Seemingly lost in all the hubbub about the play of quarterback Cade McNown and tailback Skip Hicks in UCLA's 38-14 victory over Washington State, was the play of the Bruin special teams, a problem all season.
The kickoff and punt coverage teams have been contributing factors to UCLA's 4-5 record, with several personnel shake-ups having been made in an effort to find a combination to produce a field-position advantage, something the Bruins have lacked much of the season.
The kickoff problems were easy enough to solve, at least Saturday in the Rose Bowl. Seven times, Greg Andrasick kicked off. Seven times the ball went into--and sometimes through--the end zone, and the two that were returned (one was from six yards deep in the end zone) came out only to the 19- and 15-yard lines.
The coverage unit included three walk-ons: freshman Joey Strycula and sophomores Adam Wong and Micah Denison.
The punting woes were helped by Chris Sailer putting four of his seven tries inside the 20-yard line, including a ball to the Cougar one and two to the eight. One punt sailed 61 yards, going out of bounds on the Washington State 11.
The Bruins escaped Saturday's game largely injury free, with the only problem of note to reserve linebacker Ryan Neufeld, whose hamstring strain will probably keep him out of the Arizona game this week.