So Karl Dorrell was a great WR at UCLA. When UCLA brought him into Westwood it hyped his experience as "WR Coach" in the NFL. So you'd expect the UCLA team, which is loaded with talents at the WR position to have a productive receiving corps. Right? Well not exactly. From the LA Times today:
From J.J. Stokes, who made 82 receptions in 1993, to Freddie Mitchell, who grabbed 77 passes in 2000, to Craig Bragg, Kevin Jordan and Sean LaChapelle, who each had 73 catches in a season, the Bruins always seem to have a main target in their passing game.
But not this year. After four games, UCLA's leading receiver is tight end Logan Paulsen with 10 catches. Wide receivers Brandon Breazell and Matt Willis are tied with tailback Chris Markey with nine, followed by Marcus Everett and Junior Taylor with eight each.
At this pace, UCLA's leading receiver will finish the season with no more than 30 catches. That has happened only twice for the Bruins over the last 27 years.
Well Junior Taylor is frustrated and he is talking about it:
His frustration isn't going unnoticed, because Bruins coach Karl Dorrell addressed it Monday, saying nagging toe and ankle injuries curtailed Taylor's involvement in the offense.
"It's hard because (the coaches) know I'm frustrated. They know I want the ball," Taylor said Tuesday. "They can say health reasons. Whatever. I'm out there. I'm open. I want the ball. I want to make plays. We need playmakers.
"I'm just making sure I'm doing the right things, taking care of my body, running the right routes, getting open, making my blocks. Just keep doing what I need to do, because if we're going to be the team we want to be, the ball has to come to me eventually. And not just me. It's got to come to the receivers, period."
Taylor made 32 catches in 2004, but tore a knee ligament in third game last season.
He said he was advised to sit out practice and rest his ankle, but he decided to suit up and participate.
We had some spirited discussions in our last post on the merits of Zona's rushing defense. Take a look at its opponents rushing logs. Sure they looked like world beaters against BYU and Stephen F. Austin. None of them have a legit running game. To be charitable I will discount their performance against LSU because of that game was on the road. But in their two Pac-10 home games (against Southern Cal and UDub) they gave up an average of 178 yards on the ground (4.34 yards per carry). This is a challenge UCLA should be able to meet, which has the 3rd best running attack in the Pac-10, averaging 173 yards per game. The average of course should be higher considering they didn't get the job done against Stanford failing to crush a pathetic team with the worst rushing defense in the country. Hopefully the trend of underachievement will come to a stop this weekend, when the Bruins finally put together a complete package on the offensive side of the ball against another mediocre (arguably less than mediocre) defense this weekend.
In short there should be no excuses for the Bruins not to feature a balanced attack on offense, driving the Bruins to a 4-1 record (should have been 5-0) heading up to Eugene with some modicum of positive momentum.
It will be up to Dorrell and his coaches to get the job done and finally show that they can have a team that has a complete package on offense, along with a credible defense.