Fight on to Victory! :D
Our offensive coordinator, Gary Lawson, opts out of his contract. Good move on his part, as I'm looking for someone to develop our young talent and I wasn't thrilled with his performance with our QBs last year. The other two guys want to stay - we'll see.
DC Ben Liddiard is secure.
Age: 47 (18 year experience)
Preferred D: 4-3 (matches my personal pref)
Most ratings are GOOD.
Scout LB and Develop DB are AVERAGE
Develop DL is VERY GOOD.
Expensive, but fits my needs.
Special Teams coach Teag Collier isn't the problem either. So we'll go hunting for someone to develop our offensive talent.
There is a guy named Chris DeMarco (not the golfer, this guy is from Alabama, not Florida) who looks promising. Prefers West Coast, 47 years of age with 17 years of coaching. He receives very high marks for scouting QBs and Motivation. Average at Scout WR/TE, OL, and Develop OL. Everything else is considered GOOD. Asking for 650K, which is just a little more than I was looking for.
Jim Hankton, hailing from Houston, prefers Smash Mouth, and looks like a steal at 650k. Average in RB development, Good in Scout QB, RB, and Gameplan, and Very Good for everything else. Smash Mouth would probably fit well with the returning talent at OLine and RB, but I want to have a team that can throw the ball as well. He is also asking 650K.
Kent McNown, an Oklahoma grad, is 49 years old who tends towards the Vertical offense. Everything rates out as Good, except Develop OL of Very Good. He is looking for 600K and will be our first target.
By the way, does anyone know what the "10 Team" entry depicts?
We bump our offer to McNown up to 625K to see if we can secure his services after our other two candidates are off the board. But it appears that isn't allowed in this version?
It works out to our benefit, as he signs for 600K.
WR Nate Brooking didn't take well to his redshirting last year and will be leaving. Ditto Cliff Byrum, who was hurt and had too many drops as our 3rd/4th receiver. So we will be looking for more guys at this position after thinking we had secured our future there last season.
There are nine recruits with Very High interest and another 5 with High interest. Throw in a bunch more with medium and we should be able to go hunting ...
I can't wait to fire my OC and DC. :)
Turn this thing around hoops!!
SS Arthur Herrmann, a SO originally from UVA is a natural fit for us since we are looking to shore up the secondary. We offer without thinking twice.
DT Deion Sims, a SO who last played at Syracuse is another easy offer.
FB Paul Hulsey - tougher call here. I seem to have a hard time recruiting the position, so I may want to chase ... pass initially.
CB Gene Moreno - formerly of Oregon. His interest is only Medium, but he hails from our region. I'll give him a shot, just to see if I can learn something about transfers ....
Mizzou, I think you have correctly identified your biggest issues with Troy. Good luck rectifying this in the offseason ;)
Byrum is off to play at Boise State - should be good for him. I heard that his first choice, the Cal-Berkley powder puff team, said that he wasn't tough enough to run with them.
WR Brooking heads to Colorado - I can at least respect this guy as he didn't fall flat on his face for us and we did redshirt him.
DT Sims heads to Mississippi.
CB Moreno is off to Georgia Tech.
Oregon picks up a QB transfer (Chuck Burford) from Virginia Tech. Hope he is as fragile as Jack Burford was ...
Cal picks up a SS from Mississippi.
Arizona picks up a RB from Texas - could be trouble there.
We extend an offer to Texas OG Ray Yates. He is good enough to step in and start now with better potential than our returning guys. But he ends up going to Stanford. Jag.
Another year of zero incoming transfers. I haven't seen any posts on this topic at Grey Dog, or any conversation on our message board. I'm clearly missing something, as I'm seeing comparable teams bringing in multiple guys.
We have some talented players interested in us out of the high school ranks. Time to assess the current roster and see where we go from here ...
QB - Burford and Edwards are coming back. Hopefully they improve, because neither one gave us enough last year in conference play. Burford is a senior. Two underclassmen backups that don't impress. This is a need for the right impact player.
HB - Derrick Brown is an animal and an early entry waiting to happen next year. Three players behind him are not top talents.
FB - Hagood Morris, the starter, is adequate. The senior backup is less so. We could use someone to provide a future roadmap here.
WR - Gary Brewer is going to be at worst an All-Conference performer if he keeps up his grades this year. We have high hopes for Ben Jackson after a so-so freshman campaign (45 rec, 679 yards, 2 TDs). Brett Stablein is a solid performer and we kept redshirt freshman Mike Voight, although he is frustrated. We have our starters, so we would be recruiting for depth if anything. 6 players, no seniors.
TE - Two sophomores, with T.J. Thomas looking like the starter right now. Like fullback, we could use an impact freshman to come in and take a job.
OT - Deep with potential and youth. Just need to keep developing these guys and we'll have a very good line in the future. 6 players, all underclassmen.
OG - Not quite as rosy. We think Luis Jones is a long-term solution (starter as freshman) but are less sold on the rest of this group. 4 players, no seniors.
C - Nick Moore started as a freshman last year. His backup stinks and we can use another body here.
DE - Banducci and Smith were both All-Conference selections. The backups are guys that should be cut, if possible. 4 players, no seniors. Depth is needed.
DT - We can't run a 4-3 until we upgrade here. No one is good, no one has potential to get good. At least they study, which means they won't be relying on me to get them spots on NFL rosters. Heck, they will be lucky to suit up next year. Our biggest need.
ILB - Jerry McCullough and Scott Wilson both played extensively last year and should continue to hold spots in a 3-4 defense. Backup Bryant Bruschi is another solid football player. Playing time is hard to come by for B. Arthur on one of the deepest positions on the squad. 5 players, 0 seniors.
OLB - I wish I could just drop linebackers into the secondary. Travis Wilcox and Hank Swilling will have to continue to improve to hold off Adrian Kyle. 5 players, one senior (worst of group).
