UCLA vs. Coastal Carolina: The Good, The Bad, and The Meh
UCLA vs. Coastal Carolina opened their seasons with a thrilling matchup, and it was a game filled with moments that left fans on the edge of their seats. In this breakdown, we’ll dive into the key takeaways from the game, highlighting the good, the bad, and the moments that left us feeling somewhat indifferent.
UCLA vs. Coastal Carolina– The Good:
1. Offensive Line Dominance: Right out of the gate, the Bruins’ offensive line showed its strength. They managed to strike a balance between pass protection and run blocking, creating a secure pocket for their quarterbacks while also bulldozing their way through the opposition in the run game.
2. Carson Steele: Running back Carson Steele emerged as a standout player, displaying remarkable quickness and an explosive burst off the ball. His contributions to the ground game were invaluable, and he looked to fill the shoes of Zach Charbonnet just fine. Both he and Harden showed an exceptional ability to get yards after contact.
3. John Michael Sturdivant: Wide receiver John Michael Sturdivant, affectionately known as JMS, was a shining star in the game. His remarkable athleticism and ability to run past defenders resulted in a stunning 62-yard touchdown pass, leaving fans in awe.
4. Dante Moore’s Impact: When Dante Moore entered the game, the offense transformed. Moore’s mobility added a new dimension, allowing receivers to find open space. His pinpoint touchdown pass to Carson Steele was a highlight of the game. Moore only needed 1 play to Sturdivant to score another 62-yard touchdown to which the crowd erupted with cheers.
5. TJ Harden: Harden showcased exceptional breakaway speed, standing out as a more explosive option in the backfield. The duo of him and Steele should continue to dominate in the run game.
6. Defensive Fronts: UCLA’s defense unleashed a barrage of exotic looks, causing confusion and making life difficult for Coastal Carolina’s offense. Coach Lynn certainly brought some of his NFL experience over to revamp this defense and capitalize on the strength of the front seven
UCLA vs. Coastal Carolina– The Bad:
1. Questionable Quarterback Decision: The decision to put Ethan Garbers back in the game was a confusing one, especially considering the positive impact Moore had on the offense.
2. Defensive Inexperience: Inexperience on the defensive side occasionally showed, particularly when defending Coastal Carolina’s quarterback, McCall, as a runner.
3. Defensive Management Concerns: Issues with managing the defensive line rotation and corner play raised questions about the coaching staff’s decision-making. It was definitely evident that UCLA’s corners are not as good as they were in the past, which is likely
4. Penalties Plague Both Sides: Both the offense and defense committed numerous penalties throughout the game, hindering their progress and giving the opposition opportunities. Coach Kelly mentioned in the post-game press conference that there were a lot of self-inflicted wounds that they need to clean up before next week.
UCLA vs. Coastal Carolina– The Meh:
1. Bend But Don’t Break Defense: The new defensive scheme for the Bruins seemed to take some inspiration from the Los Angeles Rams with a bend-not-break mentality. While the defensive approach prevented the opposition from scoring big, it also faced challenges, particularly against McCall’s mobility.
2. Offensive Execution: The offensive scheme appeared sound, but execution was inconsistent, likely due to a combination of inexperience and penalties.
In conclusion, UCLA vs. Coastal Carolina provided a rollercoaster of emotions for UCLA Bruins fans. While there were both shining moments and areas that need improvement, it’s clear that the potential for a successful season is there. With Dante Moore’s mobility invigorating the offense and a defense that shows promise, the Bruins can look ahead to the season with optimism. The first couple of games are where teams find their identity and still figure things out, and this was no different. For his first college game, Moore did very well. Despite a few bumps along the way, the UCLA faithful have reason to believe in a winning season on the horizon.