Well, the expectations for today are pretty simple. Everyone is expecting a blow out win from Dorrell's team today. Even Dohn (just two games into this season) alludes to those expectations when discussing the questions swirling around Dorrell's offense heading into today's game:
"I think it's time for us to show everybody who we are as an offense," UCLA right tackle Brian Abraham said. "I keep hearing all these questions about us not being able to score points. I think it's time to show everyone and remove all that doubt from everyone's mind."
That was UCLA's plan from the outset, but Jay Norvell's first two games as UCLA's offensive coordinator brought more of the same questions. Namely, whether his complex version of the West Coast offense can succeed in college, where, unlike the NFL, practice time is limited.
Sure, the Bruins scored 45 points against hapless Stanford, but history proves that is an anomaly. It was the most points UCLA scored since the 2005 Sun Bowl.
In the high-scoring world of college football, the 20 points the offense was responsible for against BYU would not put them in the nation's top 80 teams if it were on a per-game basis, and the execution against the Cougars was sloppy.
"We need to play at a higher level," Norvell said. "We wanted to move the ball consistently. We wanted to score when we had the ball in red zone. We just didn't sustain drives and convert on third down. We wanted to be more effective on first down, and we didn't throw the ball at the level we wanted to."
The Utes, though weak against the run, will blitz, play some man-to-man on the outside. As proven in the opening, 45-17 victory at Stanford, the Bruins are better when they can move forward off big plays (UCLA had runs of 59, 31, 24 and 16 yards in their victory over the Cardinal as well as pass plays of 77, 49, 27 and 22 yards).
There should be ample opportunity for the Bruins to make plays against the Utes, who have allowed 5.4 yards per rushing play and will have to stop the run first.
UCLA merits an edge, with DeWayne Walker and Jay Norvell calling the defense and the offense. But this game, for the Bruins, comes down to the players and their ability to execute, which was an issue against BYU. That of course falls to Coach Karl Dorrell and his staff, but how good is a perfectly prepared steak if the waiter drops it on the way to the table? Edge:UCLA.
Going back to us, this is a game in which our coaches and players simply have to take care of business in order to ameliorate the concerns that have surfaced after the BYU game. It's a theme that is echoed in Foster's game day report in the LA Times:
UCLA has not made Harwell available to speak to the media since he was injured last Saturday against BYU.
"If he can be an asset and help the team later in the season, of course, he's going to do that," Williams said. "All he can do is try to get the knee better. We talked about redshirting, and that is an option."
It doesn't matter how injury issues play out the rest of the season. Dorrell needs to come up with wins and take care of business. Check out this comment from Whittingham on injury issues in the LA Times report linked above:
Anyways, Dorrell can help take care of all these concerns by going out there and taking care of business, which means put together a convincing win today.