Final Assessment of the 2012 UCLA Football Bruins

Posted on December 28, 2012 by

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Didn’t have a good feeling about this game, particularly against the #1 ranked offense in the nation.  And of course, the box score confirms it.

I saw only the first half, which seemed like the halftime of the 66-19 USC game in 2005, where the Bruins were simply down 42-7 or something similarly pathetic.  I fell asleep for the 2nd, but looking at the box score and the Bruins Nation recap just an hour ago, doesn’t seem like much changed.

The success of this season was built upon the poise of Brett Hundley.

In that Nebraska game, where I first watched him, he was smoother than a baby’s be-hind.  The game looked really simple for him.  I really believed we could match up against any team in the NCAA with that guy;  before the pack of games against Stanford, his stats seemed to match up with the Heisman candidate QBs though with less-heralded wins.  Even in the losses against Oregon State and Cal, he put up the same stellar performance.  He seemed to be underrated during award season earning no more than Pac-10 Honorable Mention.

The latest game, and for the matter, the last three games against Baylor and Stanford, all I saw was hesitation.  Pass or run?  Run or pass?  This didn’t seem to be a conflict at all at the beginning of the season; seems that he’s been over-coached not to make mistakes when he was already pretty good at what he had been doing.

I really hope the shoot-out capable Brett Hundley from the 1st 11 games shows up next year.

Seems like the Bruins in this game were really planning on riding Jonathan Franklin; maybe that worked against a big team like Stanford, but it seems liked they severely underestimated the gun battle they would get into with Baylor, and over-estimated our defensive capabilities.  Seemed like we were trying to force the issue with running, and ended up having to try to play from behind all game long with miracle bombs.

The game looked really easy for Baylor.  There really wasn’t much Anthony Barr or any other star defenders could do, especially with as limited a secondary.  I remember a 3rd down where we had done a good job of stopping them.  Then we blitzed;  Baylor responded by going one-on-one with Dalton Hilliard who was never going to catch up with the Baylor wide receiver.  On just this one play, without batting an eye, Baylor scampered 55 yards for a TD, which made the score 21-0.  It seems like a play where we were trying to rely on our blitzing capabilities and get aggressive, but it didn’t help when our secondary can’t really run.

The wrong play call by the Bruins, and a symbolic show of how slow the secondary actually is.  I don’t know who is stepping up next year, I hope the return of Dietrich Riley can perhaps help.

All in all, the game leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Makes me wonder about the wins we did have, and their legitimacy and how were going to do next year, when it appears we have a tougher schedule.

This game did a little to impeach my faith in Coach Jim Mora, after a local media had praised his enthusiasm, and relatively successful award season.  Either this last game is the beginning of the downfall or the fuel to next season’s fire.  As with sports, you continuing hoping its the latter for your favorite team/athlete.

Thanks for a relatively fun, not as crappy as most years football season, UCLA.  We’ll see ya next year.

Posted in: UCLA