Wave hello to some way-gnarley shredding from the 2010 U.S. Open of Surfing, after you surf through a quick Q & A about UCLA Football 2010
Dude! The prestigious U.S. Open of Surfing is taking place right now in Huntington Beach. The Nation’s best surfers will be competing in the Orange County beach town also known as Surf City, USA all the way through this coming weekend.
The Open will be host to several concerts, including Weezer, a festival, and more bikini-clad girls than you have ever seen in your life in one place at one time. Perhaps surfing still outranks Beach Volleyball in Surf City. I may not be a devotee of the Sport of Pro Surfing, but for some reason, I still had a great time at the event…
Unfortunately for you, I am going to post only the SURFING photos. The rest may not be appropriate for this website. For one thing, there is the issue of implied consent, as I have with the UCLA Spirit Squad. E-mail me for further bikini info.
And speaking of UCLA, the operator of another website contacted me yesterday, requesting some information on the upcoming UCLA Football Season, for a compendium he was putting together on his site. He sent me a list of specific questions, and I quickly jotted down my answers.
There are no big, new revelations here — You hardcore Bruin Football fans will file it all under “Duh” — but keep in mind it was written for people who are completely unfamiliar with UCLA. And don’t freak out over the less-than-optimistic prediction — I just was trying to be overly “objective” for his readers.
Please enjoy this shallow breakdown, followed by 20 Surfing photos from the shallow end of the Pacific, taken this past weekend.
By the way, the other day, I wrote about a fellow Bruin die-hard who was organizing a couple of Beach Clean-Ups, in Bolsa Chica and Redondo [For details, please e-mail: WLEE@lockton.com.] But talk about “cleaning up” at the Beach, the winner of the U.S. Open of Surfing will ride away with $100,000. That’s a lot of Sex Wax.
Here is the list of questions about UCLA Football 2010, followed by a list of answers, and 20 Surf photos.
What are the biggest strengths and biggest weaknesses of the Bruins this year?
UCLA has an early game against Texas. What do you hope to learn about UCLA in this game and what do you view as a successful outing?
Besides playing Texas out of conference, UCLA also has games with Kansas State and Houston. How do you feel the Bruins match up with these teams?
What team on the schedule do you want to beat the most?
Who is the best player on your team that nobody talks about?
Who is the best player on the team?
What player(s) needs to step up this year in order for the team to reach its full capability?
Who is the top newcomer that can make an impact this year?
Who is your pick to take the Pac-10 this year (you can’t pick UCLA) and are there any teams flying under the radar that might be able to make a run at the Pac-10 championship?
Who is the one player on an opposing team that strikes the most fear in your heart?
Gut feeling on the team’s final record at the end of the regular season and what makes this a successful season in your eyes?
UCLA 2010 FOOTBALL PREVIEW
Weaknesses and Strengths: Let’s start with the most obvious weakness – the Offensive Line. As it has been for a few years now, the depth, and level of experience, of the OL is still weak, even by Pac-10 standards. Due to a Mormon Mission, a career-ending injury, and an academic casualty, the Bruins are already down to what basically should have been their Second String Line. Partially to compensate for this glaring weakness, the Bruins are changing to a different style Offense, called the “Revolver,” which adds more misdirection and QB Keepers, to keep the Defense from being able to so easily exploit their control of the trenches.
This brings us to the Bruins’ STRENGTH – Unparalleled Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow. Despite two years of horrendous results (due to lack of talent), Chow is still nationally respected. He now has more athleticism at the skill positions, so the Bruins will score more than in the recent past, despite a particularly tough schedule this season. The treacherous schedule could actually be considered another “weakness.”
Having the Country’s Best Offensive Coordinator – who hasn’t gotten it done for the last two years – may not seem like much of a strength, but the next choice was going to be “Best Home Uniforms.” Actually, the other undeniable strength this year is the Kicking Game. Reigning Lou Groza winner Kai Forbath returns, and will re-write the Record Book at UCLA, and maybe at the NCAA as well. He led the Nation in Field Goals last year, and has made 37 straight inside 50 yards. Punter Jeff Locke, a Ray Guy nominee, and All-American Long Snapper Christian Yount round out the #1 Kicking Game in the Country.
Of course, if Chow’s Offense improves as expected, a lot of the Punts and Field Goals will be replaced by Touchdowns.
The game at Texas: Hopefully, the Longhorns will have long forgotten the 66-3 thrashing from several years ago, and NOT return the favor. The Bruins will be playing in only their second road game, and fourth game of the season, with a new Offense. Hopefully, the Bruins will be able to overcome the superior physicality, and shorten the game with unpredictably innovative playcalling. If they are still in the game in the 4th quarter, they will be able to come home without hanging their heads. HOWEVER, a “successful outing” means a VICTORY. There is no such thing as a “successful loss” in a non-exhibition game.
What we will learn about UCLA is how they handle noise, pressure, and adversity. If the Bruins fall behind early, will they be able to switch away from a Rushing Offense, to air it out, in an attempt to come back? Or will the Coaching Staff stay conservative, and continue to shorten the game, just to avoid a 66-3-type game? And will the players run out of gas physically, in the Texas heat? And what about emotionally? Will they pack it in if they go down by three TD’s on the Road?
