Kyle Okita

He Said. She Said. UCLA Wrap

Another week, another game that the Beavers had a chance to win. The He said-She said duo discuss how we saw the game and what went right and what went wrong.

She said: Offense

I’m running out of things to say about the Beaver offense. They are struggling, but it isn’t for lack of trying.  

They haven’t given up and they continue to fight, they just make too many mistakes to overcome a talent differential in a lot of cases.  It isn’t a knock, but part of the re-building process, especially when overhauling the entire offensive system.

I really focused on the play of quarterback Marcus McMaryion this week. What I noticed was a tendency to not read the whole defense and simply go with his first read, many times forcing the ball into tight coverage or missing the receiver completely.

He also doesn’t seem to take the ball on the read option. I counted one time that he kept the ball against UCLA. Twice last week against Stanford.  

He can move too, so hopefully we see him keep it a few more times over the last two weeks.

She said offensive grade:  D

He said Offense:

UCLA has a pretty good defense so I’m again giving the Beaver offense a bit of a pass.

Plus, they weren’t playing with their best player in Ryan Nall, which doesn’t bode well against a top conference defense on the road.

One of the reasons I didn’t pick the Beavers to win was the ability of UCLA’s star DE Takkarist McKinley.  And he didn’t disappoint.

OT Sean Harlow, who is arguably the most skilled offensive lineman on the Beavers roster, struggled mightily with McKinley all night.

While McKinley only registered one sack, he harassed McMaryion throughout the game and really set the tone for the Bruin defense.

Overall, I thought McMaryion was average in the game.   He managed it fairly well and made some decent throws.  Yes, he tends to lock onto his first read, but he throws a decent ball and is fairly accurate.  

Unfortunately, the two big mistakes he made (his interception and fumble) were backbreakers.

The fumble came deep in UCLA territory in the middle of the second quarter.  They were in field goal range at that point and were driving for a tying score at the time.

The interception late in the fourth quarter, of course, put the final nail in the coffin.  

On the positive, the defenses he faces the next two weeks will be at nowhere near the level of the ones he’s faced the last few weeks.  

He said offensive grade:  C-

She said Defense:

How about Manase Hungalu? What a game he had against the Bruins, earning his first Giant Killer Stone Award of the year with five tackles, an interception and two fumbles, including a ‘scoop and score’.

The good news? Hungalu will be back next year for his senior season.

Another positive? The young Beaver defense continues to fight and improve.  

The top two tacklers in the game were true freshmen Andrzej Hughes-Murray and Shemiah Unutoa-Whitson.

In fact, of the eighteen defenders who registered stats on Saturday night, seven were freshmen or sophomores and all but three will be back next season.

The youth movement on defense is in full effect and it is easy to forget that the Beavers were without Bright Ugwoegbu and several other young promising players who saw early action before injury sidelined them at some point this season.

Like the offense, the fight is there. Now, to just make a few more key stops at the right time will make all the difference.

She said defensive grade: C+

He said Defense:

Yes, the defense had some solid points (see Angie’s summary above), but they didn’t quite play up to the level they had been playing recently.

UCLA came into the game averaging 399 yards a game.   They amassed 444 in this game.

The Bruin run game has been abysmal all year, averaging 79 yards a game entering the contest.   They were able to double their normal total against the beleaguered Beaver D, racking up 163 yards on the ground.  

So while there were some big plays, including the first defensive score since the Idaho State game, there wasn’t enough consistency to make it an above average outing.

He said defensive grade:  C-

She Said: Coaching/Overall:

This part of the re-build feels much tougher than the blowouts last year.  This year’s team is still outmanned, but they are fighting and coming closer each week.

The next two weeks offer a huge opportunity for the team and the staff to seize momentum both for recruiting purposes and winter conditioning/spring camp.  Two wins, at home, will help get the fanbase on board as well.

Two very winnable games starting with a Dad’s Weekend special against Arizona.  Can the Beavers string together four quarters of good football to beat a bad Arizona team? They have a week to prepare.

She said coaching/overall grade: C

He said: Coaching/Overall:

Let’s talk about the penalty problem.  Gary Andersen was none too pleased about the 12 penalties for 119 yards called on the Beavers.

“There are some penalties there and we can all whine and we can cry about this or that but I am not going to stand up here and get fined either,” Andersen said following the game.  “So I am not going to do either one of those things. I am just telling you right now I refuse to be part of an undisciplined football team. Something has got to change. Me, the coaches, the players we will see. So we will figure it all out.”

But the penalty issue has been ongoing the entire season.  The Beavers now rank 122nd out of 128 teams in penalties per game, averaging 74.8 yards a game.  

The only solace?  There are three (3!) Pac-12 teams that are worse than the Beavers in penalty yardage per game.  

How about the offense?  Is the co-offensive coordinator thing working?  

The offense averaged 336 yards per game last year and is currently averaging 350 yards per game this year.   

They only managed 307 yards against the Bruins.

Interestingly, last year’s yardage average was good for 110th (out of 127 teams) and this year’s improved number is currently good for 113th (out of 128 teams).    

So while the actual offensive numbers are slightly improved, there doesn’t appear to be any improvement (and actually a bit of a regression) when comparing across the field.

However, with two of the league’s worst defenses still on the schedule, we might actually get to say there’s been some improvement on the offensive side.

He said coaching/overall grade:  C


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