Bill Curry has a column on UCLA comebacks. He is saying pretty much the same thing we have been saying for last few weeks. Our slow starts and horrible rush defense may catch up with us sooner later, id we don't do something about it in practice:
The Bruins are dominant in the second and fourth quarters but have been outscored in the first and third. In football, the ultimate team sport, how you start is almost as important as how you finish. The coaches and team leaders must get this across to the squad in practice. I detest clichés, but one is inescapable if you wish to be a champion: You really do play exactly like you practice.
Finally, a championship football team does not rank last in its conference in run defense -- ever. UCLA allows 212.4 rushing yards per game and a staggering 4.9 yards per carry. By contrast, across town those hated Trojans are yielding 3.1 yards per carry and 107.6 yards per game. If a team cannot stop the run, it simply will not win championships.
This will be the most difficult aspect to address, because the solution is not only in practicing but also in practicing hard. It means best on best, first-string offense against first-string defense. Simulating live game conditions -- requiring defenders to take on good blockers, get off blocks and tackle good backs -- always involves risk. I have never found another way to correct this deficiency. Making good decisions in this area will determine the outcome of the UCLA football season.