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Sunday, August 17, 2008
UCLA musings: Punt Bruins, punt

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

LOS ANGELES -- Some more thoughts from UCLA's Saturday evening scrimmage.

Know just about every reporter on hand beat up on the offense, and it was hard not to. But here are two critical things: 1. The defense is good. 2. Punter Aaron Perez owns a big foot (see the monstrous 58-yard boot he launched into the stratosphere on his first punt).

That's a great combination to have because it means a team can focus on the field position game and not take stupid chances on offense.

And if the defense can force a few extra turnovers while winning the field position battle of attrition that can mean short fields for the offense -- and probably a lot of 40-plus-yard field goal attempts from kicker Kai Forbath.

I remember watching Washington State punter Kyle Basler earn Holiday Bowl MVP honors in the Cougars 28-20 win over Texas. Basler killed five of his seven punts inside the Texas 15, including four inside the 5. The Cougs wouldn't have won without him.

The point: A good defense and good punter can keep a team with an anemic offense in a lot of games.