A week ago, UCLA looked like a triumphant football program.
It had just beaten BYU, overcoming a double-digit, fourth-quarter deficit for the first time in 52 games. It had done so despite an ugly night for quarterback Josh Rosen, who threw three interceptions and looked nothing like the freshman phenom he appeared to be in his career opener. And, the next morning, it emerged at No. 9 in the Associated Press poll — becoming the conference’s highest-ranked team for the first time in over a decade.
But two injuries later, and the Bruins’ outlook suddenly looks a lot less rosy. After already losing defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes to a torn ACL, the team is now without cornerback Fabian Moreau (foot) and linebacker Myles Jack (knee) for the rest of the season.
A visit to No. 16 Arizona on Saturday gives UCLA a chance to prove that, even shorthanded, it remains a contender.
When UCLA has the ball
Rosen’s dreadful night at the Rose Bowl last Saturday could someday end up being a turning point in his career, a retrospective reminder that greatness needs an incubation period.
For now, it’s more a sign that even a talented true freshman is still a freshman. The 18-year-old will only improve as he figures out what chances he should or shouldn’t take on the field, but in the meantime, the Bruins’ offense is still in good shape. This is a veteran group that can afford its quarterback some time to catch up to the learning curve. Continue reading