The UCLA football team showed that they have some fight, fight, fight in them, but they need to be aware of the fact that they will hit more bumps in the road (and so must the pessimistic fans).
Last week, the UCLA football team put up the most points, passing yards, total yards and average yards per rush in a game this season. Add to the fact that it came against one of the toughest defenses in the nation and you can claim this as a “moral victory” (though many do not want to).
UCLA showed many positives in the game against Washington that both fans and critics took notice of. Washington is a perennial playoff team and yet, the Bruins made the game look like a battle between Top 25 ranked teams.
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Because of this, we should expect UCLA to continue to improve, but we should also expect them to make mistakes. This group is still utilizing a lot of young players that are new to the team, both freshmen and transfers. Even the experienced players are new to this system, so it will continue to take time to get off the ground.
So with that in mind, do not expect UCLA to have everything perfectly planned out or to have perfect execution. That will not happen. The progress they made against the Huskies will help them solidify their foundation, but it is still a work in progress.
We cannot ignore what happened against Cincinnati, Fresno State and the second half against Colorado. UCLA made some big mistakes in those games, across the board, and they will continue to do so. But here is the thing, the further along they go they will correct those mistakes, it just won’t happen overnight.
UCLA is heading into an “easy” stretch of their schedule (in reality, there is no easy stretch) as they take on California and Arizona. The Bruins should be able to make even more progress, but they will run into trouble with both the Bears and Wildcats. But then it gets even harder after that.
The Bruins will then face Utah, Oregon, Arizona State, USC, and Stanford. That is not an ideal situation for a team looking to make improvements, especially if the Bruins are still trying to get their first win. Just because Cal and Arizona are not known as elite teams, does not mean they will be pushovers. It is still possible that UCLA goes 0-12 and if they do, hopefully, they make enough progress in the remaining games to be competitive for 2019.
For now, UCLA (and their fans) should not put anything into their record. There is nothing to play for right now except for maybe progress and the Victory Bell. This is setting up for the future, which should be a lot brighter.
As much as I would like to see UCLA pull out several solid wins this season, I would gladly consume that pain if it means the Bruins are contenders in the next few seasons. Go Bruins!