Saturday, September 18, 2004

Final: UCLA 37 Washington 31

vs. Washington. The Bruins beat Illinois last week, and they beat them pretty soundly. Is this cause for optimism? Not quite. The offense DID look like they were clicking, and they limited themselves to only one turnover. However, Illinois is not Okie State, and certainly will not be confused with any of the major powerhouses of the Big 10. Indeed, Illinois has not won a game against Div I teams since 2002. So while a win is a win is a win, I must temper my enthusiasm. Especially since the next game is with a Pac-10 team UW. We also play them at their house, and Husky stadium is one noisy, rowdy, and scary place.

Further, the team has the ability to play the option. That is a style of running the ball in which the quarterback runs and then has the option to keep it, hand it off or pitch it outside. A good defenese can stop the option, but the Bruins do not have a good defense. It's not necessarily bad, but it is very young up front and that is worrisome. There are also two wild card factors: quarterback Casey Paus and wide receiver coach Steve Axman.

Casey Paus is the younger brother of former Bruin quarterback Cory Paus. Cory was the starter for three seasons but many fans took their frustrations out on his weak arm and the DUI conviction he failed to tell the coach about. When he was exposed, he was not penalized while others were. Charges of favoritism supposedly split the team. He graduated with ill feelings for the team and school.

Steve Axman was the offensive coordinator last year. The vaunted West Coast offense--as envisioned by Coach Dorrell--never came to pass. Axman was the scape goat.

We'll see what happens...

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