|Bruins 2-0, but hardly perfect|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 10 September 2007 16:23|
Their offense sputtered and stalled at times, and their defense gave up lots of passing yards.
Still, after building a 20-0 lead, they withstood a second-half rally by Brigham Young for a 27-17 victory.
Tailback Kahlil Bell thought the Bruins offense regressed.
``We're not where we need to be,'' said Bell, who carried 16 times for 84 yards and a touchdown against the Cougars on Saturday. ``I think we came out against Stanford and did a good job, but against BYU we kind of took a step back.
``But that's the great thing - we can go back, watch film, fix it and move on to the next game.''
Ben Olson seemed to take a giant step backward, same as he did after an impressive first game last year. Olson threw for 286 yards and five touchdowns in UCLA's 45-17 win at Stanford to open this season, but passed for 126 yards and no scores with an interception against BYU.
``It wasn't just Ben,'' UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. ``We had receivers drop balls, we had missed assignments in some execution up front, we had misreads by our backs. Like I'm the head coach, I get blamed when things aren't going good. Ben Olson's our guy on offense.
``Ben's going to do what he needs to do. He can sure play better; he'll be the first to admit that. But I think everyone on offense left the game feeling good about the way we finished the game, but they know they left a lot of points out there on the field.''
UCLA's defense gave up 391 passing yards. BYU's Max Hall was 30-of-52 with two touchdowns. The Bruins also looked vulnerable to the pass at times in the opening win over Stanford.
``Defensively, we've had some struggles, too,'' Dorrell said. ``People are throwing the ball a lot more than they have in the past. When your last two opponents have thrown the ball (more than 50 times apiece), that's a telltale sign that teams are going to think the only way you can have success is throwing the ball.
``There's a lot of things we can improve with our coverage with our secondary and our linebackers. Our offense and our defense has to evolve to understand that people are going to pick on areas that they perceive to be weaknesses.''
The Bruins travel to Salt Lake City this weekend to face Utah (0-2). UCLA is 8-0 against the Utes, including last year's 31-10 opener at the Rose Bowl. Olson passed for 318 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
Bell and Dorrell each talked about the Bruins mistakes being correctable on both sides of the ball, and a number of positives did come out of their latest win.
BYU had dominated another Pac-10 team the previous weekend, beating Arizona 20-7. The Cougars definitely aren't a second-rate team.
``They're not a bad team, regardless of what conference (the Mountain West) they play in or what other people might have said,'' Bell said. ``Those guys came to play on Saturday.
``They're a mature, physical and disciplined team. They gave us their best shot and we took it and we came out with the victory.''
Dorrell was pleased with the way the Bruins kept their composure after BYU pulled within 20-17 on a pair of third-quarter touchdowns.
``We definitely have grown from that experience, being able to overcome some of the third-quarter adversity,'' he said. ``We did settle ourselves in and had a great finish. I was really impressed with how our players hung in there and didn't panic.''
Said Bell: ``When it was time to finish it and put a score on the board, that's what we did. When we needed to put the team away, we put them away. Regardless of the final score and all that, we made it happen.''