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Humpday News & Notes

Last week the spotlight was on our offense. Everyone was anxious to find out how Dorrell’s offense was going to perform with a new OC and with Olson back at QB. While we saw some encouraging signs in second half albeit against a hapless opponent, people are feeling slightly better about the O at least at this snap shot of time. However, the questions now have shifted over to the defensive side.

The defense didn’t generate much pressure on the Stanford rushing game and more disturbingly it showed a tendency of missing tackles. From the LA Times:

The Bruins gave up 331 passing yards, including three pass plays of more than 40 yards. They also gave up a run for 32 yards.

The area the Bruins need to correct was easily located, even without looking at game film.

"We missed seven tackles and we gave up 95 [yards after the first hit]," defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker said. "That's 50-55 more than we care to see.

"That's something we did pretty well last year. But we started like this a little bit last year, too. We had to kind of correct the tackling. It's something that's been identified. When you get a big win, it's easy to correct those things."

Walker indicated the same type of tackling could be costly in Saturday's game against Brigham Young.

"They have three 230-pound running backs," Walker said. "They have big linemen and they are going to be older. These are men, 22-23 years old. I coached up there one year, so I know how they do things and what kind of kids they have. We're going to have to bring our lunch pail. It's going to be a physical game."
It will be interesting to see how our front-7 responds to this challenge (from Walker). I think our front 7 didn’t have its greatest performance against Stanford. Sure they bottled up a Stanford running game which was without Toby Gerhart. However, as mentioned above it didn’t generate much pressure on the Stanford passing game. The anchor of our defense – Bruce Davis – started the game with fumble recovery, but was silent for rest of the game. It seemed like Stanford’s Allen Smith had a pretty good beat on Davis the whole afternoon. I think Davis will have to give us a much better effort this Saturday against a huge and experience BYU OL and play within the scheme of Walker’s defense.

One guy who picked up the slack for Davis was third year soph. Reggie Carter. Carter was patient in last Saturday’s game against Stanford, putting himself in position to come up with one solid plays after another. OC Register’s Kuwada has the story on Carter:
"He's just got it. He's just got it together, mentally and physically now," defensive end Bruce Davis said. "He's always had it physically, but he's worked harder in the classroom, he has a great coach in Coach (Chuck) Bullough, he has Christian Taylor playing next to him, so he has everything he needs now. Physically, he's a beast out there and to go out there and perform how he did in that game up at Stanford is amazing. "

The third-year sophomore led the Bruins in tackles in the 45-17 victory over the Cardinal, making a career-high 10 stops, including six unassisted and two behind the line of scrimmage. The difference, Carter said, is that he is more comfortable within the defense now, and able to read and react with more quickness and confidence.

"I knew my job, but I was nervous to make a mistake," Carter said of his redshirt freshman season in which he made 48 tackles for the 7-6 Bruins. "Like, you see it, and they tell you that when you see it, you hit it. Don't hesitate. But I'd see it and I'd think, ‘OK, that's run,' but I wouldn't be positively sure, so I'd hesitate. But then it was run, and if I had hit it right away, I could have got that tackle in the backfield instead of them getting three or four yards.

"I guess you could say it was kind of like being afraid to make a big play because you don't want to mess up. Last year I was trying to focus more on the defenses and doing it, all the little jobs, instead of just playing football and making plays. My read and react time is a lot faster now.
Hopefully his team-mates bring the same determination, focus, and discipline as Carter into their next game this Saturday.

Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball Chris Markey had a so so game against Stanford. However, he is maintaining a great attitude about it:
"We watched film, and I got an `A' grading out," Markey said. "The big plays weren't there for me, and how I play, I tell myself to be patient and let the game come to you. I feel that's what I did."

Markey carried 20 times for a workmanlike 71 yards. There were a few instances in which Markey was a slipped tackle or quick cut from breaking off a long run, but he isn't concerned.

Instead, Markey, who ran for 1,107 yards last season, said he was thrilled Bell had a career-best 195 yards on 19 carries.

"One of my goals is to have one of the best backfields in the nation, and that's what I told (Bell) before the game," Markey said. "If one of us is not clicking, the other will be clicking, and he was clicking Saturday. He played a great game."
That’s great to hear from Markey. I think our running game will be better served if the coaches can always throw different looks and running styles at the opposing team. And if they use Markey, Bell, and hopefully a little more Ramirez (and Moline when he is healthy), UCLA will have the ability to feature a multi-faceted dynamic running attack, complementing our stable of weapons in the passing game. It’s really up to the coaches to harness that talent.

Elsewhere we have an interesting position change (from Dohn’s article linked above):
Bruins redshirt freshman Darius Savage was switched from defensive tackle to offensive line. He spent much of the practice working with the offensive-line group, although he did spent some time on the scout team, and stayed after practice to work on his technique.

"He's on our PAT protection already, and it seems like he's more natural on the offensive side than the defensive side," Dorrell said. "He just wants to play. He thinks this will probably be a little faster chance for him to play, given that he's behind the defense."

Savage, an accomplished shot put and discus thrower, missed spring ball to participate in track and field. He played offensive line at Morse High of San Diego.
Savage is a huge kid and a blue chip talent. Whatever works out for him, I hope it is best for him and the team. Again it is up to the coaches to make sure they don’t waste his talents.