Pac-10 Week 8 Notes and Observations: UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins 3-4 Overall (0-4 Conference)
This Week’s Score: Arizona 27 – UCLA 13
Next Week’s Opponent: @Oregon State
The Bruins are in a state of regression right now, and Rick Neuheisel will need to put together a substantial coaching effort for the Bruins to right the ship. After an encouraging 3-0 start to the season, UCLA is now staring at a potential 0-5 start to the Pac-10 season. To be fair, the Bruins have faced four of the conference’s best so far (Oregon, Cal, Stanford, UA), and with winnable games on the horizon it’s not time to panic yet.
At the top of the “to do” list for Neuheisel is figuring out the quarterback situation, and quickly. Let’s be honest…QB Kevin Prince is struggling. The freshman has not looked the same since breaking his jaw in the endzone of Neyland Stadium, and his performance in Tucson was especially disheartening (7/15 60 yards). Should Norm Chow consider giving QB Richard Brehaut a shot? I believe the answer is yes. I’m not saying it’s time to give up on Prince for good, as I still believe he can be a productive starter for UCLA. But right now he doesn’t seem to be playing with any confidence, and a change may spark the offense.
While there certainly needs to be more productivity at the quarterback position, UCLA has a variety of other offensive issues. The youth of the offensive line is starting to show, and the receivers have been terrible. I believed the Bruins had more quality depth at wideout and tight end than almost any other team in the conference, but where are the playmakers? I was also very disappointed in the running game against UA, as Jonathan Franklin and Co. were held to 65 yards rushing (2.8 YPC).
Defensively, the Bruins did some good things. While the ‘Cats moved the ball quite a bit on the day (456 yards), UCLA generated five turnovers, including two interceptions by the ultra-intuitive and opportunistic Rahim Moore (who now has an NCAA best seven on the year). I still believe that this Bruins D is good enough to keep the team in games, but its not good enough to win them by itself (defense had a hand in all 13 UCLA points).
UCLA travels to Corvallis this week for a date with another upper-echelon Pac-10 team. Upset the Beavers, and a four game winning streak is a strong possibility. But a lopsided loss could kill the demeanor of the team, as well as the bowl hopes.