Here is our fifth round table discussion for the 2012 Football Season. Read, discuss, contribute.
1. Initial Impressions?
Odysseus: Jim Mora and the Bruins went on the road and did what they were expected to do: blow out a bad team. This may not seem like much, but this is the type of game that UCLA would have lost over the past decade. There were times the team did not look as sharp as it should have, or that it lacked the "killer instinct". These are all valid concerns, but we wanted the team to bounce back on the road and win big, as expected. The Bruins did just that.
AHMB: UCLA took care of business. Coach Mora and Co. went to Boulder and methodically beat a young Colorado team. There really isn't much to say other than they took care of business and did what they were supposed to do.
tasser10: taking care of business is not always pretty. I know that from watching the Sopranos. I am still annoyed by the tendency to play down to the competition, but in the end the team did what was necessary and got itself a win on the road.
freesia39: We won, and I'm happy about that. We didn't embarrass ourselves, happy about that. It took a little longer than I would have liked to get the game going, but we eventually did what we went to Colorado to - beat a team by a comfortable margin.
DCBruins: It is nice to have a team that does what it is supposed to do. We beat a bad team on the road by 4 TDs. The last 10 years, this game would have been a W but close.
Ryan: The Bruins did what they were supposed to do, which hasn't been the case for more than a decade. It wasn't a perfect performance, but "got the job done" is a nice things to hear about a UCLA football team.
gbruin: This was a good, solid win - steady, never in doubt. I hope fans appreciated that and didn't get caught up in the apparent lack of flash. We don't have to have 70 yard TD's and a 21-0 lead in the first quarter to have a good game. I'll take 6 long TD drives a game every week.
2. The Good
Odysseus: The defense, overall played a good game, holding Colorado to 83 yards rushing and less than 3 yards per carry. The defense also got pressure on the Colorado quarterbacks and made the Buffs pay on obvious passing downs. Damien Holmes was asked to move to OLB on very short notice and played extremely well. Hundley played a pretty good, efficient game, and 11 different receivers caught passes. It looked like the offense went back to the basics and it paid off.
AHMB: Pretty much all of it. From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, UCLA was in control of the game. It wasn't perfect by any means, but the game was never in doubt. I really liked how Hundley spread the ball around. That's a sign of a quarterback that understands the offense. Defensively, the team tackled really well and held Colorado to a lot of 3 and outs.
tasser10: I am very pleased at Brett Hundley's consistency. He is so calm and collected, yet so aware and quickly decisive. The defense was also quite good.
freesia39: Yay defense! I was very happy with the defense, minus the obvious holes in the secondary. Once the offense got going, it was a much better game to watch.
DCBruins: Agree with Tasser10. Hundley has been good, consistently. Also, on the D loved they keep making big plays. The two turnovers turned the game from close to a blow out.
Ryan: offense was fundamentally sound. There is a lot of room for growth and there wasn't a ton that made you say "wow", but there wasn't much that had you picking apart holes either. It's nice to have the basics down.
Defensively, most everything was good. The tackling was better than it has been and the front seven played extremely well.
gbruin: The offensive tempo looked good again, with lots of balance and diversity to the play calling and lots of personnel contributing. This was also a really good defensive effort against a motivated team that scored 35 points on the road the week before.
3. The Bad
Odysseus: Well it was Hester who was victimized this week rather than Price, but overall the pass coverage was better. The continued mistakes and penalties need to get fixed, and I'd rather see the team put the game away earlier. Losing Lucien to injury is the really bad part of this game though.
AHMB: Losing Lucien is a tough blow. The redshirt freshman was probably the team's best deep threat, and someone will have to step up.
tasser10: nothing really bad, except for holes in pass coverage at times. And injuries stink.
freesia39: I was worried with Fairbairn's first PAT, as it was low, but the rest were fine. We still need to work on field goal kicking.
DCBruins: Long term really worried about our Wide Receivers. Lucien may have been the best. I also think Manfro is still hurting, Rice made some big penalties, Johnson and Evans dropped some passes, etc. It is a big worry.
Ryan: Penalties, penalties, penalties. Seven more this game, which isn't a horrific number, but it's not good. It's a problem that isn't getting significantly better.
gbruin: There were still a few too many penalties. I'm really bummed for Lucien. He was becoming a dynamic playmaker. Get well soon, Devin. Pass coverage still needs to get better.
4. Game's Most Valuable Player(s)?
Odysseus: Damien Holmes. His performance alone merits it, but shifting from ILB to OLB on short notice makes the performance even more amazing. Seven tackles, five for loss, and three sacks.
AHMB: Damien Holmes and Brett Hundley
tasser10: Brett Hundley
freesia39: Brett Hundley.
DCBruins: Agree with tasser10 again.
