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December 27, 2005

The Season - Part III

The coaches knew for UCLA to be successful they must turn the offense into a scoring machine and what a scoring machine the offense turned out to be. The staff probably even surprised themselves how Bruins lit up the scoreboard. Because the offense was so good the Bruins were able to have a very special season. UCLA started the season on the road taking the 405 south to San Diego where they took on the San Diego State Aztecs.

UCLA treated its fans with a vision of what the rest of the season had in store for them. The offense showcased a very balanced attack.

Maurice Drew thrilled fans with run of 64 yards and a touchdown on the first play UCLA of the game. Drew would end up running for 114 yards and averaging 10.4 yards per carry on the day.

Drew Olson threw for 246 yards, seven of them to Marcedes Lewis. This game was definitely a sign of things to come.

Olson and his Bruin teammates would improve every week. They would put together a string of thrilling come from behind wins that had the Bruin Nation on the edge of their seats week in, week out.

The heart of this team was on display for all to see. The attitude was different and the desire to win was incredible. The Bruins had come together and became the team UCLA fans had hoped for.

The coaches had succeeded making this team think and play like competitors. It was never a matter of talent alone. It was getting this team to believe in themselves and the system and believe they did.

The Bruins had put a string together of eight straight victories and a number seven ranking. The Bruin Nation was on fire and expectations suddenly changed. Now everyone wanted an undefeated season and a big bowl game.

The reality about this team had not changed but the team's heart, desire and their refuse to lose attitude of this team hid the problems and because this was such a high powered offense, the Bruins were never out of any game.

One to many injuries would come back to bite the Bruins. This program isn't at a point when going through a ration of injuries there isn't a big drop off. UCLA's recruiting efforts are taking care of depth issues and in couple of years there should be competitive depth at every position.

The hard work the Bruins put in the off-season paid off handsomely in the fourth quarter. UCLA was a better-conditioned team this year and it paid off in fourth quarter comebacks. Staying at UCLA and working with the staff during the off-season rewarded this team in victories.

A lot of the action that translates into victories goes on in the off-season. That was a lesson the Bruin players learned that this year.

Sadly games aren't always won with heart and after the Bruins opened the season 8-0 they quickly came back to earth.

UCLA went into Arizona expecting to beat the two and five Wildcats. After all, the Wildcats had lost 19 of their last 21 Pac-10 games, and looked to be no match for the Bruins.

Was it over-confidence or was Arizona the first team to really expose UCLA's weakness? It was probably a bit of both, but the Bruins got their first taste of defeat and they did not like it.

The Bruins would lose to Arizona on that day 52-14, it was a very difficult loss for the team because they felt like they let themselves down. However the attitude of this team would shine through and they would not give up on the season they would fight harder to win the next game. Arizona exposed the Bruins to a certain extent and now they must make some changes before their next game.

During the Dorrell era the Bruins have bounced back after defeat and once again UCLA followed that trend by beating the once highly ranked Arizona State Sun Devils. It was a gratifying win after the Wildcat loss and the loss they had suffered at the hands of the Sun Devils year ago.

The last game of the season was shocking to all who saw it. USC totally dominated the Bruins. USC had played up to it's potential and wanted to make a statement out of this game.

UCLA played hard, but that wasn't going to get it done on this particular Saturday. Plain and simply put UCLA was outmanned up front on both sides of the ball. The result was not pretty.

Examine the facts, USC was coming off a championship season with a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and a future Heisman winner in its backfield. Once again the Trojans are playing in the national championship game.

USC's recruiting had been sensational and they want to keep the edge. USC felt the heat and didn't like the recent love UCLA was getting so the Trojans made the rivalry game, a statement game. The Trojans let the Bruins know where they have to go to get to the next level.

The UCLA s staff was already ahead of the game as they had already secured one of the best recruiting classes in the nation long before the USC game. They were able to do so even though UCLA had to fight through the negative recruiting tactics and the not so kind media in its own backyard.

There were radio talk shows screaming for Coach Dorrell's head, negative posts on every board and a lot of frustration among Bruin fans made their job even harder. But as we would come to see in his team Coach Karl Dorrell only got tougher and more determined to get the job done. Now he knew he had some talent that was a team and they would give 100% to beating the Trojans.

Nobody wanted to win this game more than the Bruins. But face it; we are still a bit away from being on the same level as the Trojans. UCLA is getting closer every year and this staff is getting the job done.

A lot has been made this year about certain recruits but the bottom line is if the recruits that are already onboard sign this will be a top twenty class.

This incoming class will be another piece of the puzzle. UCLA showed what they are capable of if they listen to the coaches and train the proper way. Right now they are nine and two, how many teams in the nation can say that?

The Bruins have a bowl game coming up and they are determined to win it and knowing this team they probably will. UCLA has wetted their fans appetite and expectations will be high again next year. A bowl win can go a long way towards building next year's team.


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