There was a severe beating handed out in Eugene, Oregon last night. The Oregon Ducks looked like a monster of a well oiled machine while the UCLA Bruins looked slow, clumsy and a little lost. The Ducks took the lead early and scored at will while their defense shutdown UCLA’s stagnant offense possession after possession. Although, shutting them down seemed like something a high school team could have done last night.
UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel and offensive coordinator Norm Chow had a game plan last night. At least that is what we thought before the game. Since their quarterback, Richard Brehaut, was only making his second start of the year perhaps they thought they should keep the ball on the ground. That is a perfectly acceptable thing to do in that situation. But it is not acceptable to keep running it after getting stuffed over and over. For three and a half quarters we had to sit and watch them run this dogshit play straight up the gut only to have the same result every single time. It was abundantly clear by halftime (that’s being generous) that they would have to break down and perhaps run the ball outside the hash marks. Unfortunately, both Neuheisel and Chow weren’t watching the same game as the rest of us and went straight back to their game plan for the second half. This would be the reason UCLA couldn’t cover the line, despite getting 26 points.
UCLA fans shouldn’t be too bothered by this. Neuheisel hasn’t been doing much since he arrived in LA. In his third year of a five year contract, ol’ Ricky has himself a 14-17 overall record and a disgusting 7-14 record in PAC-10 play. His record against Top 25 teams is 3-8 with one of those wins coming from then #18 Tennessee in 2008 after UT missed the winning field goal. They celebrated hard knocking off a ranked oppenent and then the next week got their faces rubbed in the dirt by #18 BYU, 59-0. I can’t only blame Neuheisel though, he has friggin’ Norm Chow at the helm of his offense and he still can’t win games? Chow was a sought after OC and a candidate for the head coaching job himself. He led the USC Trojans to National Championships in 2003 and 2004 and yet he still can’t get this team, who’s 2009 recruiting class was ranked #5, turned in the right direction. Do you fire both guys and start anew or do you just can Neuheisel and name Chow interim coach? Either way, I can’t Neuheisel making it to the end of his contract at UCLA.
Now, let’s not credit the Oregon win to a helpless UCLA defense. The Ducks are a legit contender for the National Championship and, in my opinion, deserve to be ranked ahead of Oklahoma. Their offense is, in a word, disgusting. It is just mean what they are doing to not just UCLA’s defense, but all of the defenses that are put in front of them. Their pace on the ball is so intense that ESPN didn’t even have time to show complete replays of previous plays because they were already at the line, mid cadence. I imagine the referees won’t be getting out of bed until tomorrow as to rest from their non stop running. LaMichael James, who if wasn’t a serious Heisman contender before proved it last night by putting on a clinic, rushing for 123 yards on 20 carries and 2 scores. Even James’ back-up Remene Alston ran for 75 yards on 8 carries and scored 3 times. When running the ball wasn’t an option, which frankly wasn’t often, Ducks QB Darren Thomas went to the air throwing for 308 yards and 3 scores. Although most impressive on the offensive side of the ball would have to be the Oregon Mascot, who did a grand total of 303 push ups last night. For the record, on the season he is at 1,940 and it doesn’t look like he will be slowing down.
This offense is prolific and unless another team conditioned all off season to be able to keep up with them, they will just wear down every defense they go up against. To me, it seems clear that Oregon will be dancing in the desert come January.