If you’ve already forgotten, let me remind you: UCLA lost to Oregon State 27-20 on Saturday.
God, this sucks.
Usually with these posts, we give you an adjective in the title to give you a taste of how good (or bad) the grades are for the defense (something like “grading the amazing Bruins defense”). This time? We don’t know what to think of the squad. At times, the unit was easily the best aspect of this team and, at others, it was downright maddening and ineffective.
Of course, certain parts of the defense were consistent, be it consistently great or awful. Here are the grades for the defense against OSU.
Defensive Line: B+
The defensive line has proven to be the best unit of the defense, if not the entire squad. Although Sean Mannion had a solid day, passing-wise, he was under pressure quite a bit, and was sacked a total of five times, a feat that would not have been accomplished had the D-line didn’t bully the Oregon State defense the way it did.
It wasn’t a dominant performance, though, because Mannion wasn’t exactly rattled consistently and he was still able to get off his two touchdown passes and 380 passing yards. But the ground game was, for the most part, well … grounded.
The line was aggressive and forced numerous 3-and-outs, too. Of course, they had their fair share of dumb moments, but nothing egregious. Overall, the unit did its job.
What we can say about the defensive line, we can say about the linebackers, if not with a bit more positivity and praise.
Because these aggressive linebackers did what they were supposed to, aiding the line in getting pressure in the OSU backfield and doing what it can to stop big gains from short passes. There weren’t very many yards after the catch in the underneath game, and the linebackers tackled well. Of course, their coverage was spotty and while we can’t entirely fault them for that, they did play a part in their own demise.
Overall, though, the unit was solid, and the star was — again — Anthony Barr, who has been a pleasant surprise.
That’s about as much as I can say about the secondary, which thoroughly had its ass handed to it by Oregon State’s wide-outs, and particularly, Markus Wheaton, who exploded for nine catches and 150 yards. Meanwhile, though, Brandin Cooks nabbed 175 yards off of six catches. Both dudes earned a touchdown reception.
And those numbers can’t tell the half of it. Watching Sheldon Price screw himself constantly was painful, and he got torched every which way by the Oregon State wide-outs. This is a far cry from the praise he received for locking down A.J. Jenkins in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in 2011.
Of course, we knew the secondary would be bad. But this bad? 379 yards through the air, damn near all of them on deep balls?
It’s awful, and we hope this squad gets its shit together, otherwise, UCLA is done.