Here we go. Back on the road again and against a team in Arizona that will be flying high after a comeback victory over Stanford last week. The Wildcats had 553 yards of total offense and 415 of them came from Nick Foles, Arizona's sophomore quarterback who has emerged as one of the conference's best in recent weeks. With a defensive backfield in flux and an offense riding high, this match-up looks like it tilts firmly in favor of Arizona, but the Wildcats have had issues keeping opponents off of the scoreboard so the Bruins will have a chance.
1) Rush The QB- This one won't be easy to all. The biggest reason Arizona has been able to pass the ball so effectively is that their quarterback has all day to throw. Arizona quarterbacks have only been sacked four time all year and haven't be pressured to much either. Yes, the numbers may be somewhat misleading because of the shotgun and all the quick passes the Wildcats use, but the Arizona offensive line has done a fantastic job nonetheless.
With the quickness of the Arizona offensive line, the Bruins will have to be technically sound to rush the passer. UCLA will also have to be in great shape because the Wildcats used a lot of no huddle last week and the Bruins may not be able to get their normal subs in along the defensive front. If UCLA cannot rush the passer, Nick Foles will tear them apart and the Bruins' poor tackling could turn those short passes into big gains.
2) Stay Disciplined- Jahvid Best's 93 yard run last week was the epitome of what a lack of discipline (and poor tackling) on the defensive side of the ball can do to you. Over pursuit, not breaking down, it all hurt the Bruins on that play and arguably was the most important play of the game. One misplay and lack of contain by Akeem Ayers opened up the field for Best and set everything in motion.
Now, the Bruins will face an Arizona team that will spread them out and use a lot of shifty, quick runners and receivers that if given the opportunity, will cutback and take it to the house. This Arizona team will take on misplay and turn it into havoc for the UCLA defense. While the Wildcats didn't run the ball much last week, but they did have a 57 and 43 yard run. They have also topped 30 carries in previous games so there's reason to believe they can go back to the ground this week and with their quick backs, they can break another big one if the Bruins lack discipline.
3) Attack the Seam- Arizona's defense has had trouble in recent weeks, conceding almost 600 yards last week. They're done a decent job in space where they have speed, but they've been undisciplined guarding the seam. With Logan Paulsen, Ryan Moya, Morrell Presley and slot receivers in three and four wide sets, the Bruins will have space to work the seam.
If the Bruins can exploit the seam, which will take quality routes and hanging onto the ball, it can cause problems for the rest of the Arizona defense. Not only will it allow them to pick up chunks of yards, but last week, it made the Arizona linebackers step a little wider and a little deeper, opening up running room for Toby Gerhart and Co. If the Bruins can exploit the seam this week, they can also use it to open up the running game.