UCLA Football: Sobering loss to Memphis prepares UCLA for tough Pac-12 schedule


UCLA Football suffered a tough loss in Memphis last week, but there is no time to despair.  With lessons learned (hopefully), UCLA faces Stanford in the immediate aftermath as one of the nations toughest schedules looms. In the end, we may find that the Memphis loss was just a hiccup in the Grand Scheme.

Hey UCLA Football fans. You guys ok? Still smarting from that loss to Memphis?  Well, check this out: we play Stanford this Saturday.

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So… whether fan or more importantly, a player, we have to figure out what we know about ourselves and prepare for a 9-game gauntlet, better known as a Pacific 12 Conference Football Schedule. It’s time to dust ourselves off, because we gotta GO!!!

Take A Deep Breath

Ok. After the thrilling 34-point comeback win versus Texas A&M in the first game of the season and playing near-perfect offensive ball against Hawaii in Game 2, UCLA losing to Memphis in that fashion last Saturday kind of felt like the ride was over, but you can’t really say that after 3 games, not unless you are the NY Jets!  If the destination was the College Football Playoffs, then we were actually on the wrong ride. It’s a result of extreme myopia- dont feel bad, I am patient Zero!

With nothing but a 4-8 record and a broken quarterback to show for the 2016 season, UCLA began this 2017 season unheralded and with numerous questions like:  Will Rosen bounce back from injury and show us something in this “contract year”?  How hot is Jim Mora’s seat?  Can the defense handle losing key players to the NFL?

Well, Josh Rosen and his teammates have given us some good, but not complete answers to these questions during the first 3 games of the season. Now, although the loss to Memphis stings and revealed a lot, we have 3/4 of a season remaining, which amounts to 9 glorious opportunities to improve and show the world what they don’t know about the UCLA Football team!

We know that Josh Rosen is completely healed from his injury and is slinging the football around like a Heisman contender. We also know that Jedd Fisch was the perfect choice to coordinate the UCLA offense and coach up Rosen. Together they have produced one of the most, if not the most prolific, offensive team in the first quarter of the the 2017 season. We also know that Jim Mora’s seat may be warm, but no one is really talking about it right now, so let’s stay in the moment, all season long! That’s the focus needed, both for the team performing on the field as well as the long suffering UCLA fanbase.

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The truly unknown entity, the elephant it the room, is the UCLA defensive unit. We’ve known since the first game, that the defense is having trouble containing, let alone stopping the run. We also know that against a talented squad, an SEC team, and with their backs against the wall, a healthy UCLA defense can ball up like a fist and give up nothing! Against Texas A&M, giving up just another field goal, after giving up 44 points like a damaged sieve in the first 3 1/2 quarters, would have made a UCLA comeback impossible, but they gave up absolutely nothing!

Rosen was under a lot of pressure, both during the game and with the weight of all UCLA Football fans’ expectations and dreams on his shoulders.

Yes, they had to go completely man to man in passing defense in order to apply pressure on a true freshman quarterback, but they did it!  That was not the same defense that lost last week in Memphis.

That defense was minus Josh Woods for the first half, and lost players like Jaleel Wadood, Kenny Young, Adarius Pickett and Boss Tagaloa to injury during the first two games. The defense must be allowed to get healthy and just get comfortable playing with one another. These guys are talented. They can and will get things right. Top 10 defense? Probably not. But they have 9 games to prove that they are better than displayed.

Let’s Go!

I know it was a terrible feeling once you realized that Rosen and the Bruins would not make a dramatic, exciting comeback against Memphis last week. Rosen was under a lot of pressure, both during the game and with the weight of all UCLA Football fans’ expectations and dreams on his shoulders.

We, as fans, must not forget the horror of last year’s  4-8 season and remember to gain strength from the knowledge that as long as Josh Rosen is behind center, we have a shot.  And the defense? Well, a healthy defense will learn and grow stronger with each game that passes. So as you watch UCLA battle against Stanford this Saturday, don’t forget to enjoy the game. Beginning with Stanford, the Bruins face the toughest Pac-12 schedule in the conference.

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Our remaining home games are with Colorado, Oregon, Arizona State (Rosen’s Revenge) and Cal. And of course the Bruins remaining away schedule consisting of Stanford, Arizona, Washington, Utah and USC is in my estimation the most difficult schedule in all the land, not just the Pac-12 Conference. So buckle up Bruins fans, these 2017 UCLA Bruins are going to be a lot of fun to watch in the coming months. Yo, We Gotta Go!!