesn’t work. I don’t think that the pistol should be our main offense. It would be a great supplemental offense to go to at times, but to do it exclusively and expect CNC to become a master of it at his age (and lets face it he isn’t going to stay at UCLA long) is absurd. We brought him to UCLA, and pay him decent money, to develop QB’s, bring in offensive recruits, and run a exciting offense that is balanced with the run and the pass … and that will entice kids who want to play in a pro-style offense.
We didn’t bring Chow in to run the pistol. I appreciate his work at UCLA, but I think it might be better to say goodbye to Norm and let CRN sink or swim on his own next year ... and he HAS TO WIN NEXT YEAR. So if CRN is smart, he is going to take control of his program, and make the decisions that a head coach needs to make, such as who should start at QB, what plays to call, what direction to take the offense, when to go for it on 4th down, etc ... and not rely or be pressured into letting CNC make those decisions. It is CRN’s program, and he needs to take control of it or it will be too late. That also includes getting rid of Coach Bullough. As has been said many times. CRN might be better served to rid himself of both coordinators, run the offense himself (which he has proven to be capable of), and hire a "kick butt" defensive coordinator who has aggressive play calling in his blood ... and isn't scared to play young guys if they are better.
5) Pathetic Rose Bowl crowd: Lastly, the crowd today at the Rose Bowl bordered on pathetic. I have never gotten into that stadium so quickly. I don’t blame the fans at all. We are in Los Angeles and have many options. The excitement is slowly leaving the fan base and in the crowd today their was noticeable concern by fans throughout the stadium. CRN promised to bring an exciting brand of football to the Rose Bowl, with winning results. I am still waiting.