CB - No one good, no one who will grow up to be better than average. 6 players, 2 seniors. Very serious need.
S - Greg Moore got a lot of time last year and will be counted on to lead the secondary this year. Noland King and Joe Lusk are able to provide some depth here. 5 players, no seniors. Would welcome a stud at this position, preferably SS.
K - McMullen is coming back for his senior year. Wayne is gone. I'm a big-hearted guy who believes in second chances, but we still have to recruit a backup and long-term solution.
P - Harry Dayne did a very nice job as a sophomore. We have a backup as well.
There are a couple of stud RBs out there that are sniffing around our program. They see how we have fed the football to Derrick and expect he will be heading to the league in a year.
DT is another talent-rich position with guys who are expressing initial interest. And we also have leads on secondary help.
No QBs to speak of, at least not any franchise types looking to step in at UCLA.
Well, we are losing players to USC this year. They sign the #4 recruit in the nation, RB Jerry King. No surprise, as they were graduating talent at that position.
Our first signee is OG James McAddley. He was rated as the #178 recruit in his class. We hope he can make an impact in his first season.
We add FS Keith Thomas, the #184 ranked player according to our service.
Underclassmen going pro:
ILB Dewey Carolan - ARI
QB Lance Detmer - WASH (won't miss him)
CB Pat Ferguson - USC
DE Ryan Humphrey - STAN
WR Derek Johnson - USC
WR Jerome Kulbacki - CAL (another guy that hurt us)
ILB Glenn Murphy - WSU
WR Joe Sherman - USC
FS Brooks Tucker - CAL
RB Todd Vereb - USC (yes!)
Bad news - USC QB LaShaun Sharpe is back for his senior year. Although the Trojans lost some significant talent, I wouldn't say they are ripe for the picking quite yet ...
Week 11: We sign the 9th rated recruit in the nation, CB Elijah McCallister! Big get, we promised him playing time and I don't think that will be a problem. His coverage skills of 107 are quite literally off the chart. Biggest worry is keeping him eligible, as he is bringing a 2.2 GPA to our campus.
We lost out on a top guy, #7 RB Floyd Tonnemaker, who decided to play for the state school - Arizona. He'll be a name we hear from soon.
We pick up players at a couple of need positions.
TE Gene Fortunato is the #233 player in the land. We hope he is good enough to challenge for a starting job right away.
FB LeShon Toomer is the #248 rated player. Again should have a chance to compete right away at a shallow position.
No major recruits lost in this period - another Top 10 RB commits, this one to Oklahoma. But we were no longer in the running after being listed early.
Big week for us with four signings, including a pair of Top 100 guys.
#11 CB J.R. Jackson gives us a 2nd top corner back in the class. Another guy who will potentially have grade issues (2.0) but I felt like I needed to take chances on top talent in a problem area for us last year.
#54 RB Gannon Dawson - We have our RB for post-Derrick. This guy already shows up with Running 98. And his grades are in order (2.6).
#138 DT Jack Farmer - equally adept (91) in pass rush and defend run. Should be ready to start from Day 1.
#216 FS Jerry Brock - will compete with Thomas for spot on roster, with loser probably getting a redshirt.
Once again, no serious targets were snapped up. This is shaping up as another decent recruiting class.
Three more signings, all listed in Top 125.
CB Rulon Bowens - when it rains, it pours. This guy will stay academically eligible. Early indications are that he is not nearly as talented as the other two players at his position, despite being the #57 rated player in the nation.
DT Jared Burford - another Burford comes to UCLA (no relation). This DT is a run stuffer (104) who will need to work on his GPA (2.2). If he does, I think he will be an instant starter and allow us to run our 4-3.
SS Taz Simms - great athlete, but we want him to stick at SS. #109 rated recruit.
We lost a number of guys we had been pursuing, but not any Top 100 guys (that were not CBs). Best of the bunch at potentially meeting our needs were another DT and a kicker.
None. No surprises. We are still hoping to pick up a kicker, but lost one to Texas this week. Just looking for depth, based on what is still out there at this point.
OLB Jarvis White - #218 player according to our scouts. This kid basically begged us to offer him. We didn't feel like we needed help at this position, but there is no downside to getting a talented player with good grades this late.
C Greg Knight - #442 in the nation, basically a body to provide depth at this position.
Only one offer was still outstanding, and we get him.
QB Mel Rattay - athlete at the position, just another body for depth purposes.
3 5 star recruits (CB Elijah McCallister highest at #9)
10 4 star recruits
1 3 star recruit
1 2 star recruit (Rattay)
Scrolling through training, it looks like the following guys are going to push for starting jobs now or starring roles later:
RB Dawson - #2 RB now, starter as soon as Derrick moves on.
FB Toomer - should compete with incumbent Morris right away.
TE Fortunado - a good camp and he could be the starter.
OG McAddley - raw, but very talented.
DT Burford - huge upside.
DT Famer - hope he and Burford have good camps to take jobs.
CB Jackson - starter now, star soon.
CB McCallister - see Jackson, but with bigger GPA issues.
SS Simms - in the rotation this year, good upside.
I'm anticipating some issues keeping all of our guys in the secondary happy, as there is some real talent there.
Our recruiting class is rated #6 in the nation. That is now six straight Top 10 classes that I've brought in for USC and UCLA. Is there a screen that shows the top classes (besides your own)?
Expectations remain Top 25, beat USC (sure), and a bowl appearance. We should be moving in that direction this year, but next year promises to be a banner year if we don't suffer early graduations.
All of those stats are pending redshirts, of course ...
We play with our budget numbers to upsize the scouting service to the medium selection (Gridiron.com). It is only 25K more to move up to the premier west coast service, but we did pretty well with Gridiron last year so I'll leave money on academics and trainers ...
