Pac-10 Week 3 Notes and Observations: UCLA Bruins

By Dave Consolazio, September 23, 2009 1:12 am

UCLA Bruins 3-0 Overall (0-0 Conference)

This Week’s Score: UCLA 23 – Kansas State 9

Next Week’s Opponent: BYE

I know I keep playing this game, but think back to before the season started. Suppose I told you that heading into week four, two teams in the Pac-10 were going to be 3-0, and both were in California.

I would have been telling you the truth. But who’d have penciled in UCLA to be the undefeated team in Southern California?

UCLA heads into their bye week a perfect 3-0, highlighted of course by their upset win in Tennessee. With Kevin Prince sidelined with a broken jaw, UCLA ran a nice safe offense against Kansas State and let their defense do the work. The Bruins have had at least two interceptions in all three of their contests this season, kept alive last Saturday by Alterraun Verner’s two picks.

While I again don’t claim to know what is best for the team over Rick Neuheisel (who clearly does), I was personally not thrilled at all to see Kevin Craft under center for the Bruins Saturday. He didn’t do much to prove me wrong either; his 13/24, 186 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT day wasn’t all that bad, but against Kansas State, it didn’t do anything to lead me to believe he’s ready to successfully hold the fort down until Prince gets back.

Jonathan Franklin built on his impressive effort against Tennessee, this time rushing for 119 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He and Derrick Coleman (who also had a nice day with 46 yards on eight carries) will be leaned on heavily for the rest of the season, but even more so in Prince’s absence.

I hate to be so hard on Kevin Craft, but I watched enough UCLA games last year to have the image of him throwing a horrible interception and being scolded by Neuheisal for it permanently burned into my skull. When UCLA heads into Stanford to start conference play a week from Saturday, can you really trust him to make plays when the offense needs it, and more importantly to NOT TURN THE BALL OVER?

We don’t know much about Richard Brehaut, but we know plenty about Kevin Craft. I’d love to see Brehaut get a look over the next week and a half, but Saturday’s game told us which direction Neuheisel is leaning. He undoubtedly knows better than I do; but if Craft starts that game and implodes, it’ll be hard not to say I told you so.

But for now, no need to stress about that; enjoy your week off Bruin fans, and congrats on the excellent start.

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