The best thing that could be said about UCLA’s performance Saturday was it was a win.
The worst thing that could be said about UCLA’s performance was it was a win over San Jose State.
In between sits a gray area as the Bruins prepare for Saturday’s game against Texas.
“A win is a win,” running back Derrick Coleman said.
“It could have been a lot worse,” quarterback Richard Brehaut said. “We could have lost.”
Some might be thinking the Bruins did, given the fact the 27-17 victory came against a San Jose State team that won only three games the previous two seasons and was coming off a 57-3 loss to Stanford.
So now the task is turning a win into a victory.
“We have to start taking it personally,” Coleman said. “We have to show people who we are from the opening kickoff to the last play.”
That didn’t start until the second half Saturday.
This seems the theme to Coach Rick Neuheisel’s post-practice rant last Wednesday, which he underscored by shouting, “I can’t be the only one who cares.”
The Bruins seemed indifferent into the fourth quarter, even with the score tied at 17. With only 42,685 in attendance, there was two ways to look at this.
The Rose Bowl was half full: Coleman had 135 yards rushing, all in the second half, including a 24-yard touchdown run.
The Rose Bowl is half empty: It took awhile for the Bruins to finally seem to realize they outweighed San Jose State by an average of 40 pounds along the offensive line (and had a 240-pound running back).
Neuheisel said, “We wanted to do that” earlier, but “we kept seeing chances down the field, that unfortunately we were not able to capitalize on. For us to be the team we want to be, we have to make big plays.”
The Rose Bowl is half full: Twice the defense got the ball back after the offense gave it away with the score tied. Linebacker Sean Westgate stopped San Jose State at the 17-yard line with an interception. Cornerback Sheldon Price’s interception set up a 20-yard field goal.
The Rose Bowl is half empty: Both passes were thrown by San Jose State’s third-string quarterback Blake Jurich, who was tossed into his first college game when Dasmen Stewart left with cramps.
However, “when the defense does that, you have no idea the motivation it gives the offense,” Brehaut said.
“We put our focus on Texas,” Brehaut said. “We have to watch films and see what we can do better, what I could have done better. We weren’t doing things offensively we wanted to do. We turned the ball over.”
But they won.
Neuheisel said quarterback Kevin Prince, who was held out of Saturday’s game because of a sprained right shoulder, would be ready for the Texas game. Neuheisel said he would not name a starting quarterback this week.
Linebacker Glenn Love (dislocated shoulder) will return to practice Tuesday, Neuheisel said.
No pep talk
Neuheisel did not give a postgame address to the crowd Saturday.
“It has become a distraction as soon as [the media] started asking about it,” Neuheisel said. “It wasn’t meant to be a publicity thing. I love the Bruins’ fans and want to share my thoughts with them. When it became an issue, it was no longer worth it.”