Well guess the players are fired up and excited ("not nervous" according to David Carter at least) for today's game. The official site has already done a great job of giving us a background look and feel of what the guys have been feeling and are going through heading into this afternoon's matchup against the Wildcats.
As for us, at this point we kind of feel like the day a well prepared law student feels during the first day of a bar exam. Really at this point, there is nothing out on there on the internets that will tell us anything new about this game. So on that note let's hop through some of the days links and predictable stupidity from the Trojan Times.
Jill Painter from the Daily News has yet another tradmed article on our "revolver" formation. Yeah, we are getting sick of them at this point and had to roll eyes when saw the headline on the DN home page. Still clicked on it like a sucker but found couple of interesting comments from Rahim Moore and Norm Chow:
"You know what Barack Obama said, `Everybody's scared of change,"' Moore said. "The game of football is changing. Fans like to see defense, but offense is entertaining. You can't stick to the same routine every year. This offense is so good and great to where if you don't play your details and your responsibilities, we can go all day on you. I love it. There's so much going on to where you have to be dialed in and focused or you will be turned around and you'll see somebody in the end zone.
"Nobody knows if it will work. If it works and they see the points they could put on the board, they'll say it's one of the best offenses ever. They shouldn't expect 59 points a game, but you'll see the progression every week. Norm Chow is a mastermind."
Added Chow: "As Gandhi said, `Consistency is the refuge of fools."'
Well that was something new. I still have no freaking clue how we are going to look this afternoon. In fact heading into this afternoon, getting even more nervous than I was yesterday. On paper, the key matchup today is going to be between the two weak links of each team: our OL v. their DL, and I really don't know how it is going to turn out despite some of the encouraging notes from scrimmage.
Don't think any of us have a clue on how Kevin Prince (and/or Richard Brehaut) is going to lead the team in Manhattan. None of us know for sure how our retooled DL will handle the experienced Wildcat OL. If we felt confident about our OL and our QB, then I would feel better about our QBs taking advantage of the height advantage our receiving corps have over KC defensive backs. However, I am not confident about that either. So, while I am optimistic about our program, still having a hard time being confident about this afternoon. Hopefully, the team makes the worry goes away from the get go this afternoon in Manhattan.
If you still need to read another game preview for today's game make sure to check out "Kicking The Tires" post on Bring On The Cats. Those guys have been great to go back and forth with this week (and also last year). No matter what happens today, hopefully the Wildcats continue to improve as a program because would love to see those guys feel good about their team by the end of the season.
If this were flag football, the Bruins would certainly be ready. But tackle? UCLA hasn't gone "live" in practice since its scrimmage Aug. 21, when starting center Kai Maiava sustained a broken ankle.
The physical approach Kansas State is expected to use on offense will test the Bruins' ability to hit and tackle.
"We didn't miss a lot of tackles during the scrimmage. I feel good about that," Neuheisel said. "I still think there's enough experience on the defensive side that we'll wrap and get guys down."
Given our depth issues at OL, one can completely understand CRN's decision to have "LIVE" practices following scrimmage. Moreover, we had an intense, grueling and physical camp (by all account) for couple of weeks, heading into that scrimmage. Still it will be interesting to see how sharp how our tackling is this afternoon. Frankly, worried about it a little bit. It could emerge as a disconcerting factor, if our guys are not being physical enough at point of attack. It will also not help if Chuck Bullough comes out with a vanilla, base scheme in the first half.
While Foster raised a good point in his game note, he swung and missed in a ridiculously dumb and ignorant column (not linked per BN policy of not giving traffic to garbage) opining how CRN in his 3rd season needs to match W/L outcome of Karl Dorrell's 3rd year or come close to what UCLA did in 1983, when the team turned its 0-3-1 into 7-4-1 Rose Bowl winning season. Nowhere in his column Foster mentioned how Dorrell had a senior Drew Olson and a junior MJD leading the charge and how that 10-2 season, despite its W-L wasn't as impressive as it appeared on surface for reasons well chronicles on BN.
As for the 1983 season, Foster conveniently left out the part how at that point UCLA was an established program coming off a Rose Bowl championship season (beating Michigan). Hey, then again it's not a surprise. We are all used to agenda driven anti UCLA hackery from the LA Times. It just kind of sucks because it used to be that the only time we all dreaded reading papers was on Sundays after tough losses. Given how the tradmed is just overrun by hacks, sadly that feeling persists every day as I dread opening up the UCLA section of those tradmed websites every am.
[T]he preseason made it just as clear that three years after Dorrell was forced out, he continues to have an impact on the program.
"We are developing a culture that will carry us through tough times when games are close," Neuheisel said.
Yet while Neuheisel has changed the mindset in Westwood, filling the holes left by UCLA's recruiting mistakes under Dorrell remains a work in progress.
Honestly, I am not feeling all that great about how today is going to go. We know if Bruins lose today it's not going to be the end of the world. However, what I am not all that excited about is the gnashing and waling that will ensue on message boards, intensified and toxic cynicism from the local tradmed that will surround the team, even if the Bruins give a great effort today.
Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered putting up this post and just started and ended with this:
Hope she is right.
So Patroclus just posted a general open thread for Saturday where you can track all non-UCLA related actions. Our game thread will go up at 12:00 pm PST (the guess thread will also close at the same time). Until then, we will let this post serve as the pre-game thread where you can get your nervousness out for today's game. Enjoy your first game day of 2010.