Other OOC Games: Kansas State is the first game with the new Offense, and it’s on the Road. There are going to be bugs to work out of the system, and it might look ugly for a while. Houston is the third game of the year, and it’s at the Rose Bowl, where the Bruins perennially perform markedly better. The Revolver should be functional by then, and it will have to be, to keep up with Houston’s high-powered offense. UCLA is considered to be in the same ballpark as KSU and Houston in terms of overall talent, so it will come down to Execution, Motivation, and Home Field Advantage.
Who I want to beat the most: Is this a trick question? Here at BeatSC.com, and in a vast majority of the Bruin World, BEATING U$C is ALL that matters. The trOJans are so arrogant, even in the face of their recently-received NCAA sanctions, that it is imperative for UCLA to win the annual battle of the crosstown rivals. The Bruins have only ONE archrival, and it is usc.
And now that the sleazy Lane Kiffin is the Head Coach, a lot of people around the Country – especially in Tennessee – will be rooting for the Bruins too.
By the way: At last check, usc still honors double-murderer O.J. Simpson with a giant jersey, in the Coliseum, and as far as the sanctions, they still insist that they did nothing wrong. Such low class and denial needs to be dealt with, on the field.
Best Player no one talks about: Defensive End Datone Jones, who, this Season, should triple his last year Sack total of 4. Also, honorable mentions to D-Back Tony Dye, who has been solid but not spectacular; and Sean Westgate, who has made some huge heads-up plays, but will now be asked to fill a much bigger role.
Best Player: Does Kai Forbath count? In terms of being the Best at what he does, Forbath can’t be topped. But for those of you who don’t think Kickers are really Players, Akeem Ayers might be the Man. Ayers had 6 Sacks and made 75 tackles last season as a Sophomore, and became much talked-about, after making two super-athletic, leaping Interceptions.
The other choice would be Junior Safety Rahim Moore, who led the NCAA last Season with 10 Interceptions. That total was the highest in the Country IN SIX YEARS. Opposing Quarterbacks will be throwing AWAY from Moore all year. Hopefully, that won’t lead to a decline in his production, as it did for usc’s Taylor Mays.
I am not picking anyone from the Offense, as no one has truly PROVEN their greatness on the field, yet.
Who has to step up: The entire Offensive Line. The Bruins can’t score, hold onto the ball, or shorten games against superior opposition, if they can’t BLOCK. The Revolver is designed to maximize production based on not dominating the front line, but if the undermanned and outsized Bruin OL doesn’t know their assignments thoroughly, the Offense will not be able to sustain a drive.
If the OL steps up, then it will be up to Quarterback Kevin Prince. He will have to show unfailing leadership, as well as a mastery of the Revolver. He has some raw talent and is tough as nails, but it is his toughness that may be his curse. The Revolver is likely to see Prince running the ball a lot, and if he doesn’t learn how to AVOID a straight-on, bone-bruising hit, he won’t last the Season.
Top Newcomers: The Bruins have several heralded Freshmen who are expected to contribute immediately, including three who probably envision themselves as the team’s leading rusher this year – Jordon James, Malcolm Jones, and Anthony Barr. But better bets to have immediate impact are two TRANSFERS – Wide Receiver Josh Smith from Colorado, and Tight End Joseph Fauria from Notre Dame. Smith, assuming his knee is healthy in the Fall, could be a game-breaker, as his Buffalo numbers suggest. In his seasons at CU, he had 52 Receptions, and big Return stats as well. Fauria is an imposing specimen, and an intelligent player, who has a history with Kevin Prince, and could turn out to be Prince’s favorite target this year.
Who will win the Pac-10, if not UCLA: One thing’s for sure – usc will not be representing the Conference in the Postseason this year. Even with all the defections, Lane Kiffin — a mediocre Head Coach at best — still has more talent on his roster than anyone else. But usc’s ban leaves Oregon in the driver’s seat to play in the Rose Bowl Game, even without dynamic stoner QB Jeremiah Masoli. The Ducks seemed like the Class of the Pac-10 last season.
If Oregon falters, or if much more of their roster gets arrested or suspended, that would leave the door open for Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford Cardinal, as well as for Washington and Oregon State.
Opposing Player who strikes fear: The Huskies’ QB Jake Locker is a Cade McNown-type, who has a will to win, and can lift his team to victories against superior opponents. Stanford’s Quarterback Andrew Luck is also a difference-maker. Finally, the Rodgers Brothers are a one-two punch that will give the Beavers a damn good shot at the Pac-10 Title.
Record, and what would be a “success”: Given the slightly tougher-than-usual schedule and the troubling personnel issues, a WINNING RECORD and a Bowl Victory is what I expect. It would constitute a decent Season, AS LONG AS ONE OF THE “W’s” IS AGAINST U$C. There is no such thing as a “successful” season, if it includes a loss to the hated rival. In 2005, the Bruins won 10 games but lost to sc, badly. That year is NOT a fond memory, overall. However, in ’06, the Bruins had a lackluster record, but BEAT $C 13-9, knocking them out of the BCS Title Game. Now THAT is a good year.