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A source of pride
Let’s "pound some meat and get some touchdowns"
By: Malamute, 11 November 2002

No, I’m not giving up on this season. Clearly, the Huskies need to win the next two games, of which they are capable of doing.

However, on the journey to two more wins, it’s kosher for a fan, anyway, to think about next season.

The Huskies’ offensive line needs a source of pride for next season—engendered by a gifted runner who can post those 100-yards-rushing per game. Consecutive 100-yard games next season, regardless of whom they come from—Rich Alexis, Chris Singleton, Kenny James, or a newcomer—will instill that pride and self-assurance our linemen need.

This season, UCLA’s offensive linemen have had an abundance of self-assurance since the emergence of Tyler Ebell.

According to UCLA guard, Eyoseph Efseaff, in a quote from the Los Angeles Times, “When a running play is called, there is a different sense of urgency in the huddle. We get to pound some meat and get some touchdowns. We are roaring off the ball.”

Tyler Ebell has had six consecutive 100-yard games since he broke into the UCLA lineup. UCLA has had a 100-yard rusher 13 times in the last two seasons. That number would be higher if DeShaun Foster hadn’t been suspended after 8 games last season.

Because of its potential running game, UCLA was our early pick to win the Pac-10 crown this season—with the proviso, of course, that Cory Paus stayed healthy. Even with his loss, the Bruins have played a remarkable season thus far, thanks to their offensive line.

Offensive linemen can point to the team's rushing statistics as a measure of their performance. In turn, the running backs will give credit to the offensive line for their successes.

For the Dawgs’ offensive linemen next season, where is this source of pride to come from?

  • Clearly, Rich Alexis needs the option to be effective. Big gains off the option, when he could get to the outside and find room to run, were responsible for his outstanding freshman season. Unfortunately, since Cody Pickett can’t run the option, that leaves Alexis high and dry—and undeservedly so. He’s a talent to be reckoned with.

  • Chris Singleton is capable of running inside. He can find the seams and cutback lanes. However, the blocking hasn’t been there for him this season.

  • Kenny James is an unknown, as would be any runner the Huskies will recruit, whether he is a J.C. transfer or an incoming freshman.

  • If for whatever reason, Pickett can’t play a portion of next season, then either Casey Paus or Isaiah Stanback might try the option. If one of them can run it effectively, that brings Alexis back into the picture.

  • The offensive line should be deeper and more effective next season. If so, then all of the Huskies’ runners will benefit, and one or more of them could post those 100-yard games that grab headlines.

That 100-yard rusher—a source of pride for the offensive line—will translate into more wins next season: They will pound some meat and get some touchdowns.



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