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WSU Notes & Numbers

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Because of the recent history involving Dorrell's mediocre football program, I think there are many here and elsewhere who will not be surprised if the Bruins somehow find a way to choke in this weekend's football game. I mean there are just many ready made excuses already built in for Dorrell and his little cult that show up here on BN to gloat after expected wins. Here are some excuses I will list right off the bat should the team pull a Dorrell this weekend:

  • The game is in Siberia where Bruins usually lose (losing 5 of our last 7 games although the last time we went up there it was 2LiveDrew who saved Dorrell's rear end in OT in a 44-41 win.
  • We are favored which means we will find a way to Dorrell it up.
  • We will do a Dorrell on 4th and 1 on the Cougars 38 yard line deciding to punt instead of going for the win.
In other words the Dorrell Factor can always kick in and snatch defeat from the jaw of a victory.

In fact going into this season I thought this was the game Bruins were going to lose (figuring there is no way UCLA would lose in "freebie" games (as Bell calls them) against Utah and ND).

Yet despite the ever present Dorrell Factor, I just don't see how UCLA can screw it up this weekend. I mean even for a Doofus like KD, it would have to be choke of colossal proportion to somehow lose this game against the Cougars.

There is only one word I can think of describe the Cougars: a joke.

They have not lived up to their moderate pre season expectations up this point of this season. In fact as notes, they have been on a tailspin since their clowning of the awesome Walker defense at the Rose Bowl. From
WSU has won five of the last six against the Bruins overall, including a 37-15 win last year in Pasadena.

That was the last time the Cougars had much to feel good about. They improved to 6-3 after that win and were ranked No. 25 in the nation. But they lost the following week at home to Arizona to begin a three-game, season-ending losing streak, and they have lost eight of 10 overall and all seven Pac-10 games they have played since then.

WSU coach Bill Doba has no real handle on why the Cougars have had such success against the Bruins of late. He is more worried about how his team will react after a series of tough losses, the most recent a 53-7 shellacking at Oregon on Oct. 13.
Yeah, these guys are coming of a 7-53 shellacking in the hands of Quacks, in a game in which they as the score indicates were dominated in every facet of the game. The 2 wins in their 2-5 record came against powerhouse teams such as Idaho and San Diego State.

And their numbers confirm that perception of them being a weak team. With that note let's start with a look the numbers between our O v. WSU's "D" (all numbers from Pac-10):
Bruin Offense 07 Rank Per Game Couger Defense 07 Rank Per Game
Rushing Offense 3 181.3 Rushing Defense 9 162.3
Pass Offense 9 215.6 Pass Defense 9 285.3
Pass Eff. Offense 7 115.7 Pass Eff. Defense 10 157.6
Total Offense 6 396.9 Total Defense 8 447.6
Scoring Offense 5 28.3 Scoring Defense 10 36.9

So the Cougars are ranked last (10th) or next to last (9th) in every major defensive categories in the Pac-10 except for total defense, in which they are ranked 8th in the conference. In other words if Dorvell’s offense cannot get it done against these guys they might as well chuck their precious bracelets at the nearest garbage dump they can find at the stadium.

From what we are hearing from Pullman Doba is planning to introduce "some whole new packages" on both sides of the ball. Uhm whatever. My hunch is he is going to have his defense sell out against the run and force Cowan or whoever is playing QB for us to beat them with a passing game. After all their vaunted secondary did have success against powerhouse like Idaho:

NCAA Football Highlights on

Ok so they can make some plays. But like I said that was against Idaho State. Whatever Doba is cooking up the scheme for Dorvell should be fairly simple. They should be able to dominate the Cougars with their running game. I get the fact that Markey is getting healthy and Bell is still recovering from in game bruise and bumps. But there should be no excuse for UCLA to not dominate the Cougars with their running game stuffing down Bell, Moline, and Ramirez down their throats all afternoon.