5 blue - K McMullen, P Dayne, QB Burford, RB Brown, WR Brewer
11 green - DE Ronald Smith is highest rated defensive player
SS Simms and RB Dawson are highest rated freshmen initially (3.5 each).
Our talent level among the underclassmen is very high relative to the upperclassmen.
OG Bill Westbrook and TE Pettis Larscheid are inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame. Pettis had a pair of pretty big years before I arrived, while Bill did fine work for us last season.
Nice class, and nice luck with the Pac 10 players leaving early...I hope we do even 1/50th as well as you do. Bravo again on the nice off-season. I expect a lot of wins! Even if you did say i was troy's problem ;)
Updated position breakdown:
QB - Sr Jack Burford has skills, but his 36 durability is like a giant KICK ME sign. I would really like Harold Edwards to take this job but his 1.7 GPA is also a problem. I'm reluctant to redshirt our freshman QB because he already is showing morale issues.
HB - Terrific 1/2 punch, but Derrick's grades are crap right now (1.7) after a summer of partying. I suspect this will derail Derricks season and put Dawson in the starting role.
FB - Morris holds off newcomer Toomer. We now have decent depth here. Morris has 2.08 GPA.
WR - Brewer and Jackson are the starters, with Voight coming on to take slot receiver job away from Stablein. Brewer again likely to miss time with his 1.72 GPA.
TE - Fortunado takes the job, doesn't look back.
OT - Sick depth, all have high potential and decent skill right now. All have at least 2.43 GPA.
OG - McAddley jumps into starting lineup. Depth still an issue at this position.
C - Moore clear-cut starter, with Knight providing some depth.
DE - Smith got stupid over summer (1.79 GPA). Grades are major issue throughout this position. With everyone eligible, depth still an issue.
DT - Freshmen Burford and Farmer are two best at the position. With the two highest GPAs - we need to keep recruiting here so we can dump vets next year.
ILB - McCullough holds down starting job. Wilson is pushed by Bruschi, and his own academic issues (1.92).
OLB - Good depth, but no stars. Wilcox, Swilling, and Kyle in dead heat. All should maintain grades.
CB - Three most talented players are freshmen. So I'll be cutting some old guys. McCallister has 1.96 GPA, so some issues there. Jackson also has some return ability.
S - Simms came in and took SS job, which is great. But he now has 1.9 GPA, which isn't great. Perhaps some cuts to issue here as well ...
We'll let our OC go with the vertical passing offense he favors.
I would like to go 4-3 on defense, but with our lack of depth and potential academic pitfalls up front I think it is 3-4 again this year.
We open at BYU, finishing our home-and-home series from last year.
We request that Boise State come visit, so we can knock around Cliff Byrum. Accpeted. (insert evil laugh).
We also request Miami (OH) to come out to California. They decline.
I have heard Air Force is pretty good - lets see if we can schedule them. And it is booked.
Here is the final schedule:
Week 1: @ BYU
Week 2: Boise St
Week 3: Air Force
Week 4: @ Arizona
Week 5: OPEN
Week 6: Washington St (#25)
Week 7: Arizona St
Week 8: @ Oregon (#17)
Week 9: Washington
Week 10: @ California
Week 11: @ Stanford
Week 12: OPEN
Week 13: OPEN
Week 14: Southern Cal
Week 15: OPEN
OT Roell English - SO. Too much depth at the position, all sophs. Fairly likely to transfer, as he was a starter last year and has 3.0/4.5 ratings.
CB Jon Steed - SO. We can activate him if there are GPA issues, as he has a 3.9. But his 1.5/3.0 ratings don't translate into any playing time if people are eligible.
We cut a starter from last year, CB Kevin Hamilton. 2.0/2.5 talent + 1.85 GPA + 9 CBs = Gone. Add nickleback Lance Goode to the cut list. We are sending a message (better late than never) that failure will not be tolerated.
We open the year ranked #25 in the coaches poll.
We only have 82 hours for academics, which isn't nearly enough to save the 16 dopes who are under 2.0 to start. We put points on most of the starters, particularly the talented ones:
RB Derrick Brown
QB Harold Edwards
WR Jack Brewer
DE Ronald Smith
CB Elijah McCallister
SS Taz Simms
Hopefully I'm not repeating these names in a few weeks.
Preseason Rankings (Media)
5. Miami (FL)
6. Ohio St
7. Notre Dame
Pac 10 teams - #17 Oregon, #25 Washington St
We head to BYU as 21 point favorites. I'll show some confidence in our guys and say that is about right.
Burford to Brewer, 44 yards on first play of season.
HB Gannon Dawson goes for a 10 yard TD on his first college carry. 7-0, 12:14 to play in quarter.
Scott Wilson forces a fumble on the 2nd BYU play, which is recovered by Jerry McCullough.
We take over at their 38.
We are stopped, in part due to a sack, and McMullen misses a 43 yard field goal. Why did I bench him last year?
BYU connects for a 46 yard pass, moving into our territory in a hurry.
But they can't get another first down and have to line up a 44 yard field goal. Good, 7-3 with 6:31 left in the quarter.
Brown gets a bunch of touches on the next drive, on the ground and in the passing game.
No big gainers on this drive, but the chains keep moving. 15 plays, 83 yards, ending with an Edwards to Fortunado TD pass from 5 yards out. 14-3, 0:46 left in the quarter.
Noteworthy - Burford injured his clavicle on the drive and is out for the rest of it.
We get away with a defensive holding to force a punt.
Makeup call on first play for offense - unnecessary roughness.
OT Lonie Smith has a pair of huge blocks on this drive, which ends with a Edwars to Brewer TD from 2 yards out. 21-3, 11:30 remains in half.
BYU starts at the 40 after McMullen knocks the kickoff out of bounds.
