Tackling the issue (Umm, Part 2), and more

A day after UCLA’s 29-21 loss to No. 15 Arizona at the Rose Bowl, head coach Rick Neuheisel was still lamenting the team’s poor tackling.
The Wildcats totaled 583 yards on Saturday, including 374 in the first half against a Bruin defense that had trouble taking players to the ground.
“You can’t just get an arm on them and let them spin out and then make a play,” Neuheisel said. “I give their quarterback (Matt) Scott a lot of credit. I mean, he spun out and made some plays down the field, some really pivotal plays.”
Scott had 390 total yards, including 319 yards passing and a 41-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Juron Criner.
Scott was at his best on the move, even when the Bruins had him pinned down.
“The second touchdown drive after the score was 7-7, it’s third down and three and we’ve got a sack, Sean Westgate has got him sacked,” Neuheisel said. “It’s going to be a six, seven-yard loss and they’re going to punt or kick a long field goal. But he spins out and gets it all the way up to 1-yard, they go for it on fourth and 1 and they make it. That’s a huge play.”

Filthy again?
The UCLA offensive line, much-maligned after consecutive losses to Cal and Oregon, performed admirably against Arizona.
After allowing just two sacks, it did not go unnoticed, particularly as the defense faced one of the top defenses in they country in the Wildcats.
”I thought the offensive line played pretty well,” Neuheisel said. “They were a little less aggressive because of the Pistol, so that played into it a little bit. The ends stayed pretty much on the line of scrimmage, but I thought our offensive line graded out pretty well.”

Bumps and Bruises
Neuheisel got the official word on sophomore wide receiver Jerry Johnson and sophomore f-back Jerry Johnson, and it isn’t good.
Both are out for the season after UCLA’s 29-21 loss to Arizona at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, Thigpen suffering a broken clavicle, and Johnson breaking his ankle. Thigpen has already had surgery, and Johnson is waiting on a second opinion to determine if he needs surgery.
Junior middle linebacker Steve Sloan, who became starter because of the loss of sophomore Patrick Larimore (shoulder) last week, strained a hamstring and is questionable for next week’s matchup with Oregon State.
That leaves UCLA with only freshman Jordan Zumwalt in the middle, with scout-team linebackers Isaiah Bowens and Mike Schmitt backing him up.

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UCLA v. Arizona Report Card

RESULT: No. 15 Arizona 29, UCLA 21
RECORD: 3-5
WEEK 8 GPA: C-

QUARTERBACK
Richard Brehaut sure delivers a pretty pass, but lacks in other facets of game. Still, improvement noticed.
B-

RUNNING BACKS
Can’t UCLA have its cake and eat it too? Passing game makes strides, running game backtracks with just 71 yards.
D

WIDE RECEIVERS
Alas, the speed is used! UCLA joins the 21st century this season with a downfield passing game.
B+

OFFENSIVE LINE
Pass protection was much improved, but zero traction in the running game. Lacked cohesiveness on the ground.
C

DEFENSIVE LINE
Everyone knew loss of Datone Jones would be costly, but this is getting ridiculous. Almost zero push up front.
D

LINEBACKERS
Anybody seen Akeem Ayers? Just four tackles and no other defensive stats..
C-

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Aaron Hester almost made up for costly pass interference with impressive pick, but Arizona wideouts way too open.
D+

SPECIAL TEAMS
UCLA gets a big return from Damien Thigpen…and he breaks his clavicle. Bruins more and more like Charlie Brown.
B-

COACHING
Maybe coaches seeing something I’m not, but gameplan appears more conservative than GOP Convention.
D+

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Weekly Q&A

Fire away with questions for this week’s Q&A. Please don’t post new questions on the answers section, because I don’t always check the comments. Save them for next week.

Thanks
Jon

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UCLA lets one slip away?

By Jon Gold
Staff Writer

They had this one, they thought, had it in their eyes, had it in their hearts, had it on their hands.

Nine days after a back-alley whooping at No. 1 Oregon, a 60-13 loss that was worse than the final margin, the UCLA football actually seemed more depressed in the locker room on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the funny thing: The Bruins never led No. 15 Arizona on Saturday. They came in on an embarrassing two-game losing streak while the Wildcats had won six-of-seven.
Yet UCLA felt like it let one slip away, succumbing to the Wildcats, 29-21, on Saturday at the Rose Bowl in front of 53,408.

Only they didn’t just let one slip away, but the whole Wildcat offense.

Backup quarterback Matt Scott was the greasiest of the Arizona bunch, a bar of Dial in a waterfall.

Scott accounted for 390 yards of offense and a touchdown, getting the start in a game-time decision over Nick Foles, who was out with a sprained knee.

Scott had 319 yards passing on 24-of-36 attempts, with a 41-yard touchdown to Juron Criner and an interception, and added 71 yards rushing on 12 carries.

Scott had 279 total yards in the first half as the Wildcats built a 19-7 lead.

“He can hurt you with his legs or with his arms, and he made a lot of great passes to compliment his running,” Criner said of Scott. “He let us know how bad he wanted to be in there, and he showed it. He played balls to the wall, and he stepped up when we needed him to.”
Continue reading

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Arizona 26-21

Richard Brehaut dropped a beautiful touch pass to a streaking Josh Smith on a flea flicker for a 49-yard touchdown pass, and the Rose Bowl is erupting.

Drive Time: 8 plays, 87 yards, 3:25

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Arizona 26-14

After UCLA scored on a long bomb from Richard Brehaut to Randall Carroll, Arizona answered with yet another long drive, capped of by a Greg Nwoko one-yard touchdown.
Poor tackling continues to haunt the Bruins, who had quarterback Matt Scott stopped behind the line of scrimmage at least three times.

Drive Time: 13 plays, 80 yards, 6:46

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Arizona 19-14

Richard Brehaut found a streaking Randall Carroll with a perfect pass for a 68-yard touchdown as the Bruins cut the Wildcats’ lead to five.

Drive Time: 4 plays, 79 yards, 1:24

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