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In Stride

Want to share couple of takes from our Bruinsphere wrt to Saturday's game showing how folks are taking this weekend's development in stride. Gilbert (perhaps channeling BN?) at Obscure Sports Quarterly is feeling hopeful:

There is no such thing is a moral victory. A loss is a loss, and I’m disappointed that the Bruins lost. But I’m not nearly as down as I was after the BYU and Arizona games. I have hope now that this team might not be that bad the rest of the season and could win a few games. I didn’t have that hope before today.

It was the defense that blew the game, giving up 36 points and completely unable to stop Fresno State when it counted the most on the final never-ending drive. But that’s not a reason to be concerned yet. Usually, it’s UCLA’s good defense that bails out its bad offense, or at least keeps the game close. This is the first time I can think in recent years that it was the other way around, and the defense has a lot of young players. If they’re still this bad by the end of the season, there’s a problem, but one rare bad game when the offense does well will happen once in a while. It does to other teams at least.

CPBruinFan over at Bruin Roar struck the same notes expressing concern about his defense while defending CRN's "gutsy moves:

It seems like the offense line is really starting to gel. They might not be able to take on some of the better teams in the conference, but they seem to be finding some consistency. I really liked the combination out there today. Dean, Savage, Baca, Ekbatani, and Reed. It looks like Micah Reed might miss some more time after hurting his other knee today. That's a bummer but they did OK in his absence. They even gave Craft some more time to throw. A good effort.

The bad news was the defense. You have to give credit to Fresno State. They have a very prolific offense and a very, very efficent quarterback in Bradstater. He is accurate and cool in the pocket. You expect that from a seasoned senior. But our secondary is not very good. Norris and Viney were particularly poor in coverage today. It doesn't help that we get very little pass rush. We have to get some pressure from the linebackers and defensive ends because we're getting picked apart in the passing game. Brian Price was the lone bright spot. I almost had a heart attack when he went down with an injury. Glad to see he was OK and came back for a huge game.

On the coaching decisions... I thought they were fine. Some will hang Neuhiesel for accepting the holding penalty deep in UCLA terrirorty, but I don't. When I watched it live, my first thought was to decline; but I see why he choose to accept it. It did put Fresno State in a longer field goal position. They're kicker was not very good and Rick was gambling that his defense would come up with a big stop. Likewise, on the 4th down when we had the ball... he took a chance on our offense.

Both were gutsy moves. Both showed confidence in his players. Both failed. People will bitch about the decision but what they're really complaining about is the outcome. Everyone hated it when Dorrell played it safe. Now people are complaining that Neuheisel is taking too many risks. Shit. We need to role the dice with this team, because we don't have the consistent play makers to win these types of games every week. You have to take the risk to get the reward. It just didn't work out in our favor this week.

Sounds about right to me.