BN Game Day Roundup: Bounce Back Saturday?

Datone and the Bruin defense will need to set the tone early. Photo Credit: Telemachus

You know you have had a productive game week here on BN, when going through the morning papers on game day, it appears we had already exhausted discussion all angles and story lines heading into this afternoon's kickoff. Again we don't have any new themes to introduce this morning as Bruins prepare for another big and incredibly difficult Pac-10 matchup this afternoon at the Rose Bowl. We have talked about the Ducks' injury issues all week. I think they are going to be just fine even with the injuries given the depth they have built up in that program thanks to the stable leadership of Mike Bellotti which appears to be humming along just fine another Chip Kelly. The question on everyone's mind here on BN is whether our program and our boys, who are in the middle of a long and painful rebuilding process will be able to bounce back after a tough loss?

The OC Register's game day write up sets it up:

The Bruins have their own demons to get rid of as they try to right their ship after a disappointing loss at Stanford last Saturday. After that game, they sat throughout their locker room at Stanford Stadium looking like a team that wasn't sure what had just happened.

But after enduring an eight-loss season in 2008, the Bruins are smart enough to know that one setback isn't enough to trigger panic.

They used the week to regroup, refocus and regain the same pride that started to build after winning three consecutive games to start the season.

"After we lost Saturday, we had practices and we're trying to bounce back," said defensive end Datone Jones. "That's our motto, to bounce back.

"This is going to be a big test for UCLA football. Can we bounce back in a big game? We just have to go out there and execute."

Well a huge key to bouncing back will be the performance of Kevin Prince. Again, we all know the story line here. We have discussed it to death and have followed his updates including his daily diet following his injury almost on a day to day basis. Still here is the report from the Press Enterprise today:

"He's eager and he's very willing," Neuheisel said of Prince, whose replacement, Kevin Craft, combined to throw for one touchdown and 390 yards in a win over Kansas State the loss at Stanford.

Prince's teammates seem eager to get him back on the field.

"I love Kevin Prince, man," linebacker Reggie Carter said. "And I missed the Fresh Prince of Bel Air!"

What will the UCLA beat writers do when Reggie Carter moves on to the NFL. Who is going to be their next quote machine? lol Back to Prince, the key to his come back will not just center on how he reacts to the front line pressure of a tough Duck's defense. He is going to need a lot of help from his offensive line, that will have to give him time to find his receivers and open up holes for our backs. Hopefully the coaches will also help him out by putting together a game plan, which will look to take advantage of athleticism of some of your youngsters, which we have seen in spurts in first four game of the seasons. More after the jump.

Speaking of the Ducks defense, Ken Woody from the Register-Guard goes over couple of factors that migh help Duck's defense cover up the inexperiences of their defensive backs, a position that has been ravaged by injury in recent weeks:

Being able to rush the quarterback with four defensive linemen helps, because the secondary can play zone coverages that spread the responsibility for pass routes among all defenders.

One of Oregon’s top areas of improvement in the wins over California and Washington State was the rush of the Ducks’ front four, led by Kenny Rowe, who has quietly climbed the ladder in Pac-10 defensive stats. The contain has also been excellent, keeping the quarterback pinned between the tackles, which limits the time he has to throw and eliminates the secondary threat of scrambling.

Second, the free safety can play deep and be in a position to help the corner on routes across the middle, or long throws down the sideline.

UO safety John Boyett, a redshirt freshman, has played brilliantly in relief of T.J. Ward. Check to see if the Bruins go after the young Oregon corners, a possibility given the Ducks’ stout run defense, particularly on first down. When the ball is thrown deep, see if Boyett is in the vicinity, helping out his comrades who are stuck "on an island."

We have discussed one possible way for the Bruin offense to adjust to the Ducks pressure, which would be adding more dimension to their running attack by stretching the field and going outside. That also goes back to the idea of using the speed and athletcism of players such as Thigpen, Knox, Carroll, and Presley by getting them lose outside via reverses, bubble screens and quick toss to stretch out the field. We will see what Chow cooks up today.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the field, everyone is waiting to find out how the Bruin defense handle's Oregon's explosive spread offense (which should be potent even without Masoli under capable Nate Costa). From the LA Times:

"This offense makes you have to play," Carter said. "This week we stressed playing sound football and doing your job. If we're not doing our jobs, it can be real tough. They will hit seams if you're in the wrong gap."

Carter has seen the result of that. Masoli rushed for 170 yards against UCLA last season.

Costa gives the Bruins a different look. He gained 26 yards in six carries against Washington State, but completed seven of nine passes for 80 yards.

Still, UCLA defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough is stressing the same philosophy no matter who is running the spread.

"It makes you play assignment football," Bullough said. "Your assignment is to be in the right gap. If you get out of that gap, that's when they hit you. They want to get you in one-on-one solo tackle situations. So you have to tackle well. Play assignment football and make your solo tackles."

However, as Bruins will need to do a little more than just play assignment football

For more on the game here are the writeups from the LA Times, the Daily News, and SI.com. Also, it looks like at least one writer in Oregon thinks the team in blue has a chance to prevail this afternoon at the Rose Bowl. Hope he is right. Here is to a bounce back Saturday in BN. We will put up a pre game thread in about an hour and our game thread will go up around 12:00 pm PST.

GO BRUINS.

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