So, the Bruins got a scrimmage win against probably the worst college football team in America last night. It was a shut out. But for people who watched the game on TV or at the Rose Bowl, it is getting obvious that after four games in the fourth year of the Dorrell era, there are still more questions than answers with UCLA football. Lets start with Robert Kuwada to revisit last night's ugly, pathetic, inconsistent, unwatchable offensive performance of offensive genius Karl Dorrell's WCO:
A questionable play that exemplified some of the difficulties came on a fourth-and-goal situation on the Stanford 1-yard line just before halftime. UCLA tried to run Chris Markey wide - this against a Stanford defense that is smallish up front, has yielded 6 yards per rushing play and is last in the nation in rushing defense. Markey, not known for his speed, took a pitch to the left. He was fanned wide and ended up stopped for a loss of two yards by Cardinal cornerback Tim Sims.
But as that play illustrated, the Bruins have more problems than just some questionable play calls. UCLA's offense did not score a touchdown in the first half. The Bruins' 7-0 halftime lead came when Gavin Ketchum broke through the line to block a Jay Ottovegio punt that was scooped up by Eric McNeal, who ran 12 yards into the end zone.
So when UCLA left the Rose Bowl following Saturday's 31-0 defeat of hapless Stanford, good vibes about getting past last week's crushing loss at Washington were present, but so were more questions about a lackluster offense.
The Cardinal, showing why it is 0-5 (0-3 Pac-10) for the first time since 1983, came in allowing a nation-worst 312 rushing yards per game. The Bruins (3-1, 1-1) ran the ball effectively, but not in the dominating style it hoped as they amassed 166 yards and got touchdown runs of 2 yards and 1 yard from freshman Chane Moline.
Opposing quarterbacks were completing 71 percent of their passes against the Cardinal, but Bruins quarterback Ben Olson was 20 of 37 for 219 yards and two interceptions.
And a Stanford team which allowed 39 points per game, and no fewer than 35 in any game, frustrated UCLA's offense into no first-half points, and didn't surrender a touchdown until 2:45 remained in the third quarter.
It wasn't until Justin Medlock's 40-yard field goal with 10:28 to play gave UCLA a 17-0 lead that the win seemed secure. Chane Moline's 1-yard run and Kenneth Lombard's 5-yard fumble return made a closer game appear lopsided.
I suppose I can write about how wonderful and dominant our defense looked against Trent Edwards and a bunch of Ivy League dorks posing as receivers and running backs (ok, Toby Gerhardt is good, but he is a true freshman). But I won't. Because just two years ago Dorrell's program shut out Stanford team at home only to come up with a season, which ended with a disgraceful loss to Wyoming.
Yeah, this defense may have improved somewhat only because we are coming off a year in which Dorrell blessed us with one of the worst history of UCLA football (if not college football). Sorry if I contain my excitement about DeWayne Walker until I see how these guys stack up against Dennis Dixon, Jonathan Stewart, Brady Quinn, Darius Walker, Marshawn Lynch, Nate Longshores of the world. Bruins still haven't played a legit D-1 offense yet. Yes Utah's offense sucks donkey b*lls (they scored 3 points against Boise State on their home turf), and Washington, no matter what bandwagoners want to say, is not exactly a good football team. So pardon if I am holding my excitement for this defense that has not played a legit football team.
Right now, after five weeks into the season, Dorrell's football team still looks like it is sleep walking through games. It is making too many mental mistakes, taking stupid penalties, turning the ball over, and generally looks dull, morose, uninspiring, and boring just like its head coach coming out of the gate. They are not exactly firing out on kickoffs. And they won't have the luxury to play shitty/mediocre teams like Utah, Stanford, Rice (and even Washington) after next weekend for a while this season (until they get to take on losers from Oregon State and Arizona State).
Of course, Dorrell is not concerned and talking up a big season. From Steve Dilbeck's column in the Daily News:
"We showed we improved on what happened last week," Dorrell said. "I think this team will make a big push now."
The Bruins added late fourth-quarter touchdowns and the final score looked impressive, but the offense still has a long ways to go.
We will wait to see what happens next Saturday. Right now, it is obvious there are more questions than answers re. the state of Dorrell's average football program.