But they go 3 and out. First downs are 16 to 1 at this point.
J.R. Jackson returns the punt 36 yards up to the 47.
Two play drive, as Brown breaks off a 51 yard run to glory on his 2nd touch. He now has 129 yards on 15 carries. 28-3, 8:41 remains in the half.
Another Burford is hurt, as DT Jared goes out with a jaw injury.
Another 3 and out for the Cougars.
BYU finally gets a stop, near midfield. We punt and stick them on their 6.
BYU gets their 2nd first down of the day with under 4 to play in the half.
But not a 3rd - punt.
Edwards is now 8-8 on the day.
Make it 10-10 after a 32 yard pass to Stablein, who is down at the 1. TO UCLA, one left and 0:45 in the half.
Screen to Brown makes it 35-3 with 0:38 left in the half.
Edwards is 11-11 for 87 yards and 3 TDs.
We help BYU out with our last timeout. They then complete back-to-back passes for 28 yards, setting up a 47 yard field goal attempt as time expires. No good.
Yardage is 377-116. Our QBs are a combined 19-21.
We have 3 fumbles, but have recovered each of them. We can't have that kind of sloppy play in Pac 10 play.
In a blowout like this, I'll just post the scoring plays for the 2nd half.
Q3 9:00 Brown 3 yard TD run.
Q3 1:20 BYU 51 yard FG.
Q4 12:15 Brown 65 yard TD run.
Q4 9:27 Edwards to Voight, 48 yard TD pass.
Q4 2:10 McMullen field goal (30).
Q4 0:19 McMullen field goal (45).
Final score: 62-6. Kind of like last years opener.
666 total yards - mark of the beast. We allowed 213.
37:03 time of possession is the best we have had under my watch.
Edwards finished 16-19 for 204 yards and 4 TDs.
Some of the freshmen looked very good:
RB Dawson: 12-57, 1 TD
WR Voight: 8-116, 1 TD
TE Fortunado: 2-13, 1 TD
Center N. Moore had 3 krbs and 1 pancake.
Derrick had 31 carries for 235 yards and 4 TDs (3 rushing, 1 receiving).
Defensive stats were spread pretty evenly, but no sacks recorded.
In other news, USC begins their title defense with a 37-16 road win at South Bend. The Irish had been ranked #7 in the preseason polls.
Our victory places us at #25 in both polls and with the #1 offense in the land.
Both Burfords will miss the next game - dislocated clavicle and broken jaw.
Good read, hoopsguy. Keep it up.
Being a UCLA fan myself, I of course have been running a game with them (although I took them from the start). It wasn't easy--I had some good defensive talent that helped me to an 8-5 finish the first year, but then many of those guys left and I fell to 7-6 the next year. And, mind you, this is scheduling absolute cupcakes. I was giving myself four easy wins in non-conference out of depseration.
Offense started picking up in and got to 8-5. Then brought in the 6th best recuiting class and really started doing better. I started off 8-0 in 2008, before falling apart some in the end. I finished 10-3 with a good offsense (still emdiocre defense) and my best bowl yet, the Sun (I got blown out by an underrated Purdue team).
I wasn't prepared for what this was leading me to, although I knew I had young talent developing. I went 12-0 in the regular season, and finally beat USC (crushed them actually). I finished the season with my first conference title and consensus #1. I still had doubts, though (neither offense nor defense were ranked in the top 20). I actually did very well in the playoffs, largely dominating my games before the championship game with Texas. Well, the Horns eeked out a 30-29 win with a FG to win it with seven seconds left, and they had been undefeated, too. So, wow, how about that for a season? Finished 15-1 (and still looking really good for this year, which I will probably run tomorrow).
So it takes work, but it can happen. :)
Chief, sounds like you have already blazed the trail for us - I would be ecstatic if we can replicate that level of success.
I think our talent level is getting close to where it needs to be, but I'm wondering what the impact of the morale is on the squad. Last year we lost a couple of games and couldn't seem to catch a break most of the way after that. Sure injuries at QB and a suspect D played their part, but we lost to several teams that were less talented (at first blush) than us.
Hopefully we are better prepared for success in Year 2. Glad to have you following along.
So, after a couple of more seasons of ruling LA, will you leave to resurrect a down-and-out USC team?
We are listed as 21 point favorites at home against Boise State. It will be the season opener for them. I hope that our secondary is ready to hit today. If so, we should cover this number and have a lot of fun in a Cobra Kai-mauling-Ralph-Macchio sort of way.
99,148 are on hand for the home opener.
Their defense is selling out to stop Brown early.
A holding call sets us back to a 2nd and 21, but Edwards hits Stablein for 23.
Stablein hurts his elbow blocking on the next play and is probably done for the day.
Another penalty puts the brakes on the opening drive and we punt from their 40.
They will have to start from their 3 yard line.
Boise State comes out passing, but not to Byrum.
But QB Kermit West hits his first three attempts to move away from the goal line.
The drive ends with DE Ronald Smith lowering the boom on their running back, forcing a fumble that fellow end Joe Banducci collects. The offense will start at the Boise 29.
First two plays go to Ben Jackson, but a crackback block pushes us back again. Three penalties on the offense in less than 8 minutes.
And Edwards gives the ball back on a fumble after being sacked. Kudos to the Boise defense so far, but I'm getting annoyed early in this one.
Another holding penalty called on us. What conference are these refs from? Inquiring minds want to know.
Next play, DT Jack Farmer bursts through the line for his first collegiate sack. And first forced fumble. Joe Banducci again collects the loose ball. We again have great field position.
We go 3 and out, settling for a 32 yard field goal for McMullen. But it is blocked. Wow.
The defense is doing their job, as FS Greg Moore steps in front of an errant pass.
Three forced turnovers inside of ten minutes. Ball at our 40. What will the offense do to help us?
