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Gameday Roundup (UPDATED w/ Game Day picks)

[UPDATED 11:58 am EST]: Lee Corso just picked Cal to win (and Kirk went our way). We will take that. Let's win this game. Screw those dirty hippies from Bezerkley. Go Bruins.

Game day.  We are going to learn a lot about Karl Dorrell's program and where UCLA is heading under him today.  It's one of those key games that will part of the overall judgment process on Karl Dorrell whether he is up to the task of being a head coach of UCLA football. And it looks like the Nation is eager to find out the answer.  Rose Bowl is now a projected sell out for the biggest game of the year to date.  Lets lead of with Lonnie White's report:

One week after playing its worst game of the season, No. 20 UCLA today will play its most important game to date, against No. 10 California at the Rose Bowl.

The Bruins, 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference, say they are better prepared for the Golden Bears (5-0, 2-0) because of their 21-17 victory over Washington a week ago.

Well let's hope they are little more "prepared" than they were for Washington, and coaches are insisting they learned from last weekend's big letdown.   Here is Lonnie again:
"We learned a lot about ourselves," offensive coordinator Tom Cable said. "We found a way to win as bad as we played. We also learned some other things."

Such as the importance of paying attention to detail in practice.

"The players understand now," Cable said, noting the Bruins practiced well this week. " ... I don't think the coaches had to do very much."
That's encouraging.

One thing Coach Cable did work on this week is to figure out how DO's passes were getting tipped so many times at the LOS last weekend.  Dohn gives us the answer:
Bruins offensive line coach Tom Cable and center Mike McCloskey said the fault lies with those blocking for Olson.

Too often, Washington's defensive linemen were quick to get their hands up to clog passing lanes, and the 20th-ranked Bruins worked to remedy that as they prepared for today's meeting with No. 10 California at the Rose Bowl.

"You have to stay firm on the line of scrimmage," McCloskey said. "On the three-step drops, you can't give (the defense) any penetration. You have to really focus on getting your hands on them, pushing them out. If you do that, they're not going to want to put their hands up."

McCloskey said blocking the Bears lower would keep the defenders from getting their hands high when Olson passed. Washington batted down at least six passes at the line of scrimmage.
They are going to need to bring their A game today, not only to make sure DO has protection and not getting his passes tipped repeatedly, but also to revive the running game that has been so stagnant for last two games.

Also let's not forget - this is a huge game for Drew Olson, going up against the team he rooted for growing up in the Bay Area.  Jake Curtis from San Francisco Chronicle has an article on how the Bay Area has become a cradle of NCAA QBs , and he zeroes in on the DO:
After he was hired by Cal, Tedford tried to recruit Olson, but Olson had committed to UCLA after being highly rated at Piedmont, a school with a reputation for academics that might exceed its football fame.

Russ Robb, Piedmont's coach at the time, said Olson's high school statistics were hurt by the fact that few of his teammates could catch his strong throws on the underneath routes.

"Great GPAs, but not great hands," Robb said.

Robb said Olson could have been a starting linebacker or safety as well, but he wanted to protect Olson's future.

The future is now for Olson, who gets his last shot at the school he followed so closely as a kid. So far, he is 1-1 against the Bears as a starter, and a win Saturday could boost him and the Bruins into the national spotlight. And it wouldn't hurt the Bay Area's reputation for producing quarterbacks, either.
While DO is preparing for his "last shot" his counter part Joe Ayoob is getting set to play in front of the largest crowd in his life.  Ayoob has never played before a crowd this large :
California quarterback Joe Ayoob, a junior college transfer, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he has never played before a crowd as large as the one expected today at the Rose Bowl. "I think it will be fun," he said. "The more, the merrier."
Stopping Ayoob is going to be key today.  We have written repeatedly about how our DL will have to stop Lynch and Forsette, and the vaunted Cal running game, which is averaging a crazy 259 yards per game.  So if we stack our line to stop the rushing attack, it will be up to our DBs to man up and out enormous pressure on Ayoob to deliver.  However, Ayoob so far after a very slow start has stepped up to challenge.  As Kuwada writes he will put pressure on UCLA DBs today:
Cassel and the Bruins' defensive backs go onto the field as targets, as well. JC transfer quarterback Joe Ayoob got off to a terrible start for Cal, misfiring on his first 10 passes after replacing Nate Longshore when he suffered a broken leg against Sacramento State.

But since then, Ayoob has completed 56 of 90 passes (62.2 percent) and he has thrown eight touchdown passes while being intercepted just twice. His efficiency rating is 146.69, which puts him sixth in the Pac-10, three spots behind UCLA's Drew Olson.
Cassel will need to step up after the horrible performance of last weekend.  If you are looking for more stats/facts on this game, make sure to check out our two part previews by clicking here and here.

So big game. Want to end this news round up with a shot of no. 18:


Photo source: jsonline

DO will never be no. 18. but if he brings his heart, gumption and courage, we are going to win.  And judging from the second half last week, he may have it now. We must win this game. No Excuses. GO BRUINS.