Bear and Loving In Las Vegas: A Journey to the Desert to Watch UCLA Football


It is now time for UCLA Football to move on to their next opponent, UNLV. For fans, it is now time to Rock and Roll.

Didn’t we just do this? UCLA Football getting work done in the desert? Fall camp in San Bernardino, regular season game in Las Vegas. It is like Head Coach Jim Mora has a plan or something.

Yes, the Bruins are heading back to the desert, but this time they are going deep. Deep into that dry portion of the U.S. know as the American Southwest where a majority of the country does not live. And why? It is hot. But so are the Bruins.

Big, Bad Bruins

September 5, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This year, things look to have a special vibe to it, especially with true freshman QB Josh Rosen leading the Bruins into battle.

And what about that? What is going to happen in Rosen’s follow up to his 351 yard, 3 touchdown performance? Well considering the UCLA Football coaching staff wanted to see what Rosen could do in actual game situations (against Virginia), I wonder if they are going to open the offense up a bit more. Not that 351 yards was a disappointment. Certainly not. In fact, it might have given us a look into the future of what Rosen will bestow upon us.

So does that mean Rosen will top last week’s performance? Yes.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

First off, the coaches know more than they did on Saturday morning before the game about what Rosen can do. What they did not know is how cool under pressure he would be. That could only have been seen playing in a game, so I can imagine that they get a little bit creative, though roughly stick with the same plan of attack.

Secondly, UNLV does not seem to have the caliber of player Virginia does, which means the Bruins could sling the ball around a bit more.

Third, people are going to want to see Rosen’s follow-up performance, so what is an 18-year old QB suppose to do? Give the people what they want, I guess.

Don’t Get Defensive About Injuries

Needless to say, I am confident in the offense. It is the defense that has my face in my hands. Not for anything they did, but because one player is out.

Eddie Vanderdoes. He tore his ACL and is done for 2015. He was one of three dominating D-linemen on a defense that was clicking in stopping the rush. It is all one unit, thusly connected to every piece. That is what hurts the most – the potential upsetting of chemistry.

Nov 8, 2014; Austin, TX, USA; (Editors note: Caption correction) West Virginia Mountaineers senior associate head coach Tom Bradley prior to kickoff against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Still, what is Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley going to do without EV? You can pretty much count on Kenny Clark to take on a bigger role. As for the back-ups, whether it is Eli Ankou, Matt Dickerson or Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, these players need to, at the very least, hit their assignments.

Until they get comfortable in their role they need to do what Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure needs them to do, mostly to allow Clark to clog the middle and Takkarist McKinley come off the opposite edge.

Trust in Mora and staff, they will know how to remedy this situation. It is just a bad blow with Vanderdoes right now.

Vegas, Baby!

More from UCLA Bruins Football

Now what about UNLV? This is interesting. Though the UCLA Football team has never played a FCS school, UNLV could be the closest to it. Okay, that may be a bit harsh to a Rebel team in transition. They have a new head coach, Tony Sanchez, who coached high school last season. A good prep coach now has the reigns of a Division I football program. Good for change, bad for timing.

With UNLV trying to find an identity, UCLA is trying to pump theirs up. The Bruins could very well do that this weekend as UCLA Football is expected to make some noise in the desert. Las Vegas has the Bruins as 28 point favorites as of Monday night. So that sounds fun.

And how about having fun? Bruin fans from all over get an excuse to descend upon Sin City. When will they get another chance like this to go to Vegas and cheer on their Bruins?

That is another thing… why did UNLV adopt the “Rebel”?

Okay, yes, the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament in March, but when will this happen again for football? Not for a while so if you are heading out there, enjoy yourselves. I would recommend taking in a show but if you are a UCLA fan in Vegas this weekend, chances are you will see the show… out at Sam Boyd Stadium where the UCLA Football team will be taking on the UNLV Rebels.

That is another thing… why did UNLV adopt the “Rebel”? Nevada was never in the Confederacy. Far from it. Nevada had become a state in 1864 only months before the Confederacy lost the Civil War. Add to that the fact that Las Vegas was not founded until 1905. Weird, right?

Anyway, take care and Go Bruins!

Next: The Virginia vs UCLA Football Report Card

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