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Spaulding Roundup: Working Through Injuries

Bruins continue to prepare for the Cougars while working through injury issues on a number of fronts. While we lost Paulsen for an extended period of time (possibly the entire season) and Everett for few games, there was some hope re. Bell coming back on Saturday. Dohn reports that right now it is looking very “doubtful” that Bell will be in action against BYU

UCLA running back Kahlil Bell was in full practice gear Tuesday, but remained a spectator at practice as the Bruins moved forward in the likely event the senior running back will not play Saturday at No. 18 BYU.

While an official decision on Bell's lack of availability is expected today, running backs coach Wayne Moses said junior Chane Moline would start and redshirt freshman Raymond Carter would be the backup if Bell does not play.

"It's closer to doubtful than it is probable on Kahlil," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "I'll leave it as questionable because I don't want to doubt the kid. He's really trying. But it's a long season, and this is only game two. I don't want to have it be one of those things that hamper him for a long time."

Moline and Carter lack Bell's experience, but the duo combines to give offensive coordinator Norm Chow versatility in the running game.

"I think Chane Moline is a good zone runner," Chow said. "I think Raymond gives us a good burst."

If we are hoping to hang with the Cougars this Saturday, we are going to need better performances from both Chane and Raymond. Neither of them got it going against the Volunteers. I think Chane is one of those physical tailbacks who can be effective in short yardage situations. As for Raymond he needs to do a much better job of recognizing the holes to better make use of his speed. Hopefully it starts coming together this weekend. In addition we would love to see Dean or Franklin get some shots against the Cougar defense.

Meanwhile, the team is working through bumps and bruises:

Bosworth (left ankle injury – BN Ed.) and Harwell (got his left arm examined. – BN Ed) sat out the last part of practice, though Neuheisel said both would be ready to play against Brigham Young on Saturday.

Said Neuheisel: "Knowing the Bosworth boys as I know them, it would have to be an amputation for them not to play."

Harwell, Neuheisel said, "has a bruised elbow. He'll be fine."

The Bruins can absorb injuries more readily on the defensive side, as "our front seven is deep," defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker said, adding, "We have some talented young guys. They just don't have experience."

The offensive front is another matter. Glicksberg will play Saturday, but said he tweaked his shoulder. "It's going to be sore. I dislocated it last season. But it's nothing I can't work around."

Well it looks like Glicksberg and his team-mates are doing what they can. Kevin Pearson from the Press Enterprise reported the OL had a good practice on Tuesday along with some positive news re. Ketchum:

Wide receiver Gavin Ketchum, who missed the opener with mono, worked extensively with the first team on Tuesday and will make his season debut this weekend.

After being critical of the effort of the offensive line a day earlier, Neuheisel said he was pleased with the way they practiced on Tuesday.

Shifting our attention on the opponent, there is good article in the Salt Lake Tribune on BYU’s efficiency in converting 3rd downs in first two games of this season. The Cougars converted 12 of 14 3rd downs against Washington and went 7 for 10 against Northern Iowa:

The Cougars have yet to attempt a field goal, and they've punted just five times - three against Northern Iowa and two against Washington.
    Hall has not been sacked, and most of their penalties on offense have been 5-yarders, so they've rarely faced third-and-long. Of the 14 third-down situations they faced against Washington, only two were longer than 8 yards, and on the longest, third-and-14, Hall threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie.
    "It is just what you see out there," Collie said, pointing to BYU's practice field. "It is just execution, and working on it every day, and making that one of our goals. I think a lot of credit has to go to Max and what he is doing behind center."
    The BYU offense will face a much tougher test this week against UCLA (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Versus), however. The Bruins (1-0) held No. 18 Tennessee to 5-for-17 on third down in their 27-24 overtime win on Labor Day.
    BYU was just 5-for-14 on third down in the Las Vegas Bowl last year against UCLA.

I think it is safe to assume that our defensive coaches are all over this stat. If our defense find themselves in constant 2nd and short/3rd and short situations against Hall on Saturday, it could turn out to be a long afternoon. And this also goes back to the need for our offense to put together clock chewing drives against the BYU defense, allowing our boys to stay fresh and mount all out pressure against Hall. More than ever it will require a total team effort on Saturday, if the Bruins are looking to pull off an upset against a team that IMHO will be lot tougher than Tennessee.