I am definitely not as well versed and trained in the game of football like many here. I am not a stats guy or a former pee-wee, high school player. I am a true BRUIN fan and alum. From the perspective of all the BRUIN fans out there who have no football background, here are some observations/frustrations:
1. The plays we are running. Many fans wouldn't even know what the west coast offense or revolver or wildcat looks like. However, it is clear that we have 3 major plays. Run the ball, kick the punt, and kick the field goal. I know, it's not always just these 3 plays. However, as I remember someone posting last night, if an untrained football fan like me already knows what our team is going to run, I can't imagine what the other team's DC has planned against us. Not only do we run the ball, but it's almost consistently up the gut. So, the defense to this is in part due to the fact that our receivers can't catch and our QBs have not been very accurate. Also, our OL is still struggling to give our QBs enough time to throw. That means, the safest play for us is to run, run and run some more. I think this is where some of us are frustrated with when we say conservative play calling. Are we so scared of trying new plays, adjustments and testing out some of our new guys that all we can do is run, run and run some more. It's like taking a bunt every time in baseball because it will ensure that we don't strike out (well bunting can be complicated too if not executed correctly).
2. I might be banned for bringing this up, but watching this year's FB team is like watching last year's BB team. Okay, we don't have a comparable Drago in our FB team. What I am referring to is the inconsistency. Some games, we look pretty good and start feeling like we've turned the corner. Our guys have found the rhythm. They have finally learned to play together. Then the very next game, we look clueless. Like our BB team, we recruited some great players who have yet to show us great things. No, I don't blame the kids. Maybe I will put the blame on the UCLA system. What I mean by that is, well, we don't seem to have one. Our football team doesn't really have an identity. Other teams are discussed based on their system (e.g. Oregon's explosive offense, Stanford's hard nose Harbaugh football, even Fresno State's Pat Hill's anywhere, anytime football). UCLA doesn't have anything that scares their opponents. Sure Franklin is having a great season running the ball, but it's not because our team is an explosive running team. It's simply because we have no plan B. As long as they are ahead of us by more than 3 points, we have nothing on them. I mean, how do we sell our offense and defense to recruits? Maybe that's why we don't have a superstar QB. A star QB recruit can't commit to a school that can't describe what kind of offense he will be running at UCLA.
3. We have not kept up with the PAC10 schools. Nearly every single school has made some signs of moving forward: offensively, defensively or both. We seem to be coasting along with the same demeanor. Maybe we need to decide if we will first make our surge defensively or offensively to land some program building recruits. Had we stuck with pushing our defense as our selling point, we might be landing even bigger defensive recruits to build the program (imagine, we have ATV, Ayers, Moore). If we put our energy into defense, we can use our defense to help us build momentum and hopefully land a star offensive player. But at this point, we have no selling point.
4. Lastly, I posted this last night. The young and injury reasoning is getting old. Was it ATV who tweeted that he heard the young and inexperienced excuse since he got there and we are still using it. I think we agree that our young and inexperienced factor comes from our guys constantly getting injured, forcing younger players to step in. So I ask the question, what is going on with our guys getting injured year after year after year after year? Other teams do not suffer the same amount of injuries for so many years in a row like we do. When it's happened for this many years, it's no longer a coincidence or misfortune. It's a pattern. Which then leads to have we examined the nature of the injuries and how they happen? I know someone responded to me that you can't avoid torn ligaments or hamstring strains or concussions. My response would be then how do other schools avoid it? Are we recruiting players who are too injury prone? Are the plays that we are running putting our guys in harms way ( e.g. Ben Olson, Kevin Craft, Brehaut, Prince have all been injured because we are forcing them to run the ball). Are the passes getting thrown too high that our receivers are left wide open for a hit? Are we strength training in the right areas (muscles, ligaments, knee support)? Are we getting the right protective equipment?
I know, this has been a very unscientific posting. Then again, I was a history major, I only look for patterns in history. I'm not going to comment on coaching changes because until we decide our team's direction, a change in coaching for change's sake will only lead us back to where we are now.
Nevertheless, this I do know. I had my reservations about spending $200 for 2 tickets to see us play SUC after last night's display of incompetence. Then I remembered, I am a BRUIN. We are true BRUIN fans. We are not clueless bandwagon SUC fans who sport the gear but don't even know SUC is a school, not a professional team. We stick with our guys no matter how bad they look because we are true fans. That's what separates us from SUC fans who have stopped tweeting and facebooking about how great their team is simply because they are not bowl eligible. To end this long rant, I will be at the game and I will support our team.