Let's start this Tuesday with some news from the official site. We have just 46 days left till the kickoff and we now have a start time for the opener against San Diego State. The September 5 game at the Rose Bowl will kick off at 4:30 pm PT. FS West will televise the game live throughout Southern California, including San Diego. More details over at the official site.
As we get closer and closer to the start of the season and the training camp, team previews keep rolling in from all over the internets. The latest one comes from CPBruinFan over at Bruin Roar, who begins his 2009 UCLA preview by taking a look at our offense. Kevin Prince is CPBruinFan's "key to the season":
What is different this season is that we have some young, skilled guys in key positions.
Most notably red shirt freshman Kevin Prince. Repeat after me: Prince is the key to the season, Prince is the key to the season, Prince is the key to the season. It really can't be stated too many times. Prince's development will go hand-in-hand with the team's ability to win.
Even though Prince is playing his first football game in nearly 3 years (he missed his entire senior season at Crespi due to injury) he brings a lot to the table. Most importantly, he is a smart player who has a firm grasp on Chow's offense. If Prince can avoid the mind-numbingly horrible decisions that Craft made last season then he'll be a huge improvement. He also seems to be a capable game manager, accurate, and mature for his age.
Of course, he's still a freshman who will make freshman mistakes. In particular, an early season game at Neyland Stadium will test his mental toughness. I'm not expecting miracles from this kid, but I do think we'll be pleased with his progress by year end.
Let's face it, this is part 2 of Neuheisel's rebuilding process. This team isn't going to win a ton of games this year, even with a more favorable schedule (I'll get to that in future articles about our opponents), and the offense will struggle again.
But the good news is that we've got a lot young guys who will be racking up a ton of experience this season. It wouldn't surprise me if the offense was staring as many as 6 underclassman by the end of the season. All of that is great for the future of the program.
Couldn't agree more. Read rest of the preview here. More UCLA pigskin related notes after the jump.
Meanwhile, we have more notes to sync with the consensus regarding 2009 expectations. As we have noted throughout this off-season, the expectations for this upcoming season across the board is mild given the lack of experience at QB and our line on offense. Al Balderas from the OC Register has more on the lukewarm predictions for our team this coming season:
On the other hand, Surefire Scouting sees the Bruins ending their Pac-10 season in a three-way tie for sixth place (with Arizona and Stanford).
ESPN.com compiled the preseason predictions put forth by Phil Steele, Surefire Scouting, Lindy’s, AthlonSports and The Sporting News to compile a consensus.
Also, Jeff Metcalfe from AZcenteral.com has his own Pac-10 prections out in which he has Bruins finishing 7th in the conference. All of this jives with what we have read throughout this off season. It also comports with the observations with folks here and also Bruin fans who follow the team on a day to day basis.
Again, as we have said over and over again, it's all about the big picture (just like Howland's second season) this year and the key goal for our program this year is going to be to just get into a bowl game before contemplating the next step in the long rebuilding process.