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Getting ready (for a bad team)

Remember all the happy talk about how everything was all right with the Bruin running game after the Rice game? Well there is not much happy talk coming out of Westwood this week about the running game. Against the Huskies Bruins gained 143 yards on the ground, a huge chunk of which came from Markeys big run in the first drive. Otherwise the running game was pretty much a non factor throughout the day, especially in the end zone. Kahlil Bell who has racked up solid stats against D-1 noble laureates of Northwestern and Rice has pretty much been existent in rest of this season. Of course I expect him (and Markey) to have huge games against Stanford, which as mentioned yesterday is brining in the worst rushing defense in the conference, there are still some serious concerns about our running game:

The Bruins' lone rushing touchdown came Saturday in a 29-19 loss to Washington on Chris Markey's 1-yard run in the first quarter.

UCLA is ranked fifth in rushing offense in the Pac-10 with 175.7 yards per game. But UCLA is last in the conference in rushing touchdowns.

Only two teams - Duke and Utah State - have fewer ground-game scores than the Bruins. UCLA is tied with Temple, Baylor, Florida Atlantic and New Mexico for second-fewest rushing touchdowns in Division I-A.

Those other six teams mentioned have a combined record of 1-20.

The Bruins (2-1), who play Stanford (0-4) at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl, don't seem overly hurried to fix the issue.

"The offensive line is doing OK, they need to pay a little more attention to details," offensive line coach Jim Colletto said. "When they paid attention against Washington, we broke off some big runs."

Markey had another big yardage day against the Huskies (124 yards on 19 carries) but just the one touchdown. Markey's 63-yard run failed to produce a score, something the junior back wishes to change over the rest of the season.
I don't know what game Colletto was watching. I didn't see us breaking off "some big runs." We had one big running play and that was about it. I will give Colletto (who is not exactly an offensive genius) some benefit of the doubt and presume he is not showing a concern in public. But if I were him I'd worry a little about a (talented) unit who only had a good performance against Rice. Bruins ripped of 277 yards against Rice, and they should be able to go past that against a Stanford defense which is giving up more than 300 yards on the ground after playing heavy weights such as San Jose State and Navy. There should be no excuses for the running game to blast in all cylinders this upcoming weekend, hopefully getting it all cranked up in time for Arizona and the upcoming road games in the following games.

While the running game should be in full throttle this Saturday, I expect Olson to have a smooth night on Saturday. Stanford even though has the 3rd best passing defense in the conference, they have allowed their opposing QBs to complete a staggering 70 percent of their passes. Olson who so far has completed 67 percent of his passes (577 yards) is feeling confident. And despite not being put in position to show off his natural talent, no. 7 is not making any excuses:
Despite the limitations the play-calling put on UCLA's passing game, Olson has spread the ball around.

Against Utah, 10 Bruins caught passes. A week later against Rice, Olson completed 13 of 19 for 124 yards and found six receivers. In his 18-completion outing at Washington, nine Bruins had receptions.

"When we throw the ball, he's very accurate," UCLA junior receiver Marcus Everett said. "He finds the open receiver. It seems like he's accelerating on his own."

Olson said keeping a simple approach is key.

"You can make it as complicated as you want to," Olson said. "You can get out there and second-guess yourself and think too much. You have to try to stay calm, and keep it simple in your mind."
Now only if his coaching staff could show his poise and maturity while talking to the reporters.  Again Bruins should be manhandling the Stanford defense this Saturday. As DD already noted the Trees have the worst defense in the nation. The running game should have a monster a day, which should put Olson in a comfortable position to shred the Stanford secondary all night with a crisp and accurate passing game. May be the coaches will discover the fade pattern in their playbook when the Bruins get in the red zone.

This Stanford team that is coming into the Rose Bowl is a horrible team. Jill Painter from the Daily News gives a little idea about what an atrocious football team is coming to visit this Saturday:
Down and out: Stanford football is not what it used to be. The Cardinal is 0-4 with embarrassing losses to Navy and San Jose State.

Stanford - which has the worst run defense in the country, allowing 312 yards per game - squandered a 20-point lead against San Jose State and surrendered 368 rushing yards against Navy.
That is beyond pathetic.  Sure Stanford has blue chip Senior Quarterback Trent Edwards, who UCLA (during Toledo era) recruited heavily few years ago (before settling with Drew Olson and Matt Moore). But right now, no one is giving this team much of a shot. More on Edwards from the LA Times:
Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards is a three-year starter, but he's not off to a great start.

"He has to get better at the turnover area," Cardinal Coach Walt Harris said of Edwards, who has passed for six touchdowns but has had three passes intercepted. "He has had a turnover in each of our last three games."

One reason for that, Harris says, is that Stanford's line hasn't offered the best protection.

"He has hung in the pocket almost too long in some situations," Harris said. "He's a tough guy and he trusts his linemen to their blocks. But he has to use his scrambling skills more."
There is also this from CFN after Stanford's blow out loss against Washington State:
The hope was for Stanford to be able to stay in games with an explosive offense and lots of big plays, but its missing its receiving punch and Trent Edwards isn't able to make anything happen. The offensive line was awful with no answer for Mkristo Bruce and the Cougar pass rush, while there wasn't any room for the running game to work. At the moment, this is the worst team in the Pac 10 by far with 0-12 a distinct possibility unless there's a miraculous discovery for the offensive game plan
(emphasis mine)In other words if our coaches get the job done this week, we should expect to see lot of Pat Cowan at the Rose Bowl this Saturday by early 3rd quarter. To sum it all up Bruins are playing a bad team - a bad f*cking team.

Don't choke on this one Dorrell.