I enjoyed reading the take-aways from other writers about this debacle of a season. When I say "enjoyed," I mean there are many insightful lines of analysis and, yes, all of them cause any Bruin to go into a deep gray depression (certainly not clinical, I hope). I don’t mean to repeat them here. But given the opportunity to give it some thought, here is where I come down.
First, we need to admit it and by golly it galls us to do so, but southern cal senior tailback Alan Bradford played a game for the ages--212 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. This was not a case where an amoral corrupt head coach called a pass with the game out of reach late in the 4th quarter ala last year. This was a player just playing hardnosed football in his final collegiate game and putting away an opponent with class. (More about class later on.) It irritates me more to say this than it does you, believe me, but my I take my hat (bonnet, sun visor, etc.) off to Bradford with appropriate similar recognition of his offensive line.
Second, and this was touched on by several others but it deserves emphasis, in the sc game, we did not get consistent play from Brehault. And other than maybe in the Oregon State game, he has not provided consistent play in any other game. CRN has noted on several occasions that success in the college or pro game is dependent on getting consistent play from the quarterback. We did not get that from Brehault. Sometimes in the sc game he was efficient; other times, he just chucked the ball into double coverage on the receiver’s inside shoulder (a fade pattern calls for the ball to land on the outside shoulder) getting what you deserve when the two defenders are taller than the flanker—an interception. To say it differently, read gbruin’s excellent post on the UCLA lack of offensive aggression, (Prevent Offense (what a great line))—that is due, in part, to lack of consistent efficiency by Brehault.
And I will take some flak for this (defending CRN and CNC is a losing proposition right now) but the lack, and in some games complete absence, of quarterback efficiency explains on the offensive side why we cannot win. (Sure, we should have done a better job of quarterback recruiting.) And I do not think the lack of quarterback efficiency is coach talk or an excuse. It’s a fact. Brehault is 97th in quarterback passing efficiency in the nation.
This isn’t to say all is lost for next year. Brehault is a sophomore and next year he will have matured and learned more. Hundley will be on board. A wiser stronger Prince may be back. Predicting what will happen is hard to say—but I reject the doom and gloom for next year thinking that we (including me) are prone to—if we get consistent play from our quarterbacks, we will not see a repeat of this year. It may not be enough to save CRN's job. But if we get quarterback efficiency, next year's trips to the Rose Bowl will no longer be a painful experience for all involved except those against whom we are playing.
Third, the lack of class of many sc fans at game's end was appalling. At the end of the game, the sc crowd sang some song where the refrain was, "UCLA sucks" while later the crowd chanted (directed at the UCLA players), "You’re no good." Not even if truth is a defense, the classlessness was a pathetic representation of a university. And this all happened when they were ahead 28-7 or 28-14. (I don’t mean to smear everybody at sc with this but several hundred participated in it and several thousand said nothing and its on them and a university which lacks the moral character to lead its students and fans to do the right thing.)
By contrast, at the University of Arizona on-campus stadium in Tucson, there are signs plastered everywhere in the stadium that are emblazoned in red with, "WE HAVE MANY TRADITIONS AND BAD SPORTSMANSHIP ISN’T ONE OF THEM." Pretty classy position for the university to take. And there is no reason to believe we can beat sc in the near term in football or basketball so we may have to listen to more of this and let it go by. But when we win, let’s take the U of A approach. Better days are ahead (can it get worse?) and when they get here—let’s show pure class.
Fourth, our band clearly outplayed the sc group (who wrapped up their tepid and utterly forgetful performance with some poorly played Lady Gaga tune). By contrast, the UCLA Band was brilliant. For me, this year the band has really shone.
These are my 4 takeaways. I have tried to stay away from specific coaching analysis--I have nothing original to say in that department. The world is not at an end—there are still those pesky problems of war and peace, hunger and sickness, and death and taxes which seem to matter more than college football.