Questions Swirling Around Bruins

So lot of BYU fans are feeling pretty confident about their games against us on Saturday. They are coming off an emotional win at a tough Pac-10 venue and are now fired up to get over their main obstacle – UCLA – on their road to a BCS bowl game. So can’t really blame them for getting all fired up.

As of Sunday BYU opened up as 9 point favorite over UCLA per the Salt Lake Tribune:

BYU is a nine-point favorite over UCLA in this Saturday's game at LaVell Edwards Stadium, according to this Web site.
I figured the Cougars would be favored between four and six points, but what do I know? I think the betting public will go with UCLA, and wouldn't be surprised to see the point spread drop to around seven by game time.

Not sure where the line is right now. But 7 points seems to be a fairly substantial margin.

Yet according to some BYU fans like byujim, who have been offering some good takes here on BN, Bruins will have a chance to pull out an upset on Saturday:

The way to beat BYU? I’ve been watching long enough that I know how it’s been done. The first is to get them riled up. Emotion works against this Cougar team (they should be more mature due to their age, but a lot of times they aren’t). Get a lot of penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct, holding and false starts. Next, get a good defense in there to stop the run. UCLA has good enough cover corners to stack the box with 9 if they wanted to and effectively take away both dimensions of this game. And lastly, get Craft to play like the second half of the Tennessee game instead of the first!

Well, right now there are big question marks IMO on exactly how Craft is going to play. I know lot of folks are hoping Craft’s second half performance will carry over into Saturday. But I think we will have to wait and see. As we have been tracking practice reports, he can be very streaky.

Also as mentioned this am, it would really help if we can put together a semblance of a running game. I know some folks are wondering why Moline is starting (since Bell is looking “doubtful”) in place of some one like Carter who has the speed to break through. Well, Chow alluded to the fact that Moline is a good “zone runner”. I think another factor we might have to consider that coaches probably think Moline is a better blocker within their protection scheme (See tasser's point here). I think this is probably a significant factor into Chow’s game planning.

Anyway, as Tydides pointed out right now there are lot of questions despite the exhilarating win from labor day re. what our Bruins can bring to the table:

If for no other reason than for their opponent, this is the first road test for a very young team. For better or worse, we had quite a bit of experience last year. What kind of experience we had is up for debate, but it was certainly more than what we have currently. Frankly, if we see a repeat performance of the first half from the Tennessee game, that will likely be game over, and there’s no doubt that our defense will be called upon to shoulder more than its share of the burden, as will probably be the case the rest of the season. The UW game showed that BYU knows how to execute. They are the known quantity. What will the Bruins bring to the table? I think that’s the real question, and I don’t think anyone has the answer to it.

Again here are some of the questions swirling around our team:
  • Which Craft are we going to see on Saturday: the one from first half or the one who led the glorious comeback in the second?
  • Will our offense be able to put together some semblance of a running game giving Craft some room to operate and helping us to sustain some long drives?
  • Will the defense be able to put enough pressure on Hall to get him off rhythm?
  • Who will win the battle of trenches between BYU's OL v. the UCLA DL (anchored by the Killer B's)?\
  • Will our LBs be able to contain Pitta?

I am sure you all can think of few more. But just like Tydides right now I don't have the answers.

So I think once again it’s important for all of us to not lose perspective after first game while we wait to find out some of the answers on Saturday.

GO BRUINS.

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