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BN Gameday Roundup: Can The Bruins Play With A Sense Of "No Fear"?

<em>How many points do we get again when JetSki crosses over the goal line? I ask because sometimes I forget you can get more than 3 points in this game. Photo Credit: Telemachus</em>
How many points do we get again when JetSki crosses over the goal line? I ask because sometimes I forget you can get more than 3 points in this game. Photo Credit: Telemachus

Still not sure what mindset I want to be in heading into this late afternoon game. I have laid out this week why I feel that this has the signs of another road massacre for our Bruins. I am not all that excited about the idea of celebrating a moral victory either. Of course we can stick with the cliches and faith thinking that somehow Bruins will pull out a victory but I am not going to write that because well I frankly don't think there is a chance of it happening.

Right now I am fully expecting us not to just get blown out or lose today but also follow it up with another loss next Saturday. The key to this season will be whether we will be able to eek out 3 wins out of our last 4 games. Perhaps there will be a chance of that happening if we can show definitive improvements in all facets of the team starting this weekend. I don't even think it's a matter of showing dramatic improvement. I think it boils down to showing maturity and executing the schemes coaches have designed on both sides of the ball. It will also be a matter of coaches making necessary adjustments and most importantly having their guys play with absolutely no sense of fear. I think that's what it comes down to. If we can have our guys come out and play with no sense of fear it will help to alleviate the sense of funk that has been around not just this community but in the greater Bruin Nation since last weekend's football game.

As for the stories today they do note a sense of urgency from the team:

Neuheisel, who was unusually businesslike with reporters this week, ended one day by telling the team, "That was a great, great practice, let's take it to another level tomorrow."

That may mean he believes that it will take a great, great, great effort to defeat Arizona.

Practices carried an air of urgency, with a UCLA victory in this game key to showing some overall progress

If UCLA is going to steal a win on the road today, we will need our offense to step up and build on the improvement from last weekend. From the LA Times:

The Bruins rolled up 418 total yards. Quarterback Kevin Prince passed for 311 yards. Tailback Johnathan Franklin had a 74-yard touchdown run on a bum left ankle.

That's the glass-half-full spin.

There's also the glass-is-cracked-and-leaking-all-over-the-counter view of things.

The Bruins had to settle for field goals three of the four times they advanced close to the end zone. Prince had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He also fumbled while being sacked, leading to another touchdown in a 45-26 loss.

Tidying up the situation today against Arizona largely falls on Prince, who will be making his third start since returning from a fractured jaw. He completed 21 of 41 passes against Cal, and put 26 points on the board.

"This guy has a huge upside if he gets better every week," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.

For Prince to improve he is going to need help from his team-mates. We will see if the entire team does a better job of executing on offense which will entail finding his open receivers and on the flip side his receivers helping him out with running more aggressive and crisper routes. More after the jump.

On the defensive side Rahim Moore and co. are looking to erase the bad memories from last weekend. However, they are going to have their hands full with Arizona:

"We've gotta go out there and play good football, or else Arizona's gonna put 50 on us," said sophomore free safety Rahim Moore, whose five interceptions came in the Bruins' first two games. "And they are good enough to do it. We've got to come ready to play, which I know we are."

More from Rahim in the Daily News:

"They're going to do what they do," Bruins redshirt freshman safety Rahim Moore said. "They might keep it simple when they run the ball, but it's the best group of receivers I've seen in the Pac-10 since I've been playing. There are going to be a lot of opportunities. All we can do is sit back, relax, be patient and let the plays come."

That strategy worked in the Bruins' 3-0 start, in which they pressured opposing offensