The UCLA football team is still looking for their first win of the season and there is a slim chance they get it this weekend against Washington. A very slim chance.
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So with such a small window for success, why even do a “3 Keys to Victory”? Well for one thing, if UCLA wins, I look like a genius. If they lose, it is just another article supporting the Bruins.
But it goes beyond that. Wins are important, but UCLA also needs to create small victories for themselves within the game. Right now, that is the most important thing to watch for.
1. Continue to Use Unseen Formations
UCLA had their best half of the season against Colorado. In the first half, they showed new formations and motions which confused Colorado. The Bruins were able to march down the field with a balanced running and passing attack. UCLA had 96 passing yards and 95 rushing yards. It was a beautiful sight to see and showed some semblance of an offense that knows what they are doing.
If UCLA can sustain drives, that will be good for them and the defense, which won’t be out on the field that often. And if the defense isn’t gassed by the end of the game…
2. The Defense Needs to Play Like Madmen
The defense can play with some fire, but they have been getting burned. With the offense going three and out way too often, the defense is spent by the end of the game. For the sake of argument, let us say the offense is handling their business. In that case, the defense must go out and impose their will on the offense.
The pass rush has shown that they can disrupt defenses. They need to continue that by getting into the backfield throwing QB Jake Browning off his game. They also need to slow down RB Myles Gaskin. The best way to do that is wrap up their man AND MAKE THE TACKLE! I am not sure why UCLA has this problem (still), but it needs to be fixed and the Bruins need to capitalize on it.
3. Dorian Thompson-Robinson Must Stay in the Game (and Be More Accurate)
Making a major change to the offense, like replacing the quarterback, could have severe consequences, that is why DTR must stay in the game. But he also has to prove that he is worthy of staying in the game.
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Thompson-Robinson had a solid first half against Colorado and then it fell to pieces after halftime. He needs to improve his accuracy, avoid sacks, sustain drives and put the ball in the end zone. It is easier said than done, but it is possible.
He has shown that he is capable of it, not he needs to extend it. DTR is the future and needs to play like it. This is his position to lose and to do that, he needs to figure out ways to create small victories which will eventually turn into game victories.