[Note:  37 more photos at end of article]

Datone and the Defense are deadly at first, but valiant Prince and The Adjustment Brehaut adapt and survive, allowing the Bruin Offense to reap the rewards, as UCLA’s Fall Scrimmage makes fans less grim

It started out grim:  The Carl’s Jr. truck that was supposed to be at Drake Stadium feeding about 4000 Bruin fans got STUCK IN TRAFFIC, and did not show up at the UCLA Fall Scrimmage.  That was STRIKE ONE.  Then I found out that the UCLA Spirit Squad would not be performing at the event.  STRIKE TWO.  Was this going to be a day to forget?  Was it going to be a bad omen for a season with not enough yards gained and barely any points scored?

But instead of going down on strikes, everything suddenly took a turn for the better.  It all started when I spotted 5 members of the Spirit Squad, 4 girls and a guy, in uniform.  They weren’t there to perform — Instead, they were there to promote a brand new program:  The Junior UCLA Spirit Squad.  For the first time ever, KIDS from 6 to 14 can join a Cheerleading class, headed by Dance Teamer Tiana, and taught by UCLA Cheerleaders, and the kids will actually get to perform with them AT THE ROSE BOWL, during real games.  What a fantastic opportunity for Future Bruins!  I will have more details about the program in a separate article, coming very soon.

But the main point for today is that this effort brought 4 Cheer Girls to the event, and they were of course swarmed by fans who wanted them to pose for photos.  Lucky for you, I was there to capture some of these poses for you, and the FIRST SET of these photos are included below, with many more to come.

Since the new program is Tiana’s baby, Tiana was in attendance, and she got 4 volunteers to help her, including her Dance Team teammate Savannah (who was really doing most of the work distibuting the flyers and recruiting students).  In addition, Kayla, a returnee from the Cheer Squad was in attendance, along with brand new Cheer Squad member Kirsten.

You would think that I wouldn’t be satisfied with just four girls.  But these four girls were more than satisfying.  First of all, they were totally nice and friendly, down-to-earth, with no trojan “attitude” or ego at all.  But even if you forget their sweet personalities, they LOOKED amazing.  The newbie Kirsten is an adorable little blond from Miami, and yes, I made fun of her hometown ‘Canes, which she took good-naturedly, even though she has a family connection with the school.  She also already has a connection with the Bruin Football team, and his name is John Young, a Bruin Tight End.  Kirsten will continue the recent trend of raising the level of the Cheer Squad to that of the Dance Team.  And that trend started last year, with the introduction of Kayla and her class.  Kayla looks great once again this year, fit as a fiddle, obviously taking the training regimen seriously.

Savannah and Tiana look even BETTER than last year.  Savannah’s curls looked softer, longer, and sexier, and her face looked fantastic too.  I’m no expert, but I liked her make-up more than last year — Maybe a more natural look, with a more muted lipstick?  But I’m not sure — She may not have been wearing any at all — It’s not like she needs it.  I just thought she looked nicer, and more girl-next-door.  Which brings me to Tiana.  Again, I’m no beauty expert, but Tiana looks MUCH better this year (and that IS saying something).  I think her hair is longer, softer, and lighter.  And she seems to be exuding more confidence, with a year of experience under her belt, which means that her facial expressions are happier, more natural, and just more attractive.  Maybe I’m just imagining things, influenced by their sweetness.  But you can be the judge — There are lots of photos below.

After all the fun I had with the girls before the scrimmage started, I was in a good mood, ready for some Football.  In fact, all my rowdy friends were there.  The crowd was great for a team coming off a lackluster few years.  But I was worried that the Offense wouldn’t produce, and that the fans would get restless in a hurry.

And for the first 10 minutes or so, my worries were becoming reality.  Datone Jones was unstoppable, and disrupted Kevin Prince’s 1st String Offense.  The 1st String Defense definitely had the upper hand (even without leading tackler Tony Dye), as Sean Westgate made tackle after drive-stopping tackle.  Prince was missing his Receivers, and the Receivers weren’t catching them when he did get it there.

Richard Brehaut and the 2nd String Offense had a little better luck, putting together a drive against the 2nd String Defense, but couldn’t finish it off with a TD.  Then Prince came back in, and struggled again.  It was not looking like the post-Chow era was going to be an improvement.

But then things changed.  Brehaut hit a few passes, and it opened up the running game.  Derrick Coleman got his motor running, and started plowing through the Defense, carrying tacklers past the first down markers.  Coleman muscled the ball all the way down to the goalline, and Anthony Barr took it over for the first TD.

Then it was Prince’s turn.  He hit Tight End Joseph Fauria for a deep gain (That Crespi pair just missed on another long connection on the first drive), then used his legs to add another Touchdown.

After that, both QB’s hit some passes to convert 3rd downs, and the Offense was able to sustain drives.  Even back-up QB’s Nick Crissman and Darius Bell hit a few medium-range passes to move the chains.  Receiver Shaq Evans caught a few balls, Jerry Rice jr. grabbed a couple, and Josh Smith caught a nice one too.  Back-ups Devin Lucien and Logan Sweet also got into the act.

The Running Backs all seemed to be able to find some gaps, until Steven Manfro came in and found the going a little tougher, but the first two sets of Linemen seemed to have success at Run Blocking (continuing last year’s trend).

On Defense, a few reserves got their names called repeatedly, for making good plays, including Ryan Medina, Librado Barocio, Aramide Olaniyan, Roosevelt Davis, and Tre Hale, who had the loudest contigent rooting for him in the stands.  The one big Interception was against Crissman, and was made by Todd Golper, who returned it all the way down the field until being run down just short of the goalline by Manfro.

The Defense looks good, and will be even better when Tony Dye returns.  But the Offense showed the ability to persevere and ADJUST, in order to find some things that worked, and utilize them to gain yards, and to put points on the board.  That didn’t happen too often last year.

Special Teams is still a work in progress, with a missed PAT and a missed 30-yard Field Goal, and Jordon James let a punt bounce over his head, but they also MADE a 47-yard Field Goal, got off a beautiful punt, and had a few decent Kickoff Returns.  Special Teams will be an adventure, but there may be more highs than lows.

And that may also describe the whole season.  Don’t expect consistency, but don’t expect the Bruins to roll over when they are struggling.  Instead, expect them to bounce back, and attack, always finding ways to get it done.

Below are 40 photos from the Scrimmage, autograph session, and Cheerleader posing session.  Click on them to enlarge them, and come back soon for many more, soon to be posted.



3 responses to “THE SCRIM REAPER”

  1. SMS Avatar

    Oh my gosh! The pictures just get better and better! Thank you!

  2. Joshua Avatar

    Savannah is super cute!

  3. jp Avatar

    yeah, tianna and savannah look even better than last year.

    i’m dying to see the complete squad with the new members