Folks, here is this week's version of the BN Roundtable Discussion.
1. Initial Impressions?
bruinclassof10: Utah's starting QB Travis Wilson will be around the Pac-12 South for a while. We won but we didn't step on their throats. The Mayor was hungry!
DC Bruins: This is the worst UCLA special teams or worst coached in history of the school. Hundley won the game for us.
freesia39: We won, we didn't lose, yet I feel hungry.
Ajax: We did just enough to get a win against one of the worst teams in the conference.
AHMB: After the Cal debacle, I really wanted to see our guys bounce back and get a win, which is exactly what they did. Our guys played very well defensively, and it was a game where I felt like we were in control from beginning to end.
Odysseus: I'm past the point of worrying about style points. Just give me wins. We got a win.
gbruin: It was good. Was it as good as I hoped? No. Was it as good as we'll need against ASU and the others on the schedule? I don't think so. I'm happy with the win. I'm concerned about the big picture.
2. The Good
bruinclassof10: Jetski and Joe Fauria got more touches this week. Shaq Evans' TD was nice. Hundley bounced back too and we had fewer penalties.
DC Bruins: Hundley and Franklin are studs. I like the way our D-line has grown and playing better. The talent has been there and they are showing it with more sacks already than last year.
freesia39: Shaq Evans is asserting himself as a number one option. The penalties were down, and none that felt like drive killers. The players are starting to find and really define their roles on this team.
Ajax: There's not much that jumps out at you from this game. I think this was one of the OL's best performaces this year. They handled Star Lotulelei about as well as can be expected. Also, a gutsy performance by JetSki.
AHMB: I was really impressed with how our line played against Utah's front. We didn't put up huge numbers offensively, but I expected Utah's line to create some havoc and it never really happened.
Odysseus: Better in the red zone, better on third downs. Those things can help you win football games. The line seemed to be coming together as a cohesive unit and did an admirable job with Star Lotulelei, basically making him a non-factor. The defense played pretty well and would have shut the Utes out if not for that final drive. It will be good to get a bye to allow the players to get healthy.
gbruin: Hundley was more decisive and aggressive with his decisions to run, and it paid off. I also like that Mazzone seemed to defer to what was working rather than trying to make sure every play in the book got used. The run defense was really really nice, and showed an improvement from the week (weak?) before at Cal.
3. The Bad
bruinclassof10: Steven Manfro's muffed punt. Hester got burnt again.
DCBruins: Special teams. Manfro blunder was epic and one of the worst in UCLA history but it goes deeper than that. The downing the punt instead of letting the clock run at the end. It is like the special teams are playing for the other team at times. (Except Locke)
freesia39: Special teams to the courtesy phone please. I have a small scolding to issue you. Jeff Locke, you are excused.
Ajax: I haven't watched the replay yet, so I can't really tell if the sluggish offense was a result of a strong Utah D or UCLA's inability to consistently execute. I suspect it was a bit of both. No offense to Logan Sweet, but WTF is he doing on the field when the opposing team is within 1 score? The last drive by Utah. The D needs to finish. There is no way a true freshman QB should be putting together a drive like that against our D. Manfro. Nice story, but you can't make that kind of mistake and keep your job.
AHMB: Manfro's muffed punt was one of the worst plays I've ever seen. He had no business chasing down that punt and trying to catch it near the end zone, and he made things worse by dropping the ball. He's now dropped three punts this year, although the first two weren't necessarily his fault, fumbled a kick return, and dropped to passes that were easy touchdowns. I don't know if he's trying to do too much and live up to his offseason hype, but hopefully the staff can settle him down.
Odysseus: Manfro's play on the punt was one of the most moronic plays I have ever seen in a college football game. There was no reason to even attempt to catch that punt. If he had any clue where he was on the field, he would have just let it go into the end zone. At most you fake the fair catch. Terrible. Sometimes you lose a matchup because the other guy beats you, but when it's because of a huge mental mistake, you just can't have that. Awful. Along the same lines, downing Utah punt at the end of the game to give Utah one shot to tie it up. The game was over if we just let it bounce. Awful, horrible no good special teams and another inexcusable mental mistake.
gbruin: Two of the bigger dunce plays on punts ever. The kids need to be better prepared before the snap to know what to do in every situation. Failure on both the players and coaches for that. We still need better play in the secondary, especially over the middle.
DCBruins: Hundley is a winner. Without three WRs he did it with his legs.
freesia39: Brett Hundley.
Ajax: O: Hundley/ JetSki. D: Barr/ Marsh.
AHMB: Cassius Marsh had an excellent game.
5. Honorable Mentions?
bruinclassof10: Shaq Evans
DCBruins: Agree with classof10. Shaq might be our best wide receiver now and love his effort.
freesia39: Indeed, Shaq Evans. And our defensive line, for the most part.
AHMB: Brett Hundley and Jonathan Franklin.
Odysseus: Franklin, Barr, Su'a Filo
gbruin: Franklin, The entire defensive front 7.
6. What we hope gets addressed during the bye week?
bruinclassof10: I hope they design more plays for Jordan Payton and incorporate Devin Fuller into the offense more. I hope we see the return of Darius Bell too.
DCBruins: Abbott should be switched to the #1 corner. He is our best DB. He should play against the other's team top weapon at WR.
freesia39: Repeated viewings of the work done by the secondary and what needs to be improved. How to integrate Fuller into the offense if you're going to burn his redshirt. Let everyone's injuries heal up.
Ajax: Short yardage running plays on O. Man coverage technique (Hester/Price).
AHMB: The bye really couldn't come at a better time. Our receiving corps has suffered a lot of injuries, and the extra week should help get Jordan Payton, Kenny Walker, and Devin Fuller some extra reps. The extra time could also benefit Ellis McCarthy. Although he's played every game, he missed most of camp and could benefit from a couple weeks of attention.
Odysseus: Get healthy. Once again, clean up the penalties and mental mistakes, improve special teams.
gbruin: midterms, injuries, the punt teams, Guerreror's firing, and how to make Mazzone's game plan a surprise to ASU.
7. The Extra Point.
bruinclassof10: Special teams is still an issue (not good especially in week 7) and the Fox commentators sounded like they had mancrushes on Franklin/Fauria (hope you were listening Mazzone).
DCBruins: In our two losses Franklin had his fewest carries for the season. Franklin needs 20 carries a game as a base.
freesia39: Ugly or not, we still won. We would have won way uglier in past years. I was hungry, Franklin was hungry, feed us wins!
Ajax: I think the ASU game will be a good indicator of which direction this team is heading.
AHMB: I don't think there could have been a better time for a bye week. The team is playing a lot of young players, and they look like they need a break. It's great that they were able to bounce back and get a win after the debacle at Cal, and now they get to rest and hopefully get some good practice before facing the meat of the schedule.
Odysseus: Stick with what works and go away from what doesn't. If we insist on leaving the Toast Twins out there, we have to play zone, and we can't let other teams beat us deep. The game against ASU will be a real measuring stick. Let's hope the team is ready.
gbruin: We have been pretty good (wks 1-3, 5), we have been really bad (6), and we have been more or less average (4,7). We need to find away to reproduce the effort and execution we saw from the offense in weeks 1-3, and from the defense in weeks 2, 5, and 7. It would be nice to not have to mix and match to get a complete game, and it would be nice if each week we were consistently improving. Overall, we are ahead of last year, and most of the years recently for that matter. But we aren't far enough ahead to make it a tangible step yet. There is a long way to go for this team, but this team has a higher ceiling than any Bruin team in a long time.
Feel free to chime in with your feedback and thoughts on the Utah game!