UCLA has ‘long way to go’ after loss to Nebraska to end 2015

UCLA gave up 326 rushing yards in a dispiriting 37-29 loss to Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl on Saturday. (John Green/Bay Area News Group)

» UCLA has “a long way to go,” columnist Vinny Bonsignore wrote, with its loss to Nebraska exposing the team’s lack of toughness.
» The Bruins couldn’t stop the run, but an inconsistent offense didn’t help the cause either.
» After injuries and early departures, the UCLA offensive line was forced to start a walk-on in the Foster Farms Bowl.

  • Just Owns

    It called M & M Ball. Why would any self-respecting FB recruit wish to join the Bruin FB team?

    • gotroy22

      Opportunity to start as a true freshman?

      • Laker Rod

        That appears to be the only reason to come to UCLA for some guys and when they realize they are not good enough to start as a true freshman they decide to leave ala Kylie Fitts, Zach Whitley, Chris Clark, Fred Ulu-Perry, etc.

        Even when given playing time they probably didn’t even deserve they end up transferring out anyhow.

        • jameskatt

          Looks like despite UCLA needing help real fast before Josh Rosen leaves, in order to keep players, we should redshirt nearly all new recruits. This would allow them to physically develop into big boys to play against the likes of Stanford, Nebraska, and USC.

          Somewhere along the line, UCLA has to bite the bullet and develop its program. Otherwise we are stuck with using too many freshmen who aren’t physically nor emotionally ready to play a bigger game.

          • Just Owns

            It would seem to me Mora would know this and recruit accordingly starting three years ago.

          • jameskatt

            Since Mora came to UCLA from the NFL after 24 years, I don’t think he knew as much about recruiting coming into the college game. His assistant coaches have more experience. So Mora is learning on the job.

          • Just Owns

            Point taken, but Mora is still 100% responsible UCLA terrible year.

          • Laker Rod

            Maybe some good in this is that we now consider 8-5 a “terrible” year.

            The question we need to ask ourselves is that should the Bruins at times “sacrifice” a year where we may go 6-7 and from this we reap the benefits of a conference championship the next or following year.

          • 88 Straight

            We didn’t start any freshmen in the trenches this year.

          • Laker Rod

            What are you talking about. Fred Ulu Perry started at right offensive guard against Utah and he was horrible. Cristian Garcia is also a redshirt freshman walk on who started in the bowl game. He actually did a decent job against Nebraska…better than what Ulu Perry did.

            In addition, Kolton Miller was also a redshirt freshman who started at both left tackle and right tackle at times. He did a decent job in pass protection but the Bruins rushing attack has been way inconsistent with him in there.

          • 88 Straight

            They weren’t starters. Starting a game or two doesn’t make you a starter. Ask Ishmael Adams. LOL!

            Garcia was WAY down the depth chart but because of injuries and Redmond leaving early. He was forced into action out of unforeseen circumstances. Can you name any other game in which he even played?. Kolton Miller started because of injury. Conor McDermott was the starter. Fred Ulu-Perry was a backup as well.

          • Richard

            FU-P wasn’t horrible. He was a little stiff and blew a few assignments BUT no one ran over him to the QB and he can move the pile forward better than Brendel, Quizz, Lacy & Redmond COMBINED

          • Laker Rod

            He was terrible when he played offensive guard. Ulu-Perry played pretty well as a full back.

          • Laker Rod

            Thank you James. This is what I’ve been trying to sell to UCLA fans for a very very long time. If we are realistic about the contribution true freshmen can make…we would redshirt nearly all the new recruits. It’s unrealistic to expect the help real fast from true freshmen.

            Jim Mora better change his mindset. When he makes comments like we didn’t bring Chris Clark here to redshirt…well…then…why is it he hardly even played then. Clark clearly was not ready…mono or no mono.

            I don’t care if guys like Najee Toran or Fred Ulu Perry start as true freshmen but heck…at least produce. They were both HORRIBLE. It was ridiculous for them to be even out there as true freshmen. Why play Tevita Halalilo also. He broke his ankle in garbage time.

            There are certain running backs or even wide receivers and even defensive backs that can contribute and even start as true freshmen but you have to wonder that if they are the best we have…what the heck the coaches have been doing developing the existing older players. How can a coach mess up in recruiting so many years where he has to rely on a true freshman.

            What the heck happened to Soso Jamobo also. Did he injure his leg against Nebraska? He had the great run on the screen pass but got hurt on the very same play and never returned.

            Jim Mora has definitely sacrificed the future in order to have better results in the “present” the past 3 years. UCLA really could have used Ellis McCarthy in 2015. He should have been a senior.

            UCLA is losing way too many true juniors who decide to leave early. Jim Mora will never win any conference championships consistently if this continues to happen. Something is rotten. Something is just not right. There is no desire for players to stay at UCLA. It’s like they can’t wait to get out ala Myles Jack, Fred Ulu Perry, Chris Clark, and now Alex Redmond. I hope the coaches and athletic program figure out what the issue is.

            I don’t care if they leave if UCLA won a conference championship or are projected as true 1st rounders.

          • gotroy22

            No you should take JCs. But we know that will never happen because your leadership is too snobby.

    • USC Rah Rah’s Rule

      Major schools are still accepting JC transfers, aren’t they?

      • Just Owns

        UCLA loathes JC transfers. In the last 10 years you could probably count the JC Xfers on two hands.

        • Laker Rod

          Why is it that UCLA loathes JC transfers. I really think there are too many Bruin fans who settle for mediocrity related to football and basketball.

          In a lot of ways the Bruin alumni exerts much more patience and calmness vs that of USC. Over at USC they whine and cry about everything related to football. But does it produce a better product in the long run?

        • gotroy22

          That’s your problem. Change that and you’ll change your toughness problem. Too much intellectual snobbery from Chancellor Blockhead.

  • jameskatt

    As a whole team, the lack of toughness has been part of the character and culture of UCLA’s football teams forever.

    Terry Donahue fought against it and largely was successful in the middle of his career. But he did have 6 losing or disappointing seasons out of the 20 he coached. His 4th year record at UCLA was 5-6 – a God-awful year. And his record against USC was only 10-9-1 – winning only half the games.

    UCLA has heavily relied on individual star players carry them for a win. UCLA has had spurts of toughness – such as beating USC in 2006 with a rag tag team. But these types of games have come infrequently.

    Toughness can be seen as the will to exert 100 percent of one’s self on the field every game irrespective of talent and ability.

    UCLA’s team unfortunately doesn’t show up for ready to go for bear every game. Too many times, they are so slow to start the game, that I would scream for the players to drink a few cups of coffee before the team.

    One example in the last game, was telling. So many players did not go the extra distance to tackle players. They instead too often used arm tackles, which missed.

    Alex Redmond is an example of players at UCLA who don’t give it their all every game. In fact, he left the team even before the bowl game, despite being uninjured.

    Jim Mora has brought more toughness to UCLA. But it is difficult to change the culture of the team so quickly. This is true particularly when so many pieces on the team are missing, forcing him to use so many not-ready-for-prime-time freshmen.

    Irreverently, maybe the beach and party mentality at UCLA gets to the players after a while to make them more lackadaisical. In contrast, USC is in a slum and gang-infested area where players have to avoid getting shot when walking outside of campus, keeping the players on their toes.

    • gotroy22

      Remember, nobody could have beaten the John Robinson teams of the late 1970s. Once SC went on probation and Robinson left for the Rams, it was a level playing field. The same was true of the Pete Carroll era. Now the field is level again.