Brown finally finds a seam against the Boise 46 defense and goes for 24 yards, down to the 22 yard line.
3 and out from there, including another sack of Edwards.
44 yard field goal falls short. If I had another kicker on the roster McMullen would be riding the pine again. But this year we need him to work through this crap.
CB Rulon Bowens comes up in run support to force another fumble. Guess who recovers it? JB is on the scene again. Offense starts at the Boise 47. Someone make a big play and get in the end zone so McMullen can miss the extra point.
3 and out, we don't look good offensively right now.
We pin them at the 4 on the punt.
Defense doesn't force a turnover this time - can't do it every possession, right? But they do force a punt after only one first down.
Boise State gets their first penalty of the game, helping us move the chains.
Edwards and Brewer connect on a 29 yard route, with Brewer throwing a mean stiff-arm to pick up a couple of extra yards.
We have another holding penalty on 2nd and goal at the 6.
33 yards this time for McMullen. Holy shit, he made one. 3-0, 7:33 left in half.
The defense is stingy once again, not allowing anything over 6 yards. Boise State punts.
3 and out for us. Boise St sacked Edwards for the 3rd time on that set of downs.
DT Jack Farmer has a toe injury and limps off the field. With Burford already out, we are back to last years' scrubs at DT now.
Banducci records a sack on 3rd down to force a punt.
We are again forced to punt, as our passing game just isn't quite clicking.
Once again Boise is forced to start inside their 10.
Halftime comes quickly.
Boy, it is just embarrassing that we are not up more than this with the way the defense has played.
Our kicking game is a joke, with a guy who is supposed to be one of the best in the nation.
Penalties and sacks have slowed down the offense and the running game isn't really on track despite Brown having 47 yards (13 carries).
CB Bowens intercepts a 3rd down pass, we start at our 46.
Edwards connects with Ben Jackson on 4th and 1, and a roughing the passer penalty is also assessed.
The fullback Hagood Morris punches it in from the 2. 10-0, 10:56 left in the 3rd.
Joe Banducci recovers his 4th fumble of the day - is that some kind of record? - after CB Elijah McAllister delivers a textbook hit. UCLA ball at the Boise St 22.
Edwards throws a terrible INT to give them the ball back.
Defense has forced six turnovers so far and we only have ten points to show for it. Very frustrating.
30 yard pass play on a jump ball for Boise St.
An unneccessary roughness call against the offense pushes them back.
They have to punt, but put us back on our 3 to start the next drive.
Brown fumbles the ball after an 8 yard pickup and Boise State recovers the ball on our 21.
3 and out, field goal unit is on the field. Good from 37, 10-3 with 5:24 left in the 3rd quarter.
OT Lonie Smith leaves the game with a lower back issue. Not good, although we have depth to cover for him.
FB Lashon Toomer explodes for 27 yards, to the Boise State 31.
We are stuffed on 3 straight runs there, losing 5 yards.
McMullen attempts a 54 yard field goal, but it is short.
Defense forces another 3 and out. They have only allowed 8 first downs so far this game.
Brown is getting nowhere today. 19 carries for 60 yards near the end of 3.
And Gary Brewer leaves the game with a knee injury. This game is going from bad to worse right now.
RB Gannon Dawson eludes a man in the backfield and turns it into a 26 yard gallop.
We are stopped at the Boise 26. Time for McMullen ... wide left from 46! Unreal.
CB Rulon Bowens makes his 2nd interception of the day and takes it back 36 yards to the Boise State 44.
9 first downs allowed, 7 turnovers forced. And we are only up 7. Disgusting.
Edwards and Jackson again hook up, this time for 31 yards. The defense had good coverage and made a big hit, but Jackson is clutch. Not a play he would have made last year.
Brown runs it in from two yards out. 17-3, 9:47 left in the game.
Defense forces another 3 and out.
4th and 1 at the 48, and we wisely punt.
Another 3 and out. ILB Scott Wilson is making his share of tackles today.
We begin running out the clock, with Dawson and Brown picking up 10+ yards apiece.
OG Bill Lee is called for tripping, his 2nd big penalty on the day.
Gannon Dawson may end up with more yards than Brown on the day.
McMullen connects on a 49 yard field goal. Kind of a garbage time score for him with us already up 2 TDs. 20-3, 1:13 to play.
Boise State gets an 86 yard kickoff return, down to our 15.
They find paydirt, 20-10 with 0:53 left to play.
We recover the onside. Game over.
3rd down efficiency was horrible this game: 3-17
Edwards didn't have a great game, but did his job. 25-39 for 284 yards. 0 TDs, 1 INT. If we pick up 3rd downs those numbers will look considerably better. I'll take that from a #2 guy, all things considered (trying to be glass half-full here).
Brown finished with 29 carries for 93 yards and a TD.
Dawson had a better time of it with 9 carries for 72 yards.
OT Steve Whiting was tough all game long, with 4 krbs, 1 pancake. He did allow one sack, though.
McMullen - 2/6 on field goals. Doesn't get much worse than that if you aren't involved in a point shaving operation.
Defensive numbers - tackles again spread out.
DE Banducci had 4 fumble recoveries and a sack.
CB Bowens had 2 interceptions and a forced fumble.
Up, up and away in the polls. #17 media, #16 coaches. Guess they didn't watch the offense operate on 3rd down or in the red zone ...
We have the #4 offense and #4 defense at the moment. Both rankings will fall, I'm sure.
Out for now - QB Harold Edwards and two stiffs - CB Cliff Ledyard and DE Phil Patten
Good to see that all the guys I've brought in the last two years aren't on this list. I'm trying to correct our crappy academics, but even guys I'm bringing in are struggling. If we win some games I'll be able to put more finances behind the effort rather than using recruiting as a filter (generally not chasing lower than 2.3 unless Top 25 or major need).
