This is it. Game Day. The moment is here for Dorrell to show he is worthy of being a football coach. Let's get right to the papers and there are lots of good articles in the MSM today. Dohn from the Daily News is on it reporting how today's game could be a BIG TIME boost for our beleaguered football program:
But very few bought into that thought, including his players. They understand the gravity of the matchup at the Rose Bowl.
The Bruins want respect. They want acknowledgment of their new attitude. They want national recognition, and to begin turning the mind-set of USC-dominated Los Angeles. They want everyone to know this UCLA team is different from the past few.
All that is possible with a win over Oklahoma, which still carries the cache of a big-time program despite struggles in its first two games.
"I know they lost to TCU and had a tough game with Tulsa, but it's still Oklahoma, and it's still on ABC, and it's still our chance to show everybody our team is legitimate," UCLA strong safety Jarrad Page said. "We're not impostors. We're not faking. We really want it this season, and this is our chance to show everybody how we can come out and play."
A win would be UCLA's most significant since defeating No. 21 Ohio State 13-6 in 2001.
More on our BIG TIME opportunity from Lonnie White of LA Times. White writes about how Bruin DC Larry Kerr thinks his (so far vanilla) defense is ready for this BIG GAME:
In 2004, the Bruin defense struggled with consistency and its overall lack of speed showed against quick offenses. During the off-season, UCLA made a commitment to fix the problem by turning to swifter and more aggressive players.
That's why the Bruins now start sophomore Nikola Dragovic at end ahead of senior Kyle Morgan, who started the final 10 games of last season. Dragovic, a former wrestler, is smaller than the more experienced Morgan -- but he's also quicker. In two games, Dragovic has seven tackles, including a sack, and has recovered one fumble and blocked a kick.
"We have guys who can do some things now," said Kerr, whose defense will open against Oklahoma with eight players who started at least two games last season.
"To have healthy bodies with experience means all the difference in the world. There are a lot of good players on both sides of the football, but it's usually the guys with experience that give you an edge. We have a good mix of experienced guys with young players who can do some things."
UCLA gave up an average of 432.9 yards a game last season, including 222.8 on the ground. This season, the Bruins are allowing averages of 328.5 and 174.
While depth was a problem, it's now a strength.
Photo Credit:Alexander Gallardo / LAT
Let's hope it doesn't take more than 10 plays for DO and the coaching staff to find the best TE in the nation. And, speaking of the DO, Lonnie also has this perspective from our senior QB who was in Norman, when Dorrell's bunch got humiliated by Bob Stoops and Antonio Perkins 3 punt returns. DO will have to step up if he wants to erase those ugly memories and he is going to need all his receivers to have big games today.
BIG DAY ... I will be checking throughout the day (watching Matt Moore and his Beavers on ESPN right now), until I head to the sports bar in town where all the Bruins are gathering. Again a MUST WIN game for Karl Dorrel's program to gain some modicum of credibility after two disastrous years in Westwood.