I don’t think they even need a lot of fancy plays to beat these guys. They need to run it down their throats all weekend, and then have Cowan do just enough to manage the game. The key will be though to close the deal when they get inside the red zone. Despite all the Dorrell hype we heard about the offense was "productive" against Cal, we had more FGs than TDs last Saturday. They can’t afford to do that on Saturday. When they get inside the red zone, the will have to "finish" it, just like it says on their precious little bracelets.

This means even though they should be running all over the Cougars on Saturday, it sure would help if they don’t their usual RRP routine when they get close to the goal line. They will have to come up with something different than what the Cougars will inevitably find when they are watching UCLA tapes (I know it’s a revolutionary concept for a coach like Walker) getting ready for this game.

That said, I think Bruins get it done this weekend against the Cougar D. They are that hapless best on what we have seen from them this coming season.

The only question I have going into this game is how Walker’s passing defense will hold up against the Cougar’s Brink, which brings us to the matchup between WSU offense and the Walker D:

Bruin Defense 07 Rank Per Game Couger Offense 07 Rank Per Game
Rushing Defense 3 79.6 Rushing Offense 9 108.6
Pass Defense 5 241.3 Pass Offense 1 299.6
Pass Eff. Defense 4 118.4 Pass Eff. Offense 3 132.6
Total Defense 4 320.9 Total Offense 5 408.1
Scoring Defense 4 23.4 Scoring Offense 9 24.6

Obviously you don’t need Karl’s Coaching 101 lessons to notice WSU’s offense, which despite their horrific outing against Oregon has the number 1 passing attack in the Pac-10. It will be very interesting to see how Walker’s boys handle these guys after getting worked by them last year at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA can stop the run. And despite some injury issues at our DL, we have enough depth in our front line to handle WSU’s pathetic rushing attack (9th best in the conference). The question will be how they handle the Brink and his receivers. Here they are hooking up in their home loss against the Devils:

NCAA Football Highlights on

As notes:

The story remains the same for WSU -- good through the air but bad on the ground. The passing game should be even better this week with the return to health of Brandon Gibson, who missed the Oregon game with a bruised heel. Also healthier is senior WR Charles Dillon, who had been struggling with a shoulder injury. Their injuries allowed for true freshman Jeshua Anderson to get some significant playing time, and he has emerged as another legitimate threat and a real hope for the future of the WSU offense. The Cougars are last in rushing offense in conference play at 70 yards per game.
I think the key will be what kind of posture our DBs take right out of the gate. They cannot come out and play in a passive aggressive mode like they did against Cal during the first half last Saturday. That could work out ok in our home stadium, but it will not work well on the road. I believe Walker’s guys will have to come out and challenge the WSU receivers right away. We can’t have CBs giving them a lot of room allowing Brink to spray his passes all over the field, and give his team some early confidence. Walker needs to hit them up with a little bump and run, and have our DBs get physical with them early. If it means more ATV and less off Rodney Van, then I am all for it. And given that WSU has no running game whatsoever, I hope we are not waiting till the second half to tee off on Brink.

The bottom line Bruins cannot come out like as if they are disinterested and going through motions like they did against Utah. They need to come out on fire and go for the kill right out of the game. Given what has happened to this team in the past, they shouldn’t be needing any kind of fiery pep talk at this point of the season. They will need to come out and get it done.

And I expect them to get it done given their past history. I think everyone is so expecting for them to have a letdown in this game that they will come out with a chip on their shoulder, and play like as if their hair is on hire. Kind of what happened to Lavin’s team in spring of 2001, when they finished the season on a strong note to qualify for the Dance, going all the way to Steve-16. I fully expect now that everyone is looking for the confirmation of a roller coaster narrative in the form a Dorrelian loss this Saturday, Bruins will pull out a huge win continuing the hype about faux rejuvenation of this program.

The Bruins will batter the Cougars on Saturday improving their record to 6-2 (5-0) in the conference. There will be more Dorrelistas coming out of the woodwork and there will be lot more idiots in the MSM writing about Dorrell come back stories, completely forgetting if UCLA actually played up to its talent this season, it would have been in the think of a BCS championship talk.