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Westsider Rider

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thoughts from the Rose Bowl

Saturday morning got up early as is customary for College Football Saturdays but for the first time in years it was not to watch Michigan. I bought tickets to the UCLA Big Game Plan which includes games against Oklahoma, Cal and USC so me and my friends took the trip up to the Rose Bowl to watch the Bruins take on the Sooners. I didn't have to worry about my Wolverines for one week, at least I hoped I didn't have to, and got to the Rose Bowl to start tailgating. After a few beers in I got the call that we were up 38-0 at halftime and I wouldn't have to worry about anything.

Headed into the Rose Bowl for the first time since the actual Rose Bowl of last season and man was it different. Considering this was supposed to be a big game it did not have the feel of it. Walking inside the stadium it sort of felt dead, mostly due to the fact that almost half the stadium was empty. If you had seen the crowd you would've thought that it was for the game against Rice the week before. One thing that I can't stand and is really stupid regarding West Coast/Pac-10 football is the people that are on the mic that tell people what cheers to make. I've been to games now at UCLA, USC and Cal and there is always someone on the mic telling people what cheer to do and when. Not sure if this occurs at the other Pac-10 schools but it shouldn't.

Now for the game itself, Oklahoma opened up with a great call on the reverse since the first time Adrian Peterson came in the game they knew everyone would be focusing on him. UCLA tried to get Maurice Drew going but there was no space to be found running the ball anytime, except for near the end of the game when Drew sealed it with his big run. So the Bruins had to go to the air and Drew Olson did a great job going 28 of 38 and hitting 9 different receivers throughout the game, IIRC. Although Justin Medlock missed his first FG attempt he does have a leg as evidenced by his 51 yarder later in the first half.

I was also very impressed with the UCLA Defense, early on when they caused AP to fumble and then in the 2nd half when they opened up with the sack and fumble which was returned for a TD. They kept AP in check and did an ok job in pass D. I read today one of the ESPN guys call Justin London and Spencer Havner the West Coast version of Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway from Iowa and I think it's a good comparison. Those two LB's for the Bruins are definitely underrated as people don't think defense is played anywhere on the west coast. Another player that deserves mention is Jarrad Page who had a good game as well.

I think Coach Dorrell is turning that corner and will be ready to take on the Trojans soon. For those of you that don't follow the rivalry, the USC-UCLA rivalry is extremely one sided for a while only to switch back to the other side. USC has won the last 6 but before that UCLA won the previous 8. I definitely liked some of his play calling especially in the 4th quarter after Oklahoma cut the deficit back to 3 with 3rd and 1 on the 19 yard line he called a play action pass and Drew Olson hit a wide open Marcedes Lewis for a TD to push it back up to 10. My brother and I commented on how Coach Carr would never make a call like that as he would call for a run up the gut which would be stuffed and then kick the FG.

When Michigan decides to open up our playbook you get games like the Minnesota game of 2003 and the 2000 Orange Bowl where the offense becomes unstoppable. There are always playmakers at Michigan that are underutilized and I'm sick and tired of it. Watching NFL highlights yesterday saw Braylon Edwards take a quick slant and take it to the house for 80 yards, we never see that play at Michigan when we could do that not only with Edwards but now with Breaston, Manningham and Bass. I don't understand all this talk in the off season about getting the ball to players in space and we have yet to do that.

Back to the game I did watch on Saturday, I am definitely impressed with what I saw and the Bruins will be making a run this year to dethrone the Trojans, I don't think they have enough yet, but who knows they almost did it last year. I am definitely excited to see the UCLA-Cal game that will be taking place in 3 weeks at the Rose Bowl as neither team will be tested again until then and we will see if Cal is for real this year or not since they have struggled early on with opponents they shouldn't be.


  • you missed the michigan game?! what kind of fan are you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:23 AM  

  • Lay off, already. I think he's entitled to take a week off after the ND debacle. Michigan had an automatic win that doesn't really reveal much about the state of the team, and he had tickets to a pretty cool game and a good day in Pasadena. (Too bad only 50,000 showed up.)

    Now if he misses part of the Minnesota game to get to the UCLA-Cal game early, you can hate on him. But he clearly knows a lot about the program.

    By Anonymous Andy, at 12:18 PM  

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