I watched the game with friends so I didn't post a lick here yesterday and haven't read any posts or stories about the game yet. I wanted to do my "brain dump" before I got other perspectives. Here it is . . .
Notwithstanding the "revolver" look, not much appears to have changed from last year in this game:
Ineffectiveness in the the red zone: The Bruins continue to have problems getting seven instead of three.
Giving up big plays on the ground: Thomas reminded me of Jahvid Best in the Cal game last year. A handful of huge plays accounting for much of the damage against UCLA. I give the Bruins a pass on the last, meaningless TD as they were looking to stop the first down.
Bad tackling: Hopefully this will improve.
Drive killing penalties: Way too many false starts. I specifically remember 2 in the 1st quarter that changed 2nd and 6 to 2nd and 11, effectively nullifying momentum on good first down plays. Both possessions results in punts.
Dropped Passes: Even the sure handed guys, Embree and Marvray, dropped some easy balls (although Marvray's TD catch was spectacular).
Not stretching the field: Prince didn't throw the ball downfield once until the Harkey and Marvray plays at the end of the game. Whether that is because he showed some rust or by design, the Bruins need to stretch the field.
Conservative defense: Didn't see too many blitzes and it didn't seem like the Bruins were stacking the box on obvious run plays to force Coffman to beat them.
QB play: Prince was inconsistent in his throws, which is not surprising given his limited practice. That should improve as the season goes forward. More troubling to me is that, given the QB's rushing role in the revolver formation, Prince wants to take off and run on passing plays before going through his progressions.
Not taking advantage of mismatches: Big, tall UCLA receivers vs. short KSU DBs. Yet the Bruins never went deep, threw a fade route, or any other pass (with the exception of quick slants) where the Bruins could exploit their size.
I noticed a few other things that, while not necessarily being consistent with our play last year, I have some thoughts about after the jump:
2 Point Conversation: Hated the play call. Hated it. Hated it. First, the Bruins emptied the backfield, which immediately meant KSU didn;t have to worry about a handoff. Then, Prince rolled out, which effectively cut the field in half and greatly limited his options, resulting in him having to try to thread the needle to make a play.
Punt Returns: I love Taylor Embree. But why is
he returning punts? Are guys like Thigpen, Carroll, and Smith having trouble catching the ball? Embree is a possession receiver (so I understand having his surehandedness back there if the Bruins are having trouble fielding the punt). He is not a burner. We need someone back there with some sizzle.
Different game if Kai Forbath is 100% healthy? I know that Kai kicked 3 medium range field goals in the game. But the Bruins punted from the KSU 35 after recovering a KSU fumble in the first quarter. That would have been a 52 yard field goal, well within Forbath's range. I am sure CR
N would have tried to put points on the board if Kai was healthy. Those 3 points could have drastically changed things down the stretch, considering that the Bruins ultimately needed a 2 point conversation for a tie.
Enjoyed seeing some of the freshman play: Barr caught a pass. Malcolm Jones looked very good on getting a handful of carries. Hoping these guys get more involved in the future.
Line play was not a total disaster: Despite the predictions of the end of the world with respect to the offensive line, I though that, in general, they played solid. They should look even better with Harris back next week. Glad to see that we did not appear to sustain any injuries. On the defensive side, I though Holmes played well and I think some of the two deep made some noise in the backfield (#94-Tepa?
- had a sack). I do have some concerns about the run stopping ability but not sure how much of that was Daniel Thomas, not putting 8 in the box, or line play. Again, glad to see that we did not appear to suffer any injuries.
In summary, like last season, the Bruins lost a winnable game. The last few minutes seemed like a replay of the last few minutes of the Oregon State game last year. Typical Bruins to score a TD to cut it to 2 and then not get the 2 point conversation.
I am cautiously optimistic that the coaches and players will keep at it and get these issues ironed out. Hopefully, Stanford, with Luck, will play to the strength of our defense (secondary) rather than rushing it like KSU did. Not sure who Stanford has to replace Gerhart. Bruins have their work cut out for them in the next 3 games.
All right, time to read what you guys said . . .