Tuesday, 14 November 2017 14:47

Musing UCLA Football

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UCLA USC 06Here we are with two games left in a challenging season for UCLA. It did not go the way Jim Mora, his coaching staff, his players or the Bruin faithful had anticipated or hoped.

It looked in early August when the training camp began that UCLA would have a great defense. That didn’t happen.

Perhaps losing seven players from the 2016 defensive team are currently on NFL rosters, three along the defensive front [Takk McKinley, Eddie Vanderdoes, and Eli Ankou], one linebacker [Jayon Brown] and three defensive backs [Fabian Moreau, Randall Goforth, and Marcus Rios].

That is a lot of talent to lose, but still, it looked like the defense was going be a team strength. The questions were on offense, yet, week after week the offense kept improving and the defense that looked like they were about to turn the corner earlier in the season became devastated by injuries.

While depth has been helped for the future due to players being rushed into duty, the defense this season suffered from immense growing pains and were gashed often giving up way too many big running plays and big plays in general.

When a team gives up big plays, as the Bruins often did this past season, it affects team morale, but in the defense of the entire team, they never quit giving effort, even though at times you couldn’t help but think the other shoe was going to drop.

The offense had to play under constant pressure that they had to score and at times, especially on the road, the Bruins would turn the ball over and put the defense in tough situations, also hurting a defense that was getting on the job training.

With all the adversity this Bruin team had to endure, they are still playing for a bowl game, but they have to play two of their biggest rivals and have to get one win to be bowl eligible.

Coming up this coming Saturday, the Bruins will be playing their crosstown rival USC, the team that just wrapped up the Pac-12 Southern Division crown and on the road.

No one who has been watching UCLA football this season, needs to be reminded that the Bruins haven’t won one game away from the Rose Bowl, maybe playing in the same town this week will take the road blues away for UCLA and they will play the way they have all season long when they play in Los Angeles County.

A win against USC will cure a multitude of sins this season. Will the Bruin defense put together a complete game and shut down the Trojans just enough for the offense help the Bruins to their first road victory>

Who knows, one thing that is certain when it comes to this intercity rivalry you throw the records to the wind. Anything can happen.

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