We dump hours on Edwards (need him to back up our fragile QB Burford) and CB J.R. Jackson to help them avoid future suspensions.
QB Burford isn't ready to go, so we'll be playing a 3rd stringer against Air Force.
WR Gary Brewer has knee inflammation and will miss next week as well.
WR Bill Stablein has a stress fracture - elbow. Nasty, and he is out for a few weeks.
OT Lonie Smith - slipped disk in his back. May take a look at removing the redshirt from English.
Both of our DTs need more time to recover. Brutal game for injuries last week.
We are listed as 25 point favorites at home against Air Force. Too big a number with our injuries. Between suspensions and injuries we are missing 5 starters and a couple of key backups.
Air Force must have had an impressive opener, as they have the #6 offense and defense. Something has to give between both teams highly ranked units.
Our scouts are warning us about Air Force flanker Allen Ismail, who had 86 yards on 6 catches in the opener.
Before we get too much farther into the year, here is some info on our current roster.
It appears we didn't give our fans enough offense last week, as we have few no-shows today. 98,029 are on hand to root on the Bruins while showing respect for the armed forces.
We pick up one first down, but are forced to punt near midfield.
Air Force picks up 22 on 3rd and 7.
But the defense slows down Air Force at our 42, forcing a punt.
QB Greg Moorehead hits back to back completions for 20 and 12 yards.
Then Brown shows some nifty moves on a 15 yard pickup.
But a busted run play and a sack push us back to 3rd and 15 at the AF 39.
No problem, Brown runs for 15. Stud.
We break down on the next three plays, and McMullen comes in for a 44 yarder.
He misses. Wide left.
QB Billy Brown finds Ismail for a 24 yard pickup, into Bruin territory.
On the next play their RB, McCareins, sprints 45 yards untouched for a TD. 7-0 Air Force, 1:53 left in the quarter.
3 and out. QB issues are going to be a major obstacle to overcome.
Air Force breaks off a 36 yard punt return. They start at our 25.
3 plays and done, after a bad drop. They miss a 42 yard field goal, blowing a tremendous opportunity.
QB Derrick Fazande hits TE T.J. Thomas for a 23 yard gain, then finds Brown on a screen pass that just opens up. 53 yard TD pass and catch! 7-7, 12:45 left in half.
The Air Force passing game is much better than what we have seen so far this year. But ILB Scott Wilson picks off a pass to end their drive and give us the ball at our 29.
We have to punt after one first down. We surrender another return of 30+ yards and Air Force starts at our 33. Fricking special teams, it is like McMullen has now infected our coverage units.
2 play drive, Brown finds Ismail on a blown coverage. The easiest 35 yards of their lives. 14-7, 8:24 left in half.
QB Mel Rattay completes the first pass of his career, a 10 yard pickup on 3rd and 2.
Drive falters near midfield. Punt.
DT Chuck Rachal (keeps turning up in my game notes despite sucking) gets a sack, knocking AF back to the 6.
Defensive holding on 3rd and 14 - miserable penalty, our first of the game.
We force a punt - they are having some problems with the WRs holding onto good passes.
QB Greg Moorehead is getting the majority of the snaps for us, but he has been the least effective. After a 10 yard pickup on 3rd and 10 he is up to 5-14 for 62 yards.
Air Force has sustained a couple of injuries in the secondary, hope our guys can take advantage ...
Fazande hooks up with Jackson on a corner route, good for 38 yards before he steps out of bounds.
4th and goal on the 2, with 30 seconds left in the half. We go for it. Rattay is in, the play breaks down, and he tries to use his athletic ability (why we recruited him) to run it in ..... TOUCHDOWN! There is a flag down, but it is against Air Force. 14-14, 0:30 left in the half.
Need to shore up our special teams play.
Need to jumpstart our running game.
Forcing a turnover or two would also help.
Defense forces a 3 and out to start 2nd half.
TE T.J. Thomas is making some plays this game - a 33 yard fingertip grab being the latest.
3 straight runs get us nowhere. Dare we bring out the kicker?
We have to. He makes a 30 yarder. 17-14, 9:45 left in 3rd quarter.
We are hit with a 15 yard facemask penalty.
The yards come back on an unnecessary roughness call against the troops.
Brown to Martin for 29 yards on 3rd and 16. That is one tough QB.
Air Force looks for the tie on a 52 yard attempt, which is good. 17-17, 6:51 left in the quarter.
Brown is 10-16 for 149 yards. 1 TD, 1 INT. But it feels like he is playing better than his numbers.
Brown doesn't give us much on the return, only getting out to the 9.
But he makes up for it on the next two carries, going for 10 and 28 yards.
Dawson goes for 15, thanks to a big block by OT Steve Whiting.
Fazande picks up a big 3rd and 7, finding scrub WR Dan Campbell for 19. Not nice to call a guy a scrub on a 19 yard gain, I know ...
Brown runs it in from 13 yards out. 24-17, 2:46 left in the 3rd quarter.
DE Smith comes up with a sack on 3rd and 4 to end the next drive.
We pound the ball on the ground during our next possession. Brown crosses the 100 yard mark on his 18th carry.
Moorehead completes a pass to Jackson on 3rd and 7, good for a first down but Jackson is JACKED UP! and fumbles the ball. Air Force recovers at our 15.
We bring big heat on a screen play and Brown dumps it into the hands of streaking CB J.R. Jackson! He stumbles, but keeps on his feet for 16 yards before falling to the turf. We take over at the Air Force 17.
C Nick Moore is injured run-blocking on a 3rd down pickup and it doesn't look like he will be back.
Brown takes it in from 3 yards out. 31-17, 9:25 left to play.
McMullen is doing his job on the kickoffs - four straight touchbacks.
Brown to Ismail for 22 on 3rd and 8. They are 9-16 on 3rd down conversions today.
