After beating Colorado, the UCLA Football team is heading into a bye week, the perfect time to rest and re-evaluate the team.
The narrative all of last week was that the defense was atrocious. The UCLA Football coaches addressed this by reinstating tackling drills (among other things). It appears to have worked.
Before Saturday night’s game, UCLA gave up a total of 524.8 yards, 307.5 on the ground and 217.2 through the air. Against Colorado, they only allowed 434 (243 passing, 191 rushing). Mind you, the Buffaloes are not the most dynamic offensive team, but they did enough to keep the Bruins awake the entire game.
The defense also applied more pressure. They did not get a sack, but collectively worked for 7 tackles for a loss. UCLA also did a good job of keeping Colorado out of the end zone as they only gave up 23 points. This is only the second time this season UCLA allowed less than 45 points in a game.
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Whatever the defense was doing last week in practice, they need to keep at it as these next two weeks are perfect for making more adjustments.
It is also the perfect time to recover from injuries. Last night, CB Nate Meadors seemed to have picked up and unidentified injury as he left the game early. Freshman DE Jaelan Phillips once again did not play after injuring his ankle against Memphis. His return will be huge so hopefully he can get back in to action for the Bruins’ next game, October 14 at Arizona.
The Bruins will also need the time to evaluate TE Caleb Wilson who limped off the field in the 4th quarter, though this one is not looking very good and it is possible he will be out for an extended amount of time. If so, the Bruins lose a big weapon, one that was labeled the best TE in college football last week.
The Bruins can also evaluate the state of the offense, which has been good but still needs work. Against Colorado, the offensive line was spotty at times. An opponent once again was able to get pressure on Rosen and it worked as the junior quarterback had his worst performance of the season, which actually isn’t saying much since his numbers were still pretty good. He was 28/45 for 372 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
The run game has slowly been improving, but it also has a long way to go. The coaches seem set on one back and it is not Bolu Olorunfunmi, who seemingly locked up that spot at the start of the season. The coaches have started with Soso Jamabo the last two and gave him the majority of touches.
However the running game evolves, this is the right time to steer it in a positive direction. That can be said about every element of UCLA’s game at the moment and with that, I would not be surprised to see a more determined team come to play for their next contest.