Folks, welcome to the new edition of Bruins Nation, BN 3.0. Yes, the site looks different, it will take a little getting used to, but I promise, you will end up loving it. Take some time to look around and it will all make sense. Go Bruins!
1. Initial Impressions?
Odysseus: This was a very disappointing loss on many levels and I'm as disgusted as everyone else, but I do want to mention at least one positive. The team didn't quit. This is the first adversity the team has really had to deal with, so let's see how the coaches and players deal with this.
bruinclassof10: 3-0 and a 10-2 season seems like such a long time ago doesn't it? The cynic (and downtrodden) Bruin in me wants to think here we go again, another Bruin team that started out well but will decide to underachieve while the optimist in me (thanks Coach Neuheisel) wants me to believe that this was a game that will humble everyone, coaching staff included. I am hoping this will make the team hungrier.
Bellerophon: This was a major let-down, against a team we should have beaten at home. We were out-coached, out-executed, and simply out-performed. Worst of all? This coaching staff took a major step backward: what happened to the adjustments? Why was Sheldon Price left to cover Wheaton in man-to-man when it was clear that he was getting smoked all game?! Just very frustrating and disappointing.
freesia39: That sucked. Why do UCLA sports suck me in, get me all hopeful, and then dump me on the side of the street? I really want to see what happens next week.
tasser10: Start the game 3 and out, while OSU marches down for a field goal. That's all I needed to see. We started the season with a 8-4 prediction, which for me got upped to 10-2 after Nebraska, back down to 8-4 after Houston...and now I have 6-6. Not good.
Ryan: The team showed its youth and was poorly coached. One of the two covers pretty much all of its problems. Of course, I took solace in the fact that they played hard until the end, which tells you everything you need to know about UCLA football over the last decade. PLAYING HARD IS CONSIDERED AN ACCOMPLISHMENT.
AHMB: I think there were a few things that doomed us on Saturday. First and foremost, our offensive line got dominated. We had no push in the run, and Oregon St. was able to collapse the pocket all game with only 3 or 4 pass rushers. Second, our offense was out of sync. This point really ties into the first one, but we didn't see the same tempo we saw the first three games. When the tempo did pick up, we moved the ball. Finally, Mike Riley really outcoached our staff. He called a good game, taking advantage of our constant blitz packages by keeping extra blockers and using run action to suck our safeties up.
DCBRUINS: We should not lose as a home favorite
gbruin: The result was really disappointing. In retrospect, if you fixed one position on offense and one on defense, I think the game ends very differently. This team still has the chance to very very good, but who has that kind of confidence right now that it will? The first half against CU will tell us a lot about this team’s character.
More thoughts after the jump.
2. The Good
Odysseus: Shaq Evans came to play. No turnovers. There was some decent play by the defensive front 7, but not enough. Hundley by and large played pretty well, but with a one dimensional offense, it wasn't enough.
bruinclassof10: Jeff Locke's punts, Shaquelle Evans catches and that's about it.
Bellerophon: Hundley actually played okay, and would have had a better game if his receivers (except for Shaq) could hold on to the damn ball. Other than Locke, Shaq, and Anthony Barr, there was not a lot of good in this game.
freesia39: Jeff Locke. Uh, we didn't commit a turnover?
tasser10: Shaq Evans came to play, backing up his talk. Brett Hundley did pretty well, considering the limitations around him. Locke, of course,
AHMB: Not much. I don't think we won any phase of the game.
DCBRUINS: We kept fighting and we were in a position to win the game but for a few plays. (Last year our regular season conference losses were by 50, 25, 36, 26) I think Hundley proved himself to be a good QB throwing for so many yards without a running game and despite the drops. We won the turnover game and the D started the second half great and had a nice goal.
gbruin: Fewer penalties was nice. Hundley and Evans has a good game together.
3. The Bad
Odysseus: First of all, our "starting" cornerbacks are a major weakness on this team, by far the biggest weakness. The Nebraska game was a blessing. It revealed that losing Sheldon Price for that game was a major case of addition by subtraction. Sheldon Price was abused all game long and whenever the Beavers needed a big play they went straight at him and he gave up the big play every time. He's a major liability out there. The defense was much better with Abbott moving to corner and Goforth starting at safety. I'm not as down on Hester as some, but he needs to step up his game too. The offensive line just wasn't getting any push, and so we were one dimensional. Again, missed opportunities and Mazzone needs to figure out a way to be better in the red zone. The drops by the wide receivers were absolutely atrocious.
bruinclassof10: Everything else, offense, defense and special teams. Our cornerbacks made Brandin Crooks andMarkus Wheaton look like former Cal receivers Desean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles) and LaVelle Hawkins (Tennessee Titans). Either Crooks and Wheaton are that good, or our corners are not that good. Fairbairn - still waiting on him to step up consistently. OSU responded to our offensive game plan by stifling the run, and our only big-play guy was Shaq Evans.