But 9-17 after failing to pick up 3rd and 10 from their 45. Punt.
Brown has it going on in the second half. He moves the chains with a couple of strong runs, then goes 54 yards on a screen pass for a TD. 2nd time today he has done that to the fly guys. 38-17, 4:15 to play in the game.
QB Brown is pressing at this point, throwing a ball to our LB Travis Wilcox. Looks like he lost his grip on a pump-fake and it squirted into the air a few yards downfield.
Derrick is taking names at this point. He is over 250 total yards (100+ both rushing and receiving) and has 4 TDs.
McMullen gets a garbage time field goal from 41 yards out. 41-17, 0:40 left.
Very strong 2nd half. Hope that our backup QBs can still make plays against Pac 10 defenses when called upon.
A look around the conference:
ASU is off to a 3-0 start and ranked #19 after a 36-17 home win against Cincinnati.
Oregon is also undefeated and has climbed to #10 after a 41-0 demolition job against Southern Mississippi.
Cal is 2-1. Our old friend, QB Victor Glover, threw for 479 yards and 5 TDs in a 55-28 win against Houston.
Stanford is unranked at 2-0. Their stud RB, Eddie Treu had 36 rushes for 160 yards and 3 TDs in a 51-24 win against Kent State.
USC is 3-0, having won 3 straight road games to start the year. I'm not recognizing as many names on their stars of the game, as the new recruits are coming into their own. Freshman RB Jerry King had 22 rushed for 109 yards and 2 TDs.
Washington is 3-0 and ranked #21 after a 26-3 home win against Baylor.
Injury report - our hurt guys from last week are still hurt, with the exception of DT Jared Burford. No new injuries. Still going to be shorthanded heading out to play at Arizona.
We are now at #15 (Media)/#14 (Coaches) in the polls. Still a ton of undefeated teams. Highest one loss team is Michigan, who was a 16-17 loser at Louisville and dropped from 3 to 9.
Looking around the team for guys who may be a little less than excited about their role:
ILB Bryant Bruschi
LG Luis Jones (seems to always happen with starting LG)
That is it - was expecting more discontent at tackle and in secondary. I'm not sure I'll make a move to pacify Bruschi at this point.
We are listed as six point dogs heading into Arizona. They have won their first two games against meh competition. The Wildcats have the #7 offense and #19 defense at the moment.
FR RB Tonnemaker has 457 yards in two games - yikes! On defense they return All-American DT Damein Tate. Their pass defense is #4 against the run. Scouts have highlighted their pass D against FR WR Mike Voight as the critical matchup for today.
The Arizona QB, Heinrich, is a third year starter. For an unranked team, they definitely have some weapons.
Arizona comes out running, picking up 31 yards on four carries to move to our 40.
We force a 4th and 3, and the 51 yard field goal attempt is short. But an offsides penalty gives them a first down. Ugh.
They get 9 on 3rd and 9.
Joe Banducci collects a sack on 3rd down, and Arizona settles for a 33 yard field goal. 3-0, 8:46 left in the quarter.
We send Derrick in motion on 3rd down and QB Greg Moorehead hits him in stride as he runs past the linebacker in coverage. It goes for a 48 yard gain before he is collared by the safety.
Another 3rd down pickup for Moorehead, this time to Ben Jackson.
RB Gannon Dawson is injured while blocking on a reverse and is out for the rest of the game.
McMullen is brought on to kick a 29 yard field goal and it is good.
But another special teams penalty moves it back 5 yards.
And the next attempt is blocked. Wow - I don't have words to express how frustrated I am with our kicking game.
SS Noland King misses Tonnemaker in the backfield, which turns into a 21 yard gain.
UA is flagged for unneccessary roughness.
Heinrich then goes past the line of scrimmage to pick up the 3rd and 22. Thank you refs for catching that one.
We get a huge gainer on a reverse to Mike Voight, who turns it upfield and runs for 42 yards. Down at the 36.
The screen to Brown is becoming our signature play - 12 yards for a first down.
Brown for 19 yards, he threw a ton of moves at the D on that carry. Down to the 5.
But we stall at the 4, as the defense comes up with a couple of big plays.
McMullen converts a 22 yard field goal. 3-3, 14:34 left in half.
Tonnemaker is looking like a Heisman winner. He runs for 19 before being tracked down by CB Elijah McCallister. He has 75 yards on 8 carries up to this point.
15 for Tonnemaker, then another 13. 10 carries for 103 yards in just 19 minutes of play.
The backup RB Bailey takes it in from 13 yards out. 10-3, 11:11 left in half.
QB Derrick Fazande gets 15 on 3rd and 11, connecting with Ben Jackson.
We punt it away on 4th and 2.
Tonnemaker is making 10+ on every touch. When we line up to stop him Heinrich finds WR Matt Martin in single coverage downfield for a 42 yard pickup.
But CB McCallister steps in and gives us the big play we need with a timely interception in the end zone.
3 and out, as Brown is stuffed on 3rd and 2.
3 and out for Arizona, as we finally slow down the young phenom.
CB Ruland Bowens has a big return, almost breaking it before being tackled at the Arizona 32. 36 yard return.
3 and out, losing 4 yards. We can't grab momentum, it seems.
We stupidly bring out McMullen to attempt a 54 yarder, but he is short.
Our premier run-stuffer, DT Jared Burford, goes out of the game. Looks like he may have re-aggrevated an injury.
An offensive pass interference penalty pushes the Wildcats back.
DE Smith gets a big sack on 3rd down, but a holding penalty on McCallister gives them a first down. Nasty, as we are under a minute left and that moves them into our territory.
19 yard pickup, 17 yard pickup - both through the air. The Wildcats want a TD before the half but have to settle for a 28 yard field goal attempt. Good, 13-3 with 0:11 left.
Tonnemaker can't leave soon enough.
