UCLA’s offense looks for answers

first_imgCOLLEGE FOOTBALL: Bruins hope to improve after a lackluster victory last week against BYU. By Brian Dohn STAFF WRITER SALT LAKE CITY – UCLA’s offense scored five touchdowns, accumulated 624 yards and, basically, moved the ball at will in the season opener. But the Bruins’ offense was dormant last week against BYU, and because it felt eerily reminiscent to the 2006 offense, which felt an awful lot like the 2004 offense, skeptics abound. The questions are recited nearly daily: Do the Bruins have a big-time tailback? Can quarterback Ben Olson fulfill his enormous promise when he was a prep icon? Is the offensive line physical enough? Can the offense succeed? Anything but a strong display for No. 11 UCLA (2-0) today at winless Utah (0-2) and those questions will grow exponentially, and the players already hear the grumbling. “It’s time for us to show everybody who we are as an offense,” UCLA right tackle Brian Abraham said. “I keep hearing all these questions about us not being able to score points. It’s time to show everyone and remove all that doubt from everyone’s mind.” That was UCLA’s plan from the outset, but Jay Norvell’s first two games as UCLA’s offensive coordinator brought more of the same questions. Namely, whether this complex version of the West Coast offense can succeed in college, where, unlike the NFL, practice time is limited. Sure, the Bruins scored 45 points against hapless Stanford, but history proves that was an anomaly. It was the most points UCLA scored since the 2005 Sun Bowl. In the high-scoring world of college football, the 20 points the offense was responsible for against BYU would not put the Bruins in the nation’s top 80 teams if it were on a per game basis, and the execution against the Cougars was sloppy. “We need to play at a higher level,” Norvell said. “We wanted to move the ball consistently. We wanted to score when we had the ball in red zone. We just didn’t sustain drives and convert on third down. “We wanted to be more effective on first down and we didn’t throw the ball at the level we wanted to.” Although UCLA players and coaches say BYU was an isolated instance in which passes were dropped, Olson didn’t play his best and the running backs missed holes – not to mention people may be underestimating the Cougars’ defense – the production is similar to past seasons. A year ago, UCLA topped the 27-point total twice – against Utah and Stanford. “There’s no doubt (BYU) was a good defense, but at the same time, after watching film we messed up ourselves,” UCLA left guard Shannon Tevaga said. “Every play, there was one person, going down the row, messing up.” Said Abraham: “We have to focus all the time, execute and play fast. We do that and we’re going to score a lot of points, no matter what.” Part of the blame falls on Olson’s broad shoulders. In UCLA’s offense, which is predicated on the short passing game, coaches strive for a 65 percent completion rate. Olson is 29-for-57 (50.9 percent) in two games, although he was victimized by five dropped passes against BYU, several of which created second-and-long and third-and-long situations. “We’ve got to play at a higher level in the passing game,” Norvell said. “That’s not up to our standards. We had dropped passes, and had people that had opportunities (to make plays), and you can’t have that kind of (in)consistency and be effective in the passing game. It sputters your offense.” While part of the dramatic swing in UCLA’s offensive production through two games correlates to the talent level of each defense, Norvell said the style of defenses was also a factor. “The first game there was a very aggressive defense, took a lot of chances, overran plays,” Norvell said. “(BYU) didn’t move. They just stood there. It was a complete opposite in contrast. Guys have to be able to adjust to different game experiences.” brian.dohn@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

DISGUSTING! FA panel slams actions of Man United defender

first_imgJonny Evans’ actions in spitting at Papiss Cisse were “simply disgusting”, said the Football Association panel that found him guilty of misconduct.The Manchester United defender and Newcastle striker Cisse were both charged after spitting at each other during the Red Devils’ 1-0 victory on March 4 in an incident missed by referee Anthony Taylor.Cisse accepted the charge and a seven-match ban – one extra because of a previous offence this season – but Evans insisted he had not intended to spit at the striker and contested it.However, his appeal was rejected by an FA regulatory commission, which revealed the written reasons for their ruling on Thursday.The report stated: “It is clear that Mr Evans is looking directly and indeed aggressively at Mr Cisse. His lips are ‘pursed’ and he is close to Mr Cisse.“If he was, as alleged to be the case, a person who ‘habitually spits’, then the commission were concerned as to why he did not turn his head away from Mr Cisse when so spitting.“If that had been a family member or indeed another team member or his manager in front and below him would he still have carried out the same manoeuvre?“Mr Evans had (and has) a duty of care, if spitting for whatever reason, not to direct the same in the general direction of an opponent, or indeed anyone else. The video clips clearly show that he failed in his duty of care.“There may, in some quarters, be substantial sympathy for Mr Evans, but the video evidence shows that he did what he did, and the ordinary man in the street will find his action to be simply disgusting and should not be allowed in any walk of life, let alone on any football field.”The written report also reveals Manchester United questioned the length of the suspension but the commission did not consider there were any “truly exceptional” circumstances to reduce it from the standard six matches. 1 Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse clash last_img read more

‘I don’t want another season like this’ – Cech admits he will consider his Chelsea future in the summer

first_img Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech 1 Petr Cech has revealed he will consider his future as a Chelsea player in the summer, with the veteran insisting he has no intention of remaining the club’s second choice goalkeeper.After a decade as the Blues’ number one man between the sticks, the 32-year-old Czech Republic international has had his place taken by 6′ 5″ Belgian giant Thibaut Courtois this season.Cech has made four Premier League starts to Courtois’ 25 this term, but did play in the Capital One Cup final win over Tottenham at Wembley, in what some have interpreted as a show of thanks from manager Jose Mourinho.“I don’t know what the club’s idea will be,” Cech told the website of Czech newspaper Idnes.“It looks like it works well with me and Thibaut as a duo.“But that can work for one season only. I don’t want another one like this.“There always will be speculation. I leave it for the summer.“It will be important to sit down with the club and with the manager to consider all the pros and cons. We will see what will work out the best.”Cech has been linked with a host of top European clubs, including Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal.Mourinho earlier this month insisted he would not stand in Cech’s way should he wish to leave at the end of the season.But Cech’s status means a big fee will be required to prise him from Stamford Bridge as his contract does not expire until the end of next season.“I don’t waste my time trying to persuade him, because I know nobody can persuade him,” Mourinho said.“If he tells me he wants to leave, I will tell him my opinion and my opinion is one of the three best goalkeepers in the world. Huge money.”last_img read more

New boys Bournemouth to host Aston Villa on opening day of Premier League season

first_img Bournemouth celebrate winning promotion to the Premier League Bournemouth will kick off their maiden Premier League campaign against Aston Villa at the Goldsands Stadium.The Cherries, winners of the Championship last season, will then visit Liverpool at Anfield before another tough trip to West Ham.Eddie Howe’s side face a daunting end to the year, with clashes against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal in December.Click here to see the full Premier League fixture list for 2015-16 1last_img read more