Bob Stanton-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
A BN contributors' roundtable discussion of the Cal game.
So...did anybody catch (insert 75% of UCLA football games since 2003) game?
If so, you probably experienced us getting whooped by a less talented team due to stupid self inflicted errors and terrible playcalling. Pretty much Mora the same UCLA football that we've grown to know and hate. Initial hope and optimism followed by conservatism, letdowns and lack of innovative playcalling.
The honeymoon is officially over. Our patience has worn thin after years of Dorrell's dull conservatism, Neuheisel's overbearing relentless optimism, Chianti Dan Guerrero's overall gross incompetence and Chancellor Block's gross apathy (did anyone catch the Cal game?) So thin, in fact that Mora is not allowed to use the same excuses that UCLA head coaches have been using since the Dorrellian era.
1. Initial Impressions?
Ajax: Ugly. Very ugly. We are not improving.
Achilles: Total regression by the players and the coaches. What's worse, things that looked broken against OSU have not been fixed. Riley and Tedford school our coaching staff badly in the two losses.
gbruin: We saw signs of this game in our previous games. We have had bad spots here and there before, but never so many and so frequent as Saturday. That was all around awful, and really worries me about the true nature of this team.
AHMB: It's been a while since I've watched a college game live, and I had almost forgot how much momentum and energy effect the results of the game. UCLA had as good of a start as you could imagine, intercepting Cal and quickly scoring a touchdown. But Cal fought back, started chipping away, and UCLA simply made too many mistakes to make the game competitive. Manfro's muffed punt was easily the turning point, but Hundley was intercepted in the red zone, Fuller dropped a lateral when UCLA was within scoring range, and Fairburn missed a FG after Hundley missed a receiver running open that would have easily been a score.
bruinclassof10: The absolute WORST game we played so far this season. I believe that there was a point where UCLA lost the game with too many stupid penalties at the worst possible times and untimely turnovers. All aspects of our team, from offense to defense to special teams, played terribly and for once,Brett Hundley looked like a freshman QB making mental errors (but we know he'll bounce back). We have two of the most underperforming (I'm being very nice here) cornerbacks in the Pac-12 in Sheldon Price andAaron Hester. Our D made Zach Maynard and his receivers look like Aaron Rodgers and the Packers receivers out there and that's pretty damn hard to do.
freesia39: Blech.I've seen this game before, several times, over the past couple of seasons. I thought that they were gone, and well, CRAP IT'S BACK.
Ryan: That sucked.
2. The Good
Achilles: Anthony Barr is still playing well.
gbruin: The run game was working when we tried it. The D line, especially Cassius Marsh, played pretty well against the run.
AHMB: When UCLA wasn't shooting itself in the foot, they moved the ball pretty well. JetSki had another good running game, and Jordan Payton made some pretty nice plays.
bruinclassof10: Not much besides Anthony Barr's continued high level of play, the emergence of Jordan Payton as a receiver, Jetski, XSF, Cassius Marsh catching a TD
freesia39: We discovered new ways to turn over the ball. I'll award partial points for creativity.
Ryan: It ended.
3. The Bad
Ajax: Where to start? Way too many stupid penalties. The OL was a disaster. Klemm and Mazzone for their inability to come up with an answer for Cal's blitz. Mazzone not utilizing Franklin and the run game more. Hundley holding the ball too long. Mora/ Spanos for not recognizing and adjusting to Cal's double slant/ pick play in the red zone. Hester. Oh, and DirecTV for not carrying P12 Network.
Achilles: Everything else. Special teams other than Locke are not good -- has anyone noted that yet?
gbruin: Defense, offense, and coaching all lost against Cal. Pass defense was bad. We were out schemed - Cal drew up a good quick/short passing game to negate our pass rush and Maynard was hugely efficient. On the other side of the ball, the O line as a unit got abused. Hundley was constantly rushed and he looked harried and played his worst game of the year. And rather than find things that would work, our coaches and schemes never adjusted to what Cal did on either offense or defense. Oh, and special teams were bad, too, just to keep everything consistent.
AHMB: Obviously, UCLA won't beat anybody with 6 turnovers. Hundley looked like a freshman throwing 4 interceptions, Fuller dropped a lateral, and Manfro made a horrible mistake muffing a punt. On top of that, Tedford destroyed our staff from a playcalling standpoint.
bruinclassof10: Just about everything else, starting with the penalties. I am so sick of seeing Price and Hester commit penalties, give up huge plays and whiff on tackles for the past 4 years. They are seniors and this is unacceptable and not cute. Tevin McDonald also had a regrettable game being caught out of position twice on Keenan Allen's TD's. Fairbairn is still not the guy and Cal's D-line finally exposed our O-line's lack of experience. Coaches Spanos and Martin had no answer for Keenan Allen. I have so many questions. Why didn't Abbott get PT at corner and Goforth get more PT covering for McDonald? Where was Joe Fauria? Why did we stop the swing passes that had been so effective? Why did we revert to being the soft old, mistake prone Bruins in the 2nd half? Can we (for the love of God) please see less of Hester/Price on the field? Why did we decide to burn Devin Fuller's redshirt for this game?
freesia39: We discovered new ways to turn over the ball. I'm taking back the points I awarded.
