Bumped. Good primer from BlueReign. GO BRUINS. -N
This game will be our first challenge of the season and a more accurate barometer of how much we really have improved. Nobody on our team has experienced an atmosphere quite like Knoxville. The last time UCLA entered such hostile territory was in 2003 when we went to Norman, OK. Tenn is in a similar situation as ours but the 100K orange clad fans make this a very challenging game.
When Cal went over to Tenn and got blitzed, their True FR CB, Thompson (SR now) made mention of how stunned he was by the atmosphere. He then showed it when Stallworth left him in the dust for a TD. The bulk of our roster lacks extensive game experience so I fully expect the youngsters to have the deer in the headlights look to them.
We've talked about our team's strength being the defense. Our defense must help us weather the initial storm because I expect our offense to have problems initially. They cannot start out slow against Tenn as we did against SD St.
Tenn Offense v UCLA Defense
I expect Tenn to lean on the run game. As documented, Tenn is missing experience at the WR position due to injuries. The left side of their OL (LT - Scott & LG - Richard) consits of 2 seniors with Scott being an All-Sec type of performer. Their backs (Hardesty & Brown) are on the bigger side weighing around 215 lbs. I'm not going to state the obvious (Price having a big game) but Datone will be critical in this game. He'll be matched up against Scott and if he can hold the edge, our LB's should be able to flow to the ball to limit their run game. Dye needs to take proper angles and be a sure tackler in this game because he'll need to support the front 7.
Crompton suffered the same fate like Drew by having multiple coordinators during his career but the kid has talent. Crompton is not very mobile and if we can get pressure on him, he'll make bad decisions. Tenn is playing 2 FR (Teague is starting) in their WR rotation. Every opponent will be picking on whomever is the CB opposite ATV. Viney must be ready for the challenge.
UCLA Offense v Tenn Defense
Tenn like UCLA has playmakers at all 3 levels of their defense (Williams/McCoy/Berry). Not going to mention what our OL will have to do. Prince is going to have his hands full in this environment. Prince must get the offense lined up in plenty of time for the snap and needs to ensure he looks off Berry. Franklin waived on a block early against SD St. I think Chow will use the RB as an extra blocker to help X in addition to picking up the blitzing LB. Whomever is in, must not miss their block.
Tenn's starting CB, Rogan is a decent return man. Hopefully our kicks are long and the coverage teams are sound.
I always respected the Tenn progam. But it is quite clear with the upset we pulled off last year and Kiffin & Orgeron's hatred for us, they'll be coming for blood against us. Asking such a young and inexperienced team to come out of Knoxville with a win may be asking too much. Whether we win or not, if we are competitive in such a hostile environment, it bodes well for this years team and our hopes for the futue of the program.