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No Fear (and No Excuse)

One of the argument I am hearing that there is no way Bruins have a shot of beating Southern Cal because of our (lack of) running game. That got me thinking that Oregon State must have a truly awesome running game to pull of their win against the Trojans. Well here is the season to date rushing stats for Oregon State and UCLA. From the Pac-10 website:

UCLA (2003-06)

Rushing Offense Pac-10 Rank G. Att. Yds. Avg. TD Yds/G
Oregon State 7 11 389 1395 3.6 17 126.8
UCLA 8 11 365 1372 3.8 9 124.7

The difference between the potency of Oregon State and UCLA attacks are negligible. It is actually kind of silly to argue that Bruins have no shot of beating Southern Cal because of their anemic running attack. Well compared to UCLA, Oregon State?s running attack is not all that great. Oregon State?s number is boosted by the efforts of Yvenson Bernard who rushed for over 1,000 yards this season. But guess what Oregon State didn?t have Bernard in their victory against Southern Cal. Bernard was out that game with a right ankle injury and they got he job done with Clinton Polk, who had 22 carries for 100 yards.

The Beavers were without tailback Yvenson Bernard, who sprained his right ankle in Oregon State's 17-10 victory over Arizona last weekend. Clinton Polk took his place and had 22 carries for 100 yards. Polk rushed for a grand total of 148 yards combined rest of the season. His most noteworthy performance besides the one against Trojans came against Idaho when he rushed for 49 yards in 10 carries.

So again why should lack of a dominant rushing attack (or a dominant offense) should be an excuse for raising the white flag against Southern Cal?

UCLA?s running game is right on par with the Beavers running attack. And I?d argue we have more talent on our roster with Markey, and Moline, and Pitre blocking up front (who is probably the best FB in the entire conference).

Moreover, Oregon State doesn?t exactly field an offense that is vastly superior to Dorrell?s offense. They are 5th in the conference averaging 25.9 pts a game, just 2.4 pts better than UCLA?s, which is 7th in the conference averaging 23.5 pts a game. The difference in total offense is not all that discernible. Beavers are 6th in the conference averaging 357.5 yards a game, while the Bruins are 7th with 329.3 yards a game. [See Pac-10 stats.]

And Mike Riley is no Vince Lombardi compared to Dorrell.

So why are some using our lack of running game as an excuse to raise the white flag against Southern Cal?

Did UCLA have a dominant running game when they almost pulled off an upset two years ago at the Rose Bowl? Well let?s see what happened that day at the Rose Bowl. Did the Bruins put together a dominating rushing attack giving them a chance to win that game eventual national champions? Well not really. Bruins rushed for only 50 yards in 25 carries. MJD was missing in action from that game due to an injury. Manuel White led the Bruins in rushing with 19 yards in 7 carries. Markey played as a true frosh and ran for 10 yards in 8 carries.

Isn?t it reasonable for us to expect the Bruin running backs to average at least 3.0+ yard a carry given the fact even a hapless and pathetic team such as the Beavers led by a dreadful and unimaginative coaching staff put together a credible running effort against the Trojans?

So I don?t understand the voice of trepidation among some of the chicken little among us.

Lack of a dominant running attack is not a reason to be fearful of Pom Pom?s (free) rented thugs. Bruins can win this game if they play smart football on offense. As mentioned let?s hope Dorrell call plays which makes the offense unpredictable on first downs, and scheme in running plays other than our patented run up the middle variety which could potentially diffuse the speed of Trojan LBers. And if we play an inspired defense and get the turnovers we have been creating the whole season [number 2 in the conference with +6, See Pac-10 stats], we should be able to pull out this victory.

We have the talent on our roster to expect a UCLA win. Why should we shy away from demanding and expecting it?

One thing I want to see this in community is the sense of Bruin Pride no matter what the state of our program. I understand we have lot of issues to deal with wrt Dorrell. I don?t think Dorrell is the answer for reestablishing the Bruin football program. I believe UCLA needs to get rid of Dorrell even after we pull off the win this Saturday. And believe me you will posts relentlessly making those arguments after the game is over this Saturday.

However, our reservations about our head coach will not make us shy away from demanding and expecting victory this Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Especially when you look at the numbers closely you can see why the Bruins have more than a fighting chance to win this game. And as alums who went to school during a time when none of us ever experienced a loss in this game (5-0 during my time in Westwood), we will always no matter what the circumstances are expect and demand a victory in this game.

So if you are going to continue to post chicken little comments and be afraid about why the Bruins don?t have a chance to win this game, please take that BS loser mentality somewhere else for this week.

No fear and no excuses here on Bruins Nation.

F*ck SC.