Bellerophon: This will take way too long to list. But the major issues: leaving the Toast Twins (Hester and Price) out there as our starting corners despite Cooks and Wheaton working them over all game long. It’s clear that Abbott is our best man cover corner. He needs to be moved to starting CB and we need to see more Goforth as safety with McDonald. Execution and focus was terrible, mostly with the receivers and dropping way too many catchable balls (Manfro, Fauria). Worst of all? The coaching was God-awful, on both sides of the ball.
freesia39: Our o-line may be young, but without Baca there to help anchor it, the age REALLY started to show. Senior leadership means a lot, and some of our seniors previously mentioned were making the mistakes that you don't even expect freshmen to make.
tasser10: more than anything, the incomprehensible lack of focus. Next, our senior "cover" corners. After that, UCLA receivers reverting to the form of the last decade. (seriously, when do we get that back? We used to be so good...)
Ryan: Youth is an excuse, and a pretty good one, but it wasn't the only problem. Sheldon Price was beat repeatedly and he's not young, nor are the coaches who decided never to make a change at the position. The receivers dropping passes left and right aren't young either and the only linebacker to tackle consistently has been playing the position for about two months.
AHMB: Where do I start? Our offensive line play was horrible, both in run blocking and pass protection. As a result, we had no running game, which disrupted the rhythm of the offense. We were constantly in 2nd and 3rd and long situations, and we dropped numerous balls that would have extended drives. Defensively, we blitzed far too often and repeated got abused by play action. We missed too many tackles, especially on the short screen play that went for a big gain in the second half. We didn't win one on one situations on the outside, and Mike Riley outwitted our staff.
DCBRUINS: OSU and Riley out coached us. They had some matchup advantages and they exploited them. They had better Wide Receivers and on the other side were better between the tackles with Baca gone. Not sure why we did not help the CBs more and run outside more. On the passing game we had a bad case of the drops, but even then if Walker stretches we may have a TD pass to tie the game. We could have won if the receivers just caught a few more balls.
gbruin: OSU was very well prepared for us and we didn’t adjust. Our offensive tempo looked very slow. The O line play couldn’t get a run game going, and made our offense one dimensional. Then too many dropped passes compounded that problem. Price was an obvious weak point on D, but our run D fared much worse than I expected.
4. Game's Most Valuable Player(s)?
Odysseus: None. Least valuable player Sheldon Price.
bruinclassof10: Jeff Locke, Shaquelle Evans
Bellerophon: Locke, Shaq, Anthony Barr
freesia39: Jeff Locke, Shaq Evans, Anthony Barr.
tasser10: Locke, Evans, Barr
Ryan: Locke, Evans and Barr are obvious, but I'll give one to Brett Hundley too. He played well considering his line couldn't protect him and his receivers couldn't catch, but most impressively, he didn't throw anyone under the bus afterward when he easily could have.
DCBRUINS: Evans. He was a man and really did a nice job.
gbruin: Shaq Evans, Anthony Barr, Jeff Locke
5. Honorable Mentions?
Odysseus: Barr, Kendricks, Marsh, Evans
Bellerophon: XSF and Brendel were the only OL to do their job and do it competently.
freesia39: Eric Kendricks comes to mind, but my memory of this game is already fading.
tasser10: the water guy?
AHMB: Locke, Evans, and Marsh had decent games.
DCBRUINS: Hundley, third 300 yard game in a row with no interceptions is being overlooked by many. Barr on Defense for being a monster and forcing a fumble.
gbruin: Brett Hundley
6. What we hope to see vs. Colorado?
Odysseus: Better offensive line play, more balanced offense, better in the red zone, the right players on the field on defense, and most importantly, we need to see a complete game, with fewer mistakes, penalties, and drops. We really need to destroy Colorado, they are terrible.
bruinclassof10: A bounceback game that'll boost our confidence. I expect our offense to click like we did against Nebraska and I would like to see Abbott at corner replacing Price. Fairbairn needs to step up consistently too. I also hope to see Jeff Baca.
