Saturday, September 01, 2007

Bruins look pretty good

Those who weren't with us last fall can be warned; I'll be blogging about football, especially UCLA football. I played Freshman football at UCLA 'way back when they had Freshman teams and if you stuck it out through three weeks of pre-school-starting practices, they issued you a uniform and (in my case) a seat on the bench for most of the time. If you want a hint as to just how long ago it was, we were still playing single-wing back then.

Anyway, our guards coach told us before the Stanford game that through our college careers, if we were at all human, we would come to hate Stanford with a passion. They called themselves the Harvard of the West, had a superior air and thought their shit didn't stink-- so I want you guys to go out and kick their patrician asses. It was a tough game, in fact, but we (our team, that is, I got in just at the tail end) did so. I never did develop a hatred for Stanford, however. In fact, with the time I've spent at the Hoover Institution and other seminars and conferences, I've developed a certain affection for the place.

That doesn't mean I ever want anything but a UCLA victory in a football game against them, however, so today's 45-17 pasting was quite satisfactory, thank you. During training camp reporters and coaches have raised questions about whether UCLA's offense, working with a new offensive coordinator, was going to catch on and be up to snuff by the time real games started. Ben Olsen, the quarterback, had been injured last year, so he wasn't as experienced as one might like. UCLA has a good defense, and playing against it in scrimmages the offense sometimes seemed shaky, able to gain yards but not always able to push it into the end zone.

They answered a lot of those questions today. Olsen had five TD passes and Kahlil Bell ran for 195 yards. And just from the look of them, Stanford, under new coach Jim Harbaugh, is likely to be much better this year than last. They never let up, and their quarterback, T.J. Ostrander, did a lot of good things, and the offensive line protected him pretty well, something of a surprise. But UCLA was just better today -- and probably would be most days these two teams played.

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