Can Prince and co. get in rhythm early on? Photo Credit: jgtitans (flickr)
Let's start with the weather broadcast today since we have heard all week it could be a potential factor in this afternoon in Pullman. Per weather.com right now it is about 25 degrees in Pullman (which is not too shabby to start the morning). At least on weather.com, they are not really expecting snow and projecting temperature to get up to around mid 30s this afternoon:
Partly cloudy. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.
Oh and there is about 20 percent chance of precipitation. So it's really cold for someone who is from Southern California but it could be lot worse. It shouldn't be an excuse for a team that is looking to go all out in these last remaining games to scratch and claw their way into a bowl game. Thankfully the guys on our team are not making weather an excuse:
UCLA defensive end Korey Bosworth, who played at Plano (Texas) West High, said: "I've played in it all, thunderstorms, rain, freezing rain, ice. I don't know about everyone else here, but I'm looking forward to it."
And Korey's team-mate Reggie at least on paper is striking the right notes heading into a matchup against a struggling football team:
"It's not like we've been winning all year," Carter said of the Bruins (4-5, 1-5). "We are just coming off a five-game losing streak. Regardless of what people think, we have to go in and fight. Everyone knows that if we lose this game, it will really hurt our year, not that it isn't already hurting."
Carter is also well aware how Pullman is probably the toughest road trip in the conference:
Carter is among a handful of UCLA seniors making their last collegiate trip to Pullman. The prospect does not bring tears to his eyes.
"I don't like that place," Carter said. "It is the worst trip. There is nothing there. It is 1 1/2 hours from the airport. It's cold and even the hotel is bad. Everything is rough out there, man. You have to be a strong person to go there. Hopefully, we'll go there, get the victory and run home as fast as we can."
For the Bruins to get out there with a victory means they will have to start the game in a good rhythm. More on that after the jump.So about the ryhthm thing, Logan Paulsen and co. have been feeling it since that fourth quarter against Oregon State. He now wants to hold on to it:
Although it's great to not be at the bottom anymore, kinda be on our way up, it's more important that we're improving every week," Bruins senior tight end Logan Paulsen said. "We kind of got that rhythm, and the hardest thing for a young offense is to find that rhythm. Early in the season we had it in moments, but we lost it a little bit for five games.
"Oregon State, we got it back. We felt it."
Well, Logan can do his part by showing senior leadership. That means minimizing mistakes, which Logan has made a lot of (despite that 50+ catch and rumble last weekend) in recent weeks. Logan and rest of his team mates must minimize mistakes if they want to seize the momentum early on and hold on to it. This means eliminating stupid penalties and holdoing on to the ball no matter what the weather conditions are up in Pullman (and it looks like we might not have to deal with snow - fingers crossed).
Logan's QB - Kevin Prince - has been having good practices this week despite getting banged up last weekend against Washington. Kevin has been enjoying the feeling of clicking with his receivers:
"This whole season has been about developing a whole trust with the offense, and I think it's finally clicked," said Prince, who showed no ill effects this week after the concussion and has been fully cleared to play. "I don't know if it's what coach Neuheisel said to me, or just kind of what our game plan was. We were going into the (Oregon State) game saying we were going to throw fade balls. We were going to make our receivers work for it. Executing that game plan showed us, 'Wow, we can do this."'
Hope he can keep doing the same right off the bat up in Pullman.
Meanwhile, speaking of doing the same, our defense will try to maintain and build on their second half showing against the Huskies from last weekend:
[T]he Bruins looked somewhat like their old defensive selves in the second half, limiting the Huskies to 146 yards and getting another interception from Rahim Moore -- the national co-leader with eight -- to wrap things up.
Call it an improvement after giving up 463, 456 and 494 yards in their previous three games.
"There were a lot of fundamental issues we weren't addressing," Bosworth said. "We weren't tackling. We weren't pursuing the ball as we should. I feel we have addressed those. If you don't do the fundamentals, bad things happen."
Well, I think it has to do more with fundamentals. It has lot to do with scheming. Right now the problem with our defense is we are simply not generation enough pressure on the QB with our front 4. If that dynamics doesn't look any different in the first few snaps against the Cougs, I hope Bullough is not waiting till the second half to mix it up with his blitzes. The Washington State offense will probably not enter this game with a lot of confidence on offense. They are going to work in a QB who even though started earlier this season, has been on the bench. We are going to need to bring pressure early on to bottle them up, while making sure Tardy and co do not gash up with their rushing attack.
Our defense is going to be very interesting to watch today. This is a golden opportunity for them to really get back some momentum they had earlier in the season. They can't blow it by going passive early on and giving a struggling football team any hint of life. In other words, they can't wait till the second half to get "warmed up" in Pullman. The D along with their offensive team-mates should be ready to go in full speed and clicking on all cylinders from early on keeping them heated and warmed up for entire 60 game minutes in Pullman.
The kickoff is around 2 pm PST. We will put up a pre-game thread around 12:30 pm PST and our game thread will go up about half an hour before our kickoff. Enjoy your Saturday.