I'm honored to be writing this edition of The Morning After, filling in for gbruin who had an early morning of work today after a late night of watching football.
I don't know about any of you, but, after yesterday's game, I'm exhausted. I probably could have slept till noon or later. It was a hot afternoon in Pasadena, which really drains you when you're sitting around outside tailgating, but while the heat may be a contributing factor. It was the play of our football team too.
Our defense did not look good last night.
Memphis QB Paxton Lynch had a career game. It was the first time he has ever thrown for 300 yards in a game.
In fact, the Memphis offense smoked our defense so badly that they've invited our team to the Memphis in May BBQ competition. Seriously though, our defense did not play well.
Memphis seemed to be opening holes so big that Elvis could have driven a Cadillac through them and the Tigers took advantage of this by rushing for 164 yards on 39 carries. That's 4.2 yards per carry.
The crowd at the Rose Bowl seemed frustrated with how our team has played the past two weeks and I can understand that. They simply haven't played up to their potential yet.
The offense looked a lot better this week, but I still feel like they could have played better. The passing game contained a mix of downfield passing as well as short passes while the running game looked a lot better with Paul Perkins get the majority of touches. It felt like there may have been a little over-reliance on short passes, but the offense was definitely more effective than last week. Despite that, I can't help but feel like something was still not right with our offense. I can't quite put my finger on it. It just feels that way.
On special teams, our kicking game is still a concern. Fairbairn missed an extra point. Maybe we're a little spoiled because of the UCLA tradition of having great placekickers that goes all the way back to Efren Herrera. That's 40 years of great placekicking which is unbelievable, but it explains why it's so frustrating for so many UCLA fans.
The punting game struggled too. Mengel almost had one punt blocked deep in our own territory and he had one punt that only went 27 yards. He average 34 yards on seven punts.
I can't wait to read this week's Eye Test because of the penalties. We had 9 for 85 yards which is 2 yards better than last week, but, last week, we were flagged more often, meaning that we averaged more yards per penalty this week. But our coaching staff continues to act like the penalties are no big deal.
What left the Tigers singing the blues was their own inability to properly manage the clock at the end of the game. The failure to spike the ball to stop the clock on the final drive kept them from getting another play or two off which could have won them the game.
The bottom line is that, right now, it's tough to be a UCLA football fan. Sure, the team is 2-0, but both wins have been so ugly that everyone's expectations have to be lower than just a few weeks ago. Anyone who's still saying "But it's early in the season...." clearly has not been watching this football team.
Looking ahead to next Saturday, we play Texas in a "neutral" site game at JerryWorld in Arlington. The folks at FOX must be cringing right now after watching BYU destroy the Longhorns yesterday and UCLA squeaking past Memphis.
That will wrap up this edition of The Morning After. It's time for this gbruin impersonator to leave the building. Thankyouverymuch for reading.