It's Thursday, and it's time for some nationally televised, prime-time Bruin football. The Bruins are out in Tucson to take on the now Stoops-free Arizona
Mildcats Wildcats. Game time is at 6:00 p.m. PST on ESPN. Yeah, that's right: a nationally televised Thursday night away game for UCLA. Rick hasn't exactly done well in these games, but facing a 1-5 Arizona squad with an interim head coach in a very weak division, Rick finds himself at 3-3 and in the middle of a slate of games (Washington State, Arizona, Cal, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado) where Rick absolutely must win 5 out of 6. In terms of talent, there is absolutely no reason for UCLA to lose tonight.
The pre-game thread should be going up around 2 p.m., but before we get to that, let's take a look at some of the bits and pieces of football news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Let's start with the injury report for tonight's game. UCLA will obviously be without Richard Brehaut, as well as Tony Dye (who increasingly looks like he'll be out for the season and will use a medical redshirt), Jamie Graham, Alex Mascarenas, and unfortunately for a team in need of offensive options, Anthony Barr. Kip Smith is listed as questionable while David Allen is listed as doubtful. Fortunately, UCLA will return Sheldon Price against the Cats, which will be much needed boost to a depleted secondary facing a senior QB who can spread the ball around.
- As Nestor noted earlier this week, Brandon Willis, after his UCLA-UNC family issues transfer saga, the NCAA denied his request for a waiver to be permitted to play this season. The news will be a blow to the UCLA defensive line, which is thin on talent (except for Marsh) and is using a fifth-year senior who has regularly underperformed (Edison), a guy converted from position to position to position (Chandler), and a converted LB (Carter), along with some unproven young guys (for example, Epenesa). On the plus side, Willis will be an instant talent injection for UCLA at the position next season. Too bad that won't help this defensive line get pressure on Nick Foles tonight.
- You've probably seen the FanShot of Stan McKay in a blue UCLA football helmet, which set off a mini-flurry of speculation if UCLA was going to break out some special edition uniform for tonight's nationally televised game (come on, people, do you really think Morgan Center and Adidas could engage their brains?!). However, it's been confirmed that the helmet was simply a mock-up from nearly a decade ago and that UCLA will not be wearing the blue lid tonight. In other uniform related news, the Bruins will start adding blue "hard hat" helmet stickers to their iconic gold helmets tonight. I'm not sure "hard hats" is really the best execution, but you can chime in here (HT Westwood Wizard).
- Finally, Jon Gold previews the Bruins as they get ready for tonight's game, starting by taking note of how poorly UCLA has played in front of a national audience on Thursday nights. Gold has some notes and quotes from Rick about Kevin Prince and how he's taking back the team after losing the starting job to Richard Brehaut following his three-interceptions-in-a-single-quarter against Texas debacle.
Those are your pre-game Bruin Bites. Sit tight and the pre-game thread will be up this afternoon. For now, if you want to duck out of doing real work at the office, feel free to fire away with your thoughts in the open thread or check out the BN previews of Arizona (here and here) Finally, if you haven't done so already, make sure you get your pre-game guesses in before kick-off at 6 p.m. PST.