Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Bruins search for answers after tough loss
By Peter Yoon
LOS ANGELES -- A loss such as the UCLA Bruins' 43-17 beatdown by California last week tends to create a lot of questions.
What went wrong? How can it be fixed? Does there need to be a change in personnel?
The answers to the first two are generally found by a review of the game film. It's the third one that requires a little deeper thought.
The general consensus is that UCLA's biggest breakdowns came on the offensive line and in the secondary, and coach Jim Mora said those are the two most difficult positions in which to make personnel changes.
"Positions that depend on real cohesiveness like the offensive line or the secondary is pretty difficult," Mora said. "Probably the offensive line is the most difficult. The other positions you can kind of plug guys in and get through it. Offensive line is tough."
For that reason, the Bruins will stick with their offensive line for Saturday's game against Utah, even though the Bruins gave up five sacks and left tackle Torian White was pulled during the game against Cal.
The line includes three freshmen and a sophomore and offensive line coach Adrian Klemm says he wants to keep his young line intact to see if it can continue to develop. He said he won't make any rash decisions based on one poor showing.
"These guys are who we are rolling with," Klemm said. "This is it. We let them know that no one is going to save you. We're one deep. You better get it right or you are going to embarrass yourself."
The fact that the Bruins have very few other linemen with any experience is clearly a factor because replacing the current linemen with inexperienced players would be akin to starting over.
Greg Capella, one of the few reserves who has experience, has missed the last three games because of a concussion. Alberto Cid and Brett Downey also have experience, but the coaching staff said it's too early to disrupt the developing chemistry.
"There has to be a move to make, first of all, you know what I mean?" Mora said. "We're playing with the five guys that give us the best chance to be successful as we see it so we're going to stick with those guys and keep working hard to get them better and playing as one."
The secondary is pretty much in the same boat. Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price, both seniors, have each had rough patches this season, but Price is a four-year starter and Hester is in his third year as a starter. Replacing them would probably mean moving a true freshman such as Randall Goforth, Fabian Moreau or Marcus Rios into a starting role. An injury to Ishmael Adams, perhaps the top freshman defensive back this season, makes it an even more difficult decision.
The UCLA coaches have not been shy about using true freshman but must decide if they want to endure the growing pains sure to come with such a move or if they want to give the veterans a little more rope and hope they'll pull themselves out of their slumps.
"We need to play with more consistency and we need to help them at times with some adjustments that I am responsible for making," Mora said of the cornerback play at Cal. "We got a little sloppy at times and we've got to eliminate that. I saw them both playing hard and I saw then fighting and I saw them working. We just had a tough night."