Bumped. As always must read stuff from Classof66. GO BRUINS. -N
Tomorrow, I fly back to Houston, from Pasadena. I haven't been home for two weeks.
What a difference those two weeks have made.:
1. We beat 2 ranked Texas teams -- and we beat them convincingly.
When I get home, I'm going to fly my UCLA flag, proudly. And, I'm going to look for the t-shirt I got in 1997 that says "UCLA -- Texas State Champs" and lists the scores of the victories over UT, UH and A&M. I'm going to wear it all over town.
2. How did we win those games:? We Are a More Experienced Team.
In my last "Random Thoughts" I set forth my thesis that we would be a much better team as soon as many of our players gained some experience. They have -- and it is showing on the field. Can two weeks really make a difference? Yes, if those two weeks are used well -- and our coaching staff has used them well.
We are still not where we need to be. But, CRN has been spot on. He's promised improvement and we are seeing it.
My hat is off to all of our coaches.
One of the most impressive things about this team is that it has never quit on the coaching staff. It would have been easy to do so -- especially after the Stanford game. But, the kids have totally bought into this staff and what it is doing. That tells me something about the coaches. It tells me that they have the respect of the players. The players are trying hard to live up to the coaches' expectations, and it shows.
Coach Bullough has shown us a lot in the last two games -- stepping away from vanilla and becoming much more aggressive. I may have been wrong to criticize him in the first place; he may have needed his team to gel -- to get that experience, that sense of swagger.
Is there a better position coach than Palcic? He is getting more out of what was perceived to be less than any coach on our staff. Our OL was one of our most inexperienced units -- look where they are at the 4 game mark of this season. What an amazing improvement.
And, for those who harshly criticized CRN and said CNC had passed his peak -- uh, where are you now?
Interestingly, in post game radio interviews, more than one player mentioned the conditioning program of last summer as a key to this fall's recent successes. We'd heard some grumbling about Coach Linn (sp?), too. But, in brutal Texas weather, we held up very well.
For a well coached team, experience generates improvement. One of my favorite sayings is that "Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect". We are seeing improvement. That says something about our practices. With an inexperienced team, I think total effort and incremental improvement are all that we can request; and we are getting it.
3. Kevin Prince is showing us what experience can do. Two games, two full weeks of practice -- wow, what a difference. He is making good decisions -- good reads, not taking foolish risks. And, for all who didn't hear his 40 times and spouted off that he was too slow to run the pistol -- uh, did you see him run away from people on his touchdown run.
4. The receivers are really good blockers. They contributed as much to our long runs as the guys with the ball. The best block of the day? I think it was Marvray on Prince's touchdown run.
5. Derrick Coleman let us see why he has earned his carries. And, he, too, threw some incredible blocks. Can we stop the grousing about him and the second guessing as to why he is playing?
6. For two weeks, our fans have rocked the playing field. I had to listen to the Houston game on the radio -- we were loud. And, we were loud, today; cheers to all of you who were in Austin. The soundtrack on the broadcast made clear that you were giving your all.
7. For the last two weeks, the game day thread was superb. Today, I could barely post -- the Internet was out at my Mom's, where I was watching the game -- so I could read on my iPhone but not post well. I loved the thread, the energy and content.
Gone are the trolls who made the Stanford thread sickening. Good work by the moderators in setting the tone. Good work in posting the new rule. And, good work by all of you who were posting your hearts out.
8. I come back to Pasadena on Friday and will be at the Rose Bowl for the game on Sat. Anyone from BN tailgating?
Final thought: In the thread I said that we were a very good team and that we will be great when we stop making stupid mistakes. I truly believe that. We have the talent and we have the coaching. All we need is time. At the rate we are growing, I think we will get there sooner than many thought we would two weeks ago.