So want to drill down a little more from the numbers from Saturday's scrimmage. As discussed last week in detail we can never be sure on what to take from these scrimmages. UCLA coaches traditionally tend to go pretty "vanilla" with their schemes on both sides of the football in these events. As a result over the years defense have had the upper hand against offense in these "scrimmages." Yet on Saturday, the offense with its back up QB and after losing its center in the first few plays, had some of its better moments in Westwood in recent years. Their numbers look pretty good at least on paper.
The official site posted the encouraging report on our offense:
Sophomore quarterback Richard Brehaut threw for 186 yards and three touchdown passes during the action, each going to a different receiver. Nelson Rosario and Taylor Embree, the returning starters at wide receiver, each hauled in a scoring pass. Rosario led the Bruin receivers with four catches on the day for 80 yards, including a two-yard scoring reception. Embree caught one pass, but it was good for an 18-yard touchdown. Sophomore Randall Carroll added a 36-yard scoring reception from Brehaut.
The numbers for freshman TB Malcolm Jones, who led our running attack were also impressive:
True freshman running back Malcolm Jones topped all rushers with 59 yards on 11 carries. He had one run of 18 yards and another of 17. Sophomore Jonathan Franklin totaled 16 yards on seven carries. Barr added a 12-yard run.
So what can we take away from those stats? Well the positive side of us can be excited about the fact that the cynical buffoons from the LA Times and the OC Register were not able to come up with not so original headlines of "pistol firing blanks." So they probably had to work overtime to come up with something else to undermine those numbers in addition to hyperventilating over OMGZ the latest setback around our football team.
Yet the reality based side of us need to tamper our excitement because we are not sure what kind of defense we have without guys like Brian Price, Dantone Jones, and Jerzy Siewierski blowing up our running game. Moreover, it sounds like our offense still has to work on number of issues to minimize unforced errors such as dealing with snap issues which could get more pronounced with a new C.
Whoever is going to be our QB on September 4 (I am sure we will start getting better ideas in next 2-3 days of this week), the name of the game is going to be about ball control. I am hoping the new revolver formation will yield its share of big plays. What I am really hoping though is that with our new look offense (with its new formation integrated within old pro sets) will keep the opposing D off balanced enough that it will produce chunks of yardage at times.
We have discussed before how one of the advantages of primarily using revolver formation was the ability to use zone blocking schemes with our offense. Last two years from my understanding we have been primarily using man-to-man blocking schemes which puts premium on individual talent. With a zone blocking scheme Coaches Norm Chow and Bob Palcic will be looking to devise a point of attack that could better fit the available personnel at OL.
We have talked a lot of about getting our offense in short yardage situations on second and third downs last couple of years. We saw little glimpses of at it times during last year when the OL started gelling together a bit, but we never really strung it together on a consistent basis except for a stretch starting in fourth quarter of the Oregon State game last season. I think if Brehaut/Prince can keep the offense humming in the new formation by getting the ball to weapons we have now at our disposal, the offense will have opportunity to make things interesting and exciting, while also keeping our defense fresh.
In the coming days are all going to bite our nails a bit waiting for updates on our QBs and also dealing with uncertainty as we are still not sure what to expect from our guys when they take on another team. I think we should also be careful about not reaching any conclusions about this team even after first game, because it is going to take a little time for some of the new guys on defense to get accalmated while the rebuilt OL finds its footing.
What we do want is for our guys to come out, fight, scratch and claw for every point and not give up like they did even after enduring a difficult streak during the midseason. With the character we have seen from these guys last few months through off-season workouts and both spring & summer camp, I am excited to find out how they are going to respond and fight starting next month.