Ryan: Damien Holmes was a monster. Can we keep him at linebacker? He was getting victimized on the line and then did this. Come on, common sense.
gbruin: The offensive line. Hundley had plenty of time to pass and the running attack was very good. Damien Holmes was excellent at OLB, as well.
5. Honorable Mentions?
Odysseus: Anthony Barr, Hundley, JetSki, Baca
AHMB: Anthony Barr, JetSki, Jordon James
tasser10: Damien Holmes
freesia39: Damien Holmes, Anthony Barr.
DCBruins: Holmes and Barr. Barr is a beast. I think I could just write Barr and Hundley every week.
Ryan: Brett Hundley was effective and Anthony Barr was great again.
gbruin: Anthony Barr, Johnathan Franklin, Brett Hundley
6. What we hope to see vs. Cal?
Odysseus: A win. We haven't won at Cal since Cade McNown was quarterback. We need to win this this game, we have to win this game. Clean up some of the mistakes, try to play with fewer penalties, a clean overall game. Against Cal, a team with weapons, especially at WR, don't let them beat us with big plays against Price or Hester. Make Maynard beat us with sustained drives. If it sounds like I'm advocating bend but don't break, for this game, I think that's the way to go.
AHMB: I agree with Odysseus. A win is all I want. Our guys tackled really well against Colorado and I hope we can keep it up. Cal almost knocked off Ohio St. due in large part to the Bears' ability to break tackles.
tasser10: a lot of Golden Bears crying. Stop the run, make Maynard throw the ball under pressure. He does not do well with blitzes. Offense needs to be efficient on the road, can't make mistakes and gotta be focused.
freesia39: As I'm sure many of us do, I work with a lot of Cal Bears, and I would love nothing more than a win. A win on the road against Cal I think will give us the signal we were looking for that we are headed in the right direction. I hope the game is clean, without silly penalties, and Anthony Barr tells Zach Maynard that the grass is delicious and he should taste it.
DCBruins: Another win on the road. We have not had 2 PAC 10 or 12 road wins since 2007.
Ryan: Any result that has UCLA scoring more points than Cal. I'm not even going to get picky this week. Cade McNown was the UCLA quarterback last time the Bruins won in Strawberry Canyon. Just win the damn game.
gbruin: I'd be totally happy with more of the same - another solid all around performance like this week. Maybe throw in a decrease in penalties. I hope we watch the ASU-Cal film carefully and have an aggressive but smart pass rush that contains Maynard. As long as the defense keeps Cal reasonably in check, I think our offense will put up more big numbers.
7. The Extra Point.
Odysseus: Holmes looked like a natural at OLB, and I've always thought Zumwalt would be a good fit at ILB. It sounds like the coaches disagree, but it might be worth thinking about whether shuffling positions for Holmes and Zumwalt would make the defense better. Zumwalt seems like he would be at his best cleaning up while the DL occupies blockers. Maybe the coaches feel he's not as good dropping back into coverage and that's why they want him outside, but to me, it seems like it would make a lot of sense.
AHMB: Hundley looked very much in charge in Boulder. The pace of the offense was better, he spread the ball around, and I don't recall him throwing into traffic. He didn't look great when he ran the ball, and he looked almost as if he was looking for a place to slide rather than simply running the football. I know that he's an important part of the team and he's making an effort to avoid hits, but playing tentative is often more dangerous than playing at full speed. Finding the balance between playing hard and playing smart is a trick that Kevin Prince never mastered, and one that I hope Hundley is able find soon.
tasser10: gotta keep improving. this was slated as a tossup in our season predictions, and it still is. Too often have we lost to Cal teams we should beat. Let's make Memorial Stadium a place of tears for Cal.
freesia39: We're 4-1 - which is where a lot of people thought we'd be at this point in the season. If you're surprised, you didn't look at the schedule close enough. Let's continue this road momentum by going into "new" Memorial and take a win back to Westwood.
DCBruins: Last week I wrote that I wanted to see what Mora could do with Fauria and Fairbairn. Fauria made a tough catch over the middle for a big first down and had a nice block on Hundely TD run. In other words, he got the talented but flakey Fauria to play closer to his talent level. However, Fairbairn confidence is still suspect.
Ryan: This team and program is far from "there", but after a couple down weeks, the arrow is pointing up again. Not way up, because it can only go up so much against Colorado, but it's going in the right direction.
gbruin: I think Hundley still looks a step slow or tentative, but he made some excellent decisions and seemed more willing to tuck the ball and go. As he gets more confidence carrying the ball, he will become another key weapon. Overall, there is certainly room for improvement across the board, but we are so far ahead of previous years, and I'm pretty pleased with where we are as we near the halfway point in the season. The team just needs to continue moving forward each week, and not have any steps backward ala OSU.