Rick Neuheisel and his coaching staff started focusing on San Diego State yesterday when they officially closed practices from the general public. As we usually do here on Bruins Nation, we are going to do our best to keep the focus on Aztecs and the Aztecs only when the game week officially gets going next Monday. The series history between these two programs is one-sided. Bruins have a record of 20-0-1 with the only tie in the series dating back to 1924. However, that doesn't mean we are going to take those guys for granted.
As noted during summer, they are going to come into the Rose Bowl pretty fired up with a new head coach - Brady Hoke - who will be coming in with two very familiar coordinators in Bruins Nation. Yes, Al Borges and Rocky Long bring up a lot of fun memories from their days in Westwood. They are also going to make preparations for the Aztecs difficult because CRN and his staff will not have specific games tapes to scout for their first game under Hoke. From the OC Register:
"You just try to harness as much information as you can from the backgrounds of the particular coaches, and you guess," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "The hard part about that for us is you’ve got so many new players and you feel like you’re giving them so much stuff that they don’t even have to know because it may not happen.
"You feel like, as a coach, you’ve got to be prepared for anything. It’s a quandary."
There is one place Neuheisel and his staff might be digging through to pick up the tendencies of Borges and Long: UCLA's film archives. From the LA Times:
"Basically, we’re going on things from their past, and a little bit of an educated guess," Neuheisel said.
That research is made easier since both Borges and Long are former UCLA assistants. Long was defensive coordinator in 1996 and '97. Borges was offensive coordinator from 1996 to 2000.
For Neuheisel, old UCLA tapes were part of the study process.
"They may wax nostalgic at being back in the Rose Bowl," Neuheisel said.
Well here is a pleasent flashback to the days of Borges and Long:
1997 UCLA vs. USC Football (via jtthirtyfour)
You can bet Borges and Long will have their respective units well prepared for their first game under a new head coach. Last thing Neuheisel's team and rest of us will want to do is assume we are going to get a victory, just by showing up. I don't think given our history from last year and SDSU's motivations with its new head coach, it's high profile assistant coaches with UCLA ties, we have the luxury to look past the season opener. We will have to come into this game with the same focus and intensity we showed against Tennessee last season, and then work to sustain it rest of the season.