Bellerophon: I want to see us kick it into gear against Colorado. We have the better talent and there really isn’t a good excuse for this team to lose in Boulder. I expect our coaches to learn how to game plan around our weaknesses and find ways to exploit the problems with Colorado’s offense. Making Sean Mannion look like a damn Heisman contender is inexcusable.
freesia39: A thorough ass kicking. All I want is for us to play a game where there is no question we are the superior team. As awful as this sounds, we should be a better team against Colorado and the coaching staff needs to make sure the players are ready for this game. I also want to see every single one of Jeff Locke's kickoffs go through the uprights.
tasser10: An easy game now looks more challenging. I just want to see a team that has its head in the game. Do that and we'll win easily. If we start the game with a 3 and out on offense, I am turning the game off.
Ryan: An offensive line that learns (they are the only ones with a valid youth excuse), an receiving core that remembers how to catch the ball and a secondary that is held responsible for its mistakes. Oh, and a BIG win.
AHMB: I want to see our offense get back on track, which starts with our offensive line. This will be the first game away from the Rose Bowl since the opener against Rice, and I want to see our guys come out energized and ready to
DCBRUINS: Running outside more and getting Franklin in space through things like screens
gbruin: 60 minutes of urgency and intensity. Quicker adjustments by our coaching staff. A return to a faster tempo than last week, and more diversity from the play calling on offense. Jeff Baca. Me high fiving the players as they leave the field after a dominating win, and then me chowing some buffalo burgers with fellow Bruin fans. (We hear you g!)
7. The Extra Point.
Odysseus: Saturday was extremely disappointing, but if the team and coaches can learn from this and beat Colorado and Cal, the team still will have made major strides. It's still a huge wasted opportunity and the sloppiness and mistakes are what are most frustrating. Let's see how the team and coaches react to adversity.
bruinclassof10: We're not there yet. Most of us drank the Kool-Aid too quickly and too soon (including the team) and we're suffering from brain freeze now. I hope this week's film sessions will be a good learning experience for all. If Mora continues to play #22 after he gets burned play after play after play after play, then I'll know that we're in trouble this season when we play against better receivers, and all that accountability talk was just that, talk. I'm still cautiously optimistic about this team and coaching staff but OSU was an eye opener. The Cal game may provide a better picture of what our team is really like.
Bellerophon: Let’s see if Mora really is the accountability-first, tough-talking, no-BS kind of guy he claims he is. These guys better get destroyed in practice this week, and so help me God, if Price is lined up against whichever Colorado WR is smoking us all game, I will f**king go nuts, especially if said WR works Toast like Wheaton did this past weekend.
freesia39: I really want to see how the players react after a loss like that. I'm sure they were all on a high after going 3-0. Now that reality has arrived, and they're heading out on the road to a game they'll be favored to win, let's see how they handle business. Or else we might have more problems.
tasser10: a second straight week of regression. I don't like the trend at all. I am starting to think that a lot of players thought that "hey, we have the right coaches now, we're good, we don't have to worry as much about trying hard". They've been hearing for years how bad their coaches have been, but I want to see them internalizing these crappy outings, promising to each other that performances like that will not be tolerated. It's not second half adjustments that I am looking for, it's attitude adjustments. Being soft doesn't only mean not playing physical, it also means playing with a lackadaisical attitude. And if Coach Mora doesn't nip that crap in the bud right now, this misery and culture of mediocrity will never leave this program. Truth be told, I stopped watching after the team couldn't do anything with the two turnovers. I'd rather play with my two-month old son than waste my time with ugly football. But then he threw up on both of our UCLA shirts...symbolic, isn't it?
Ryan: The goal of this season was to get better from week to week. Had the team done that then they would have won 8-9 games and been going in the right direction, but now they have regressed in consecutive weeks. Now they need to make a big jump and be better than they were versus Nebraska, not just be better than they were against Oregon St. Show you're getting better.
AHMB: I think Ryan really hit the nail on the head. Saturday was the fourth game of the season, but clearly the worst team effort. Not because we lost, but because we didn't look very good. The season is young, and the team really needs to not only stop regressing, but start improving
DCBRUINS: Interested to see how Mora deals with Fairbairn and Fauria for opposite reasons. Fairbairn is someone who has obvious confidence issues. Mora needs to work with him to get him to good. Fauria has the opposite problem. More needs to sit him until he plays close to his ability every play. Fauria needs to understand, yeah you have NFL potential, but you have to show that on every play, not just some games and some plays.
gbruin: It’s a long season, and there will always be hiccups (right Niner fans?). I’m not ready to write this team off as just more of the same, but they also showed the danger of buying in completely. After the last decade, and given our roster and schedule this season, patience is a very difficult thing to ask for. So I’m looking for signs this week. If we man up and bully Colorado, I think we’re fine. If not, well, I don’t want to think about that right now.
Thank you to the BN editors. Feel free to contribute your own thoughts about the OSU game, that is if you’re not already thinking about Colorado.