4. Game's Most Valuable Player(s)?
Ajax: Offense, Johnathan Franklin. Defense, Cassius Marsh.
Achilles: No one.
gbruin: Cassius Marsh. That looked like his best game on D with a bunch of tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. On offense, J Franklin was really good.
bruinclassof10: Cassius Marsh, Anthony Barr
freesia39: Cassius Marsh.
Ryan: Ryan: Zach Maynard's fumbles.
5. Honorable Mentions?
Ajax: I've got nothing.
gbruin: Maybe AnthonyBarr. I hesitate to mention an O lineman, but I think XSF did ok with the switch in positions mid-game.
AHMB: Jordan Payton.
bruinclassof10: Owa, Datone Jones
freesia39: Anthony Barr, Owa.
Ryan: C.J. Anderson's fumble.
6. What we hope to see vs. Utah?
Ajax: A significant reduction in penalties. Improved OL play. A Win.
Achilles: The oline problems have got to be solved. Also, the coaching needs to loosen up. We're predictable already.
gbruin: Signs that this team takes this seriously: Urgency and focus from the opening kickoff to the final gun. No stupid penalties. Solid pass blocking. More Johnathan Franklin, to the tune of 22-25 carries. I want to see Abbott and Goforth or Rios at corner, and McDonald and Hilliard at safety.
AHMB: A solid win. After watching that debacle, I don't care about much else.
bruinclassof10: I hope we see the old, precise Brett Hundley, better O-line protection and longer runs from Jetski. I do not want to see Sheldon Price and Aaron Hester on the field for extended periods of time. I know it's harsh but I have zero confidence in their abilities as football players. They may be great Bruin student-athletes, great guys or whatever but they are not football players in the sense that they make many football plays that help the team. Andrew Abbot and Randall Goforth are our only defensive backs who put themselves in positions to make plays. Let the playmakers make plays. Sit the two underachieving seniors and make them earn PT again. If Mora wants to speak of accountability and minimizing errors, he needs to back his talk with actions. If we see Hester and Price out there making the same mistakes, then how is that different than Neuheisel gifting play after play after play to Rosario and Embree?
freesia39: Hopefully not that game again. I want to see Franklin run for 150 yards with two touchdowns. I want to see Hundley throw for 300 yards and 3 TDs. I want Jerry Rice Jr to score a touchdown. I want the defense to dominate. I want a rousing performance at home, at the Rose Bowl, to make us forget what happened at Cal.
Ryan: A football team.
7. The Extra Point.
Ajax: This game presented UCLA with an opportunity to take a big step forward and alleviate some of the doubts that we have about this team, the coaching staff and the culture. I was not expecting a dominant performance, but I thought we would out-talent and out-scheme the Bears and escape with an ugly W. Instead, this game brought back horrible memories of Dorrell trying to figure out where to stand on the sidelines and illegal substitution penalties after a timeout under Neu. It was a complete and total fail. It was one of those games that left you feeling sick to your stomach as the final seconds ticked away.
The good news: it will be hard for the Bruins to fail that miserably again, meaning they can only get better. However, Utah is a tough, well-coached team with a chip on its shoulder. We will not win with another penalty-ridden undisclipned performance. Utah DT Star Lotulelei will be the best DL we have faced this season. The OL better be ready.
gbruin: It's time to stop spreading the ball around to so many players as much and start focusing on the ones who are making plays. That means more Franklin and less James and Thigpen. Find 2 or 3 receivers who are on and throw to them. Even with Fauria's periodic lapses, target him more regularly. Getting the ball to 15 different players on offense is nice if the O is rolling. When things are bad, find your gamers and ride them. It's not AYSO.
AHMB: Saturday's team looked a lot like last year's team. Multiple mistakes, lifeless energy, and inability to turn things around when the game went south. Our guys gift wrapped the game and gave it away.
bruinclassof10: Too many penalties, too many turnovers and our starting cornerbacks have yet to face the likes of Marquess Wilson, Marquise Lee and Robert Woods. It's time to put in Abbott in at corner and have the youngsters, Rios, Moreau get extended looks. I'd rather see the younger guys make mistakes this year, then watch the two seniors continue to let down the entire team with their erratic play.
freesia39: This game was part of a horrible sports weekend for me, minus one winning team. You know what sucks the most? Working with a bunch of Cal people. I warned them this was going to happen, so at least they can't gloat that much. Years of losing have hardened me. I wasn't surprised we did this, and "new stadium" and "homecoming" are not enough of an excuse for our play this week. Also, I am launching theAndrew Abbott for Cornerback campaign. Obviously his campaign manager is not doing the job that needs to be done. The incumbents are well oiled machines.