UCLA Football Week 1: Takeaways + Observations

Image result for ucla cincinnati football

(Photo: USA Today Sports/Gary A. Vasquez)

After reviewing the Cincinnati game, I am openly optimistic that doom and gloom is not yet on the horizon. But it very well may be a distant ship getting ready to enter the harbor soon, unless we are able to fix a few things.
DEFENSE:
Actually didn’t play too poorly. Except for the 2nd quarter and the last drive of the game, our D played stout. They were active and held their ground.
MUST IMPROVE:
It’s apparent to me now that we don’t much of a pass rush with the standard 3 down linemen. We blitzed a lot to compensate for it but oftentimes Cincy was able to counter with big gains on quick outside throws and/or running it right down our throats. Our front 7 needs to improve quickly or else it will be a lot like last year where we were close to last in rushing defense. We need to stack the box with 8-9 guys and play man on the corners. Our goal for each game should be to stop the run FIRST and force teams to try beat our strength — defending the pass.
OFFENSE:
There is much more to be concerned about here. There were a multitude of factors as to why we played so poorly, but there is one main factor that was painfully obvious: Our offensive line is not very good…yet. Their play was average at best. Because we couldn’t hold the line, the running game was stymied and we ending up being forced to pass more. Due to the pressure from Cincy, QB Dorian Thompson Robinson was under constant duress and oftentimes just chucked to ball too hard where he either underthrew or the ball just went threw the hands of our receivers. With time and experience, I’m confident that he will be able to make those throws with touch and better accuracy. It appears that with a first year backup at QB, Cincy’s decided to blitz a lot and our O-line didn’t seem like they knew exactly how to pick up Cincy’s different blitz packages (coaching). By the end of the game, Cincy was able to get pressure on DTR even without blitzing. They got to him with only 3 or 4 down linemen. That was the end.
FUTURE OUTLOOK:
I expect we play much better this week in spite of the increased quality of opponent. Hoping that Oklahoma overlooks us.
Prediction: Oklahoma 35  UCLA 24

NOTE:
This post was written by Uncle John. Uncle John is a diehard UCLA Football fan. He played wide receiver in high school and is a UCLA Alumnus.
Special thanks to Uncle John for contributing with this post.

 

Disclaimer: While we welcome and respect any and all points of view re: our beloved UCLA sports teams, editorial commentary by our fans are just that, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or perspectives of The Bruin Brigade or its affiliates.

 

UCLA Football’s Top 3 Impact Players for 2018: Darnay Holmes

15319328247343. Darnay Holmes (Defensive Back, Sophomore)

Darnay Holmes will quite possibly be one of UCLA’s most exciting players this season. He led the team with 3 interceptions as a true freshman. Holmes, who was a highly-touted 5-star recruit out of high school, is equipped with great instincts, lateral quickness, and rarely gets called for pass interference. He hopefully will improve upon his consistency as he gave up 185 yards and 2 TDs against Memphis WR and NFL 2nd-round selection Anthony Miller. However, Holmes can be credited for holding 2nd-round selection and former Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk (71 receptions, 919 yards, 10 TDs) to just 5 catches for 60 yards for 0 TDs which is extremely impressive for a true freshman as Kirk was widely considered a top-5 WR in the country. He also held USC’s playmaker WR Deontay Burnett (86 receptions 1,114 yards, 9 TDs) to 4 catches for 56 yards and 0 TDs so he has proven he is capable of keeping impact wide receivers in check.  Holmes’s starting experience (11 starts) will help on UCLA’s defense this season and will also continue as a dynamic return man on special teams. We can reasonably expect Holmes to grow into a lockdown cornerback through the season and solidify his status as one of UCLA’s best players.