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Tuesday Bruin Roundup

Happy Tuesday everyone. I will post the draft of BN's blogpoll ballot later today (deadline to submit it is tomorrow) and would love to hear all of your feedback on it. For now let's kick the week of Tuesday news roundup.

Dohn reports on good vibrations (for the defensive crew) coming out of Monday film session:

Free safety Dennis Keyes said the vibe was different heading into Sunday's film review session, mostly because the Bruins defense had its most impressive outing, arguably, in years.

Utah's 10 points were the fewest the Bruins allowed since an Oct. 20, 2004 shutout of Stanford.

"Last year we would go into meetings with our heads down because we knew we started the game bad, and we knew what to expect," Keyes said. "Coming in to watch film (Sunday), we jut had a different feeling. It was an upbeat vibe, and a lot more confidence knowing we executed the game plan fairly well."
Let's hope the performance against Utah was just a start. The team still has to address number of issues. And Rice should be the perfect opponent to work out all the kinks.

Speaking of the defense suspended LB John Hale will be returning to action this weekend. However, it looks like Whittington has now a firm hold on the SAM LB spot. More from the the OC Register. I would think Hale will come back this week with a lot of intensity and renewed determination to keep competing for that starting spot. More importantly he has learned a lesson of how not to get anywhere near a situation (off the field) which could get him in trouble. We all know similar lessons are not being taught in the lawless football program across town.

And also on the defense Dohn confirms Kibble was taken back to the hospital. The prayers of Bruins Nation are with Robert:

Photo from Trojan Haters Club

Hang in there RB. I urge everyone in BN to leave a note wishing Robert the best in this thread.

Now in terms of the big picture we have been saying for weeks how we expect this team to go 5-0. Looks like the scenario is in players' minds as well. From the LA Times:
This might be jumping ahead a little, but UCLA has a great opportunity to start the year with a 5-0 record, thanks to a favorable early schedule filled with beatable teams.

"Yeah, we've looked at the schedule," junior free safety Dennis Keyes said, "but we're trying not to [overlook] any of our opponents. We just have to come out and focus every week. If we start fast, we start fast. That's good for us."

After beating Utah, 31-10, on Saturday, the Bruins will be at home again this week against Rice, which lost to UCLA, 63-21, last year at the Rose Bowl. The Owls were 1-10 last season and began this year with a 31-30 loss to Houston at home.

Then, after a bye week, UCLA begins Pacific 10 Conference play with a game at Washington, which struggled to defeat San Jose State at home on Saturday and is 0-3 against the Bruins since Karl Dorrell became UCLA's coach.

On Sept. 30, UCLA will face Stanford at the Rose Bowl in another matchup that looks good for the Bruins. The Cardinal lost its Pac-10 opener last week at Oregon and lost at home to UCLA last year, 30-27, in overtime.

The following week, the Bruins play host to Arizona, the team that handed them their first loss last year. The Wildcats, who went 3-8 last season, defeated Brigham Young, 16-13, in their opener Saturday.
Yeap it is more than reasonable to expect this team to go 5-0 given the hapless opponents in our first 5 games. However, it is crucial that the coaches get the players to get that in proverbial one-game-at-a-time mindset. And, looks like Dorrell is on the case:
"We're coming off a good strong performance, but there are a lot of areas we can improve," said Dorrell, whose teams are 8-3 in September in his three years at UCLA. "But we're glad to be in the position that we are at right now."
Well there are lots of areas to improve on if the Bruins want to start with a record of 5-0.

What areas UCLA needs to improve on? Here is a clue from Dohn's weekly report card:
Running backs

There wasn't a lot of running room for Chris Markey and Kahlil Bell, who combined for 68 yards on 23 carries, but neither of the backs made something out of nothing. Frosh Chane Moline (7 carries, 17 yards) as choice for third running back is no surprise.

Grade: C [...]

Offensive line

Olson didn't find himself on his back once, which is a major reason for his success. But the lack of a running game was troublesome despite an ever-present twisting Utah front. Averaging 2.6 yards per carry won't cut it very often.

Grade: C [...]

Special teams

This was the worst performance by UCLA. Markey muffed a punt, which the Bruins recovered and Justin Medlock, returning from a DUI suspension, missed a 46-yard field goal attempt. Aaron Perez was consistent, averaging 42.8 yards on five punts.

Grade: C-
Dohn gave the DL a "B". I think they deserved a lower grade given that they gave up 4.9 yards per rush, and didn't come up with a lot of sacks. But I guess we can't complain a lot given what we have experienced in the D over last few years.

Let's hope the defense continues to improve, and the coaches address the concerns about the running game and special teams this week. Let the good vibrations keep flowing out of Westwood.