How frustrating has the 2016 been for the UCLA football program and their fans? It is not too far fetched to believed that this 3-5 football team could easily be undefeated and ranked. The Bruins have been in every football game this season and like mediocre or snake bitten teams, find a way to lose.
When analyzing this very unfortunate season, it’s easy to see that the Bruins are inconsistent and don't finish. Teams that don’t finish and are inconsistent tend to have that thing in the back of their mind, of what’s going happen next, they start playing tight and start getting blown out.
This UCLA football team has fought hard in every game, making this roller coaster of a season, even more gut wrenching, with every heartbreaking loss. The silver lining of this very disappointing season is, this UCLA Bruin team doesn’t quit.
What is the reason that the Bruins, thus far, have not been able to turn it around?
The obvious answer is the lack of a running game. It doesn’t help a running game when you lose three starting offensive linemen, all in the interior, and you are tweaking an offense to being more physical than finesse.
UCLA also lost some of their biggest playmakers at the skill positions and haven’t found consistent replacements. By this stage in the program and this stage of the season you would hope the inside guys would start playing cohesively and making holes for the running backs. That would help and maybe this offense can start running on all cylinders, but the biggest problem with this UCLA team on the offensive side of the ball is lack of a consistent playmaker.
During Brett Hundley’s tenure as UCLA quarterback, more times than not, Hundley would make a play that would be the difference between winning and losing. The Bruins are lacking that go to guy that will make that play that breaks the will of the opposition.
Too many times this season that playmaker making the difference, has been on the opposite team. Putting it bluntly, the Bruins lack that magic that good teams have. Good teams know they are going to draw the ace when it’s needed.
The Bruins have had plays on the table and if executed the Bruins would have made those type of plays that make a difference in an outcome. Fi UCLA would have executed plays that were there the Bruins would have won a few more games, maybe even be undefeated.
Every one of UCLA’s losses have been by one score. That means one possession that went awry by dropped passes or a running played that was stoned.
UCLA can turn this thing around and get their mind’s right for another run for the big prizes next year, but they must find a playmaker that creates the magic that makes the difference.
It’s a tough spot to be in, when you compete in a game that likes to take it moment by moment, play by play, when your ultimate goals for the season are gone.
The Bruins still have to approach the season one game at a time. It’s an important time for the program. UCLA has to finish the season strong. If the Bruins do, the team will start creating the mindset, mettle and culture that good teams have.
Then the magic arrives with the wins.