Special teams are killing us once again, with some help from penalties.
We aren't sustaining drives or taking advantage of the breaks we have received.
We move the ball out to midfield before Fazande is leveled on a sack. Ball is loose, Arizona starts at our 47.
The defense plays it well, only giving up one first down and forcing a punt.
Brown is picking up his play. 26 yard run, he is now up to 83 yards on 15 carries.
A nasty holding penalty on 3rd and 2 negates a first down and knocks us out of field goal range. Punt.
The next play is wild. Heinrich completes a pass into zone coverage to WR Pierce Stewart. The defender, OLB Travis Wilcox, slips and lets Stewart get into open field. But Wilcox doesn't give up on the play and runs him down, forcing a fumble. It is recovered by fellow OLB Hank Swilling, who screams in pain at the bottom of the pile. Looks like a potentially serious knee injury. We take over at the 48.
Moorehead to Jackson for 14 on 3rd and 10.
Next play, Moorehead finds WR Dan Campbell (looking to shed his scrub reputation), who runs through an arm tackle and into the end zone from 30 yards out. 13-10, 5:17 left in 3rd.
We stuff Tonnemaker on 3rd down. 3 and out.
Unnecessary roughness on our first play.
We are backed up at our 9, 3rd and 32.
Brown fumbles there, but we recover.
Punt, they will start at our 49.
D is money, 3 and out for -1 yards.
The punt pins us at our 5.
We cleverly run a reverse from there, which the defense doesn't buy. WR Mike Voight shows some real nifty footwork to turn the play into a 16 yard gain. Almost busted it ...
DT Tate breaks through the line for a sack, forcing a 3rd and 15.
We punt after a dropped screen pass.
Heinrich to Hunter for 8 on 3rd and 7.
CB Rulon Bowens gets his 4th pick of the year, reading the QB the whole way.
We have the ball at our 39.
16 yards for the FB Morris, who left cleat marks on one Wildcat defender.
Three more runs fail to move the chains and we have to punt from the 44.
Nice punt, downed at the one.
3 and out, narrowly avoiding a safety on 1st down.
Great punt, pushing us back to the 44.
Brown goes over 100 yards on his 24th carry.
We can't pick up a 2nd and 2 on the next two attempts.
The offense is going for it on 4th and 2 with about 5 1/2 to play.
12 yard pickup to Ben Jackson. Woot!
Brown picks up 9 on 3rd and 5 after cutting it back inside. Would have been a long field goal for the tie if we didn't pick that up.
3rd and 4 on the 16, we pick up 2 and are called for holding. Arizona declines the penalty. We go for it instead of taking a 32 yard field goal? McMullen sucks, but this is crazy. The pass is incomplete.
Arizona ball, 2:51 to play.
20 yards for Tonnemaker, up over 150 on the day.
Tonnemaker picks up another first, running out of time ...
3rd and 3 at the 44, under a minute left, this is the game.
We stop them for 2 yards. Punt.
J.R. Jackson returns it 41 yards to the Arizona 40! 0:33 left to play.
Moorehead is picked off throwing to Voight. Game over, we sure had our chances in this one. Defense pitched a 2nd half shutout, but we suffer a bitter, bitter loss in our Pac 10 opener.
Tonnemaker finished with 26 carries for 168 yards. We did a pretty good job with him over the last 3 quarters after getting windburn in the opening frame.
QB play wasn't good enough here: 17-34 for 194 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. But not enough plays in big spots, similar to what we saw in the Boise State game.
Jackson had 8 grabs for 73 yards. We are happy with what he is doing, but are hoping to see some more big plays.
They wanted to shut down Voight and they did - 2 catches for 7 yards.
McMullen was 1-3 on field goals. But I am not flat killing him here as we gave them 3 points on a penalty and took away three of our points with a penalty. McMullen's misses were blocked and from 54 yards. He still sucks, but he should have gotten an attempt to tie this game late.
Our pass defense looks much improved from last year with the freshman infusion. Hopefully when we have a little better health situation we'll be in better position to win games like this.
We'll have a week to get some players healthy before facing Washington State. But from that point on we have six straight weeks without a break.
The loss drops us to #21 in both polls. I think that is fair, although the onus really is on us to prove we can win conference games. So far I'm 2-7 at UCLA in conference play. More losses than I had in five seasons at USC ... ugly, ugly, ugly.
Arizona, up to #19, heads to #8 Washington (4-0) as a three point favorite.
And Arizona makes a statement with a 36-7 win against UW. Another 150 yards game for Tonnemaker.
USC is still unbeaten since I left after a 45-34 win at Stanford.
1. Texas - just beat previously #3 Oklahoma 37-30 in Red River Shootout
3. Ohio St - hard-fought win at home, 21-20 vs previously #9 Minnesota
4. USC - matchup with undefeated Oregon looming
5. Miami (FL)
6. Oklahoma - rated higher than many unbeaten teams
10. Texas Tech
Arizona is #13
Oregon is #14
Washington is #17
We are #20
Arizona St is #22
Virginia, who was in the final eight of playoffs last year, is now 0-5 to start this season.
Bitter loss is right, but I forsee good things in the future.
The injury situation has come along nicely. QB Jack Burford is back to 100%. WR Bill Stablein has come back from his elbow stress fracture faster than could be expected and wants to suit up this week. Ditto OT Lonie Smith, recovering from a slipped disk. Finally, OLB Hank Swilling has shaken off a cracked patella and is likely to play. The only worry is WR Gary Brewer, who is still troubled by knee inflammation.
Harold Edwards is back from his suspension, so our roster is in great shape at the moment. The academic casualties are CB Cliff Ledyard (cut next year, I think) and DE Phil Patten (see Ledyard).
We have our tutors spend extra time with Gary Brewer, Elijah McCallister, and OG James McAddley.
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