Pregame Guesses: Bye Week Edition

Doug Pensinger

The author is having trouble making sense of UCLA's 5-2 start this season.

Linkin Park - Live @ Rock am Ring 06.06.2004 - 11 - Numb (via DARKWWW)

(This week's video is Numb by LInkin Park. Why? Because most of the guy's in Linkin Park attended UCLA and because the lyrics and the song title sort of sum up me feelings about UCLA football this week.)

We’ve got a bye … I’m going to keep it brief this week.

The team might have a bye, but it’s been a busy week for me. I’ve not had much time to contemplate the win over Utah or what it all means. I just got back from parent teacher night and don’t mind telling you my kid’s got five As and one B – which is probably a better report card than I ever got.

As I type this out, Chip Kelly and Oregon are effin’ dismantling Arizona State (last time I checked the score they had 43 points midway through the second quarter, which means they could have 80 something by the time I’m done), while Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks and Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers are locked up in a four point game in the fourth quarter; the Niners Alex Smith just blew a chance to possibly put the Seahawks away with an interception in the endzone.

It’s significant or maybe just serendipitous that these three coaches are working on television tonight, because they are by far the most significant coaches who did time in the Pac 12 Conference last decade. Harbaugh absolutely transformed Stanford from near-doormat status to national powerhouse, Chip Kelly has done everything at Oregon (including absolutely exposing our last coach as non-competitive) except win a national title and Pete Carroll, well, the less said about Carroll the better, except to acknowledge that he basically dominated everyone in the league (and most of the country) except, of course, for Harbaugh.

(And right on cue, Harbaugh just "what’s your dealed" Carroll 13-6.)

We’re just pass the halfway point of our latest coach’s first season and we stand at 5-2. Just to put that in perspective, I read on one of the message boards that the last coach was 3-4 after seven games in every one of his seasons, so we’ve got that going for us. That said, I’m not sure I’m completely impressed and needless to say we’ve not come close to the standards set by Kelly/Harbaugh/Carroll at any point this season.

Is that fair? After only nine months on the job, is it fair to compare Jim Mora to the those three? Probably not. But if they are the measuring stick for what accounts for success in this league than at some point we’re going to have make the comparison.

Let me ask everyone a question, you can respond in the comments after making your guesses. If you had to describe the identity of Jim Mora’s first UCLA team, what would you say?

Chip Kelly’s teams are fast and innovative. Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford teams were smart and tough. Carroll’s SC teams were – what? – skilled and arrogant? Fast and overwhelming? Something like that

But what can we say about our team this year? Disciplined? I dunno, I think we commit too many penalties to claim say that. Unpredictable? Can you say swing pass? Opportunistic on defense? LOL.

Honestly, I just don’t know what this team’s identity is and despite our 5-2 record, that’s a bit disturbing, at least to me. I’m curious to know what you all have to say.

Something else that’s a bit, not really disturbing, but rather disappointing is how the pace of our offense has failed to live up to what we thought we’d see before the season started. Yeah, we’re still using the no huddle, but we don’t play particularly fast. It’s not clear to me if the plays aren’t coming in from the sidelines fast enough or if the team just takes a long time at the line of scrimmage but I’m positive that opposing defensive coordinators aren’t losing any sleep over UCLA’s track meet offense.

There’s five games to go and I still don’t have a feel for what this team is, how it’s going to play, for who we’ve got as a head coach. I do allow for the fact that this entire year is not a true measure of what we’ll see in future seasons, because we have so many problems along the offensive line and in the defensive secondary it’s definitely possible that what we really need to do is upgrade the roster.

That’s all I’ve got this week. A little of this and a little of that for a season that’s mostly been a little of this and a little of that. We’re an tough to describe 5-2 team that could end up 8-4 and it could end up 6-6. And either way, I’m still not sure if we’ll know yet who Jim Mora really is.

I’ll do my best to be more coherent next week.

With that, here are your slightly confused, slightly jumbled, sort of in disarray Pregame Guesses, Bye Week edition:

  1. What Pac 12 game are you most looking forward to watching this weekend?
  2. What’s been your favorite UCLA moment so far this season?
  3. What will UCLA’s record be at the end of the season?

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