Dedicated to the HATRED of all things trOJan


Thanks for dropping by — UCLA gives away another game, thanks to a muffed punt, several dropped passes, a pass intercepted in the end zone, a sack-fumble, a punt-return TD, countless missed tackles, and 11 times more penalties than Oregon, in a 42-21 loss to the Ducks

Welcome to the Drop Zone.

How can an Elite Coach have a team that looks so poorly-coached, in WEEK NINE?  I know they are young, I know they are inexperienced, I know they are learning a new system, and I know they are overmatched in a hostile environment.  But none of that excuses the repeated dropped passes, stupid penalties, muffs, and shoddy tackling, that is all becoming a trademark of this 2018 UCLA Football Team.  The only question is, who is the Poster Boy for this den of inexplicable incompetence?

Is it Adarius Pickett, who proved last year what a great player he can be, tallying multiple INT’s, and who even in THIS game, made a fantastic, drive-stopping hit on a Duck?  Well, it is Pickett that has MUFFED a punt in consecutive games, losing both of them for Turnovers.  Or, is is Demetric Felton, who has shown flashes of brilliance, and who consistently uses his impressive foot-speed to get wide open on passing routes, only to DROP a crucial ball almost every week?  I’d hate to say that it’s Tight End Caleb Wilson, who has been one of the most productive Offensive players on the team, and who scored on a 63-yard pass play tonight, but Caleb has also dropped several catchable balls this month that have cost the Bruins enormously.

Maybe the Poster Boy should be the whole Special Teams, who gave up a Punt Return right up the middle for a 56-yard TD, gave up a near-TD on a Fake FG (because of a BAD missed tackle), missed a Field Goal after a False Start put them just a hair out of range, kept fair-catching Kickoffs when there was room to run, and of course, the muffed punt.  They did convert a First Down on a Fake Punt, but that was not enough to make up for all their mistakes.

You could even cast a vote for QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who is the reputed FUTURE of the Bruins.  Talk about flashes of brilliance — this young Freshman Quarterback has done some amazing things in Blue and Gold, tonight turning a sure sack into a beautiful long gainer, not to mention finding Wilson on that 63-yard TD strike.  But DTR also threw a terrible pass into the end zone that was Intercepted, and he also coughed up the ball on a Sack.  These two miscues were as costly as any of the Bruin screw-ups, as Oregon got up 21-0, and never led by less than 14 on their way to a 42-21 triumph.

OK, so UCLA got beat by a better team, in one of the loudest opponent stadiums in the Country.  They were double-digit underdogs coming in, and Oregon was fired up after consecutive losses and the opportunity to play against their old coach.  Their QB-WR tandem is probably the best in the Pac-12, and that combo combined for 156 yards and 2 TD’s all by themselves.  So no shame in losing in Eugene.  But it is sure frustrating, when you BEAT THE OTHER TEAM in Total Offense, First Downs, Total Rushing Yards Gained, Total Passing Yards Gained, and Time of Possession, and still get doubled up to lose by three touchdowns!

It doesn’t help when your team is so undisciplined that they commit ELEVEN TIMES more penalties than their opponent.  UCLA got flagged 11 times for 64 yards, compared to the Ducks 1-for-15.  The Bruin players weren’t the only ones at fault.  Chip Kelley and his staff have to be called out for game management.  They started out trying to establish the Passing Game.  Was it to open up the Defense for the Running Game?  If so, it worked, because Running Back Joshua Kelley had an awesome game. going 26-for-161, with a 25-yard TD run.  He also caught 6 passes for another 32 yards.With Kelley averaging over 6 yards a carry, it’s troubling that Coach Kelly couldn’t parlay that into more than just 3 scores all game.

And why keep putting so much trust into Receivers with the dropsies, when you have sure-handed Theo Howard?  Howard pulled down 5 passes for 69 yards and an 11-yard TD from Wilson Speight (who replaced an injured DTR).  Maybe he should have been targeted more, in order to diminish all the drops?  I can’t claim THAT with much fervor, since you have to throw to the open man, even if it’s Felton.  But, what happened to WR Chase Cota?  He looked like he could catch.  Maybe he is not healthy?  Maybe he hasn’t been impressing in practice?  He didn’t catch a ball tonight.  I wonder how many drops before someone starts getting some of Felton’s targets.  I mean, they stopped letting Pickett field punts, after just his second muff.

Anyway — KUDOS to the Offensive Line and Joshua Kelley, for continuing to improve, and to actually have the Bruins become a FORCE in the Running Game.  That bodes well for the future.  I know they are trying to protect DTR health-wise, but if this were my team, I’d be using him as the true DUAL-THREAT that he is.  My Offense would look like the one Kelly ran when he had Mariota, ETC, when Defensive players never knew who had the ball, and if it wasn’t LaGarrette Blount/LaMichael James/Kenjon Barner/DeAnthony Thomas with the ball, it was the QB, running in the opposite direction of all the defenders, into WIDE OPEN space.

DTR’s passing touch isn’t quite yet where it needs to be, so I’d rather see him running for first downs more often, with misdirection befuddling the Defense.  If he does get hurt, we have Speight ready to go, and there is not much of a drop-off there, as indicated by Speight being named the Starter at the beginning of the season.  U$c has for years been more vulnerable when facing an athletic dual-threat QB like Vince Young or Brett Hundley, so DTR and his legs may be the Bruins’ best bet to salvage this season with an unlikely but not impossible victory over the 4-loss trojans.

Speaking of salvaging the season, my year of attending these (mostly) losses is already apparent:  Here are 28 more examples of what I mean…

"MUFF ‘N DROPS" was published on November 4th, 2018 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos.

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