While not perfect, UCLA's performance last night was a step in the right direction.
I am not at ease with the FG kicking game.
I am not at ease with the secondary and inability to cover an out pattern to the wide side of the field.
I am not at ease with some penalities and mistakes, but some of those were on guys playing in their first game. They are teachable moments and I’d rather have them against Rice that later in the season.
OTOH, there were a lot of bright spots. JetSki. Anthony Barr. Ellis McCarthy. The O line. Jeff Locke (I don’t think we’ll be defending many kickoff this year—Locke is an automatic touchback). Plus, it was the first game, with all new coaches, all new systems on both side of the ball, and it was on the road. And we played a ton of new guys who have never played a down of college ball.
I feel better about this game than many non-conference, early season games over the past five seasons, to wit:
- 2011: 38-34 Loss to Houston (equally bad field goal unit)
- 2011: 27-17 Win at home against San Jose State (watching grass grow is more exciting than that game)
- 2010: 31-22 Loss at Kansas State (winnable game, but couldn’t get it done)
- 2009: 23-9 Win at home to Kansas State (another ugly game to watch)
- 2008: 59-0 Loss at BYU (no explanation necessary)
- 2008: 36-31 Loss at home to Fresno State (and the accompanying marketing debacle)
- 2007: 44-6 Loss at Utah (see BYU above)
- 2007: 20-6 Loss to at home to a terrible Notre Dame squad (the worst of the lot)
Sorry to dredge up those bad memories, but compare last night’s game to those non-conference games and UCLA is moving in the right direction.
Also, did you see Mike Leach’s high powered offense last night? Two field goals . . .
Very, very interested in how we measure up against Nebraska at home next week.