Can U.C.L.A. keep it up? There's little reason to think otherwise: the Bruins just ran all over one of the nation's best defenses, after all. The two-headed backfield of Johnathan Franklin - who's an all-conference performer as of today - and Derrick Coleman combined for more than 210 yards yesterday. While held in check by the Longhorns, freshman Malcolm Jones has had an immediate impact. Most impressively, this much-maligned offensive line has bought into the system. Again, if U.C.L.A. can run on Texas, it can run on any team in the Pac-10.
So the ball moves into the defense's court: keep getting spots, and the Bruins should be in a position to finish above .500 in conference action. Few considered this a possibility merely two weeks ago.
Well, as impressed as I have been with our defense from our last two weeks, I am still unsure whether we have really turned the corner (tired of using that cliché as a UCLA football fan). I think what helped our defense's cause last two weekends have been matchups.
Against Houston, our defensive front-7 matched up pretty well against a Cougar OL, which was not as athletic, big and physical as Bruins' first two opponents. The result was obvious as our guys just man handled them along the trenches and ended (sadly for the Cougars) the season of Houston's no 1 and 2 QBs. Against Texas, Chuck Bullough was perhaps a little fortunate to scheme against Greg Davis, who seem to be one of the more unimaginative and conservative OCs in the country (don't think folks at Texas blogosphere will disagree too much with yours truly on that point).
The question I have for those who taped the game is exactly how many times Bullough called blitzes this past Saturday? It sure seemed like we were bringing in a lot of pressure but I wonder what numbers are actually are in terms of actual blitzes he called on Saturday. I think Bullough and his staff do deserve a lot of credit for the development of our secondary as a whole, who seemed to have taken another step or two in last couple of weeks.
What I am not convinced though is whether Bullough all on a sudden has become some sort of genius. Before last two games I was always kind of lukewarm about what he brings to our staff. I don't think he is terrible as number of Bruin fans think he is. However, I certainly didn't think he was an elite DC. After last two games, I am still not convinced whether he has taken another step forward.
Don't get me wrong. I am certainly pleased with what I have seen. However, as everyone should know by now two games don't make up a season. We can't forget where we were just two weekends ago. We will have to see how Bullough handles the Pac-10 teams starting this coming weekend. Of course same goes for our offense as well, which still needs to work on building out an efficient passing attack.