Remember all the happy talk about how everything was all right with the Bruin running game after the Rice game? Well there is not much happy talk coming out of Westwood this week about the running game. Against the Huskies Bruins gained 143 yards on the ground, a huge chunk of which came from Markeys big run in the first drive. Otherwise the running game was pretty much a non factor throughout the day, especially in the end zone. Kahlil Bell who has racked up solid stats against D-1 noble laureates of Northwestern and Rice has pretty much been existent in rest of this season. Of course I expect him (and Markey) to have huge games against Stanford, which as mentioned yesterday is brining in the worst rushing defense in the conference, there are still some serious concerns about our running game:
UCLA is ranked fifth in rushing offense in the Pac-10 with 175.7 yards per game. But UCLA is last in the conference in rushing touchdowns.
Only two teams - Duke and Utah State - have fewer ground-game scores than the Bruins. UCLA is tied with Temple, Baylor, Florida Atlantic and New Mexico for second-fewest rushing touchdowns in Division I-A.
Those other six teams mentioned have a combined record of 1-20.
The Bruins (2-1), who play Stanford (0-4) at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl, don't seem overly hurried to fix the issue.
"The offensive line is doing OK, they need to pay a little more attention to details," offensive line coach Jim Colletto said. "When they paid attention against Washington, we broke off some big runs."
Markey had another big yardage day against the Huskies (124 yards on 19 carries) but just the one touchdown. Markey's 63-yard run failed to produce a score, something the junior back wishes to change over the rest of the season.
While the running game should be in full throttle this Saturday, I expect Olson to have a smooth night on Saturday. Stanford even though has the 3rd best passing defense in the conference, they have allowed their opposing QBs to complete a staggering 70 percent of their passes. Olson who so far has completed 67 percent of his passes (577 yards) is feeling confident. And despite not being put in position to show off his natural talent, no. 7 is not making any excuses:
Against Utah, 10 Bruins caught passes. A week later against Rice, Olson completed 13 of 19 for 124 yards and found six receivers. In his 18-completion outing at Washington, nine Bruins had receptions.
"When we throw the ball, he's very accurate," UCLA junior receiver Marcus Everett said. "He finds the open receiver. It seems like he's accelerating on his own."
Olson said keeping a simple approach is key.
"You can make it as complicated as you want to," Olson said. "You can get out there and second-guess yourself and think too much. You have to try to stay calm, and keep it simple in your mind."
This Stanford team that is coming into the Rose Bowl is a horrible team. Jill Painter from the Daily News gives a little idea about what an atrocious football team is coming to visit this Saturday:
Stanford - which has the worst run defense in the country, allowing 312 yards per game - squandered a 20-point lead against San Jose State and surrendered 368 rushing yards against Navy.
"He has to get better at the turnover area," Cardinal Coach Walt Harris said of Edwards, who has passed for six touchdowns but has had three passes intercepted. "He has had a turnover in each of our last three games."
One reason for that, Harris says, is that Stanford's line hasn't offered the best protection.
"He has hung in the pocket almost too long in some situations," Harris said. "He's a tough guy and he trusts his linemen to their blocks. But he has to use his scrambling skills more."
Don't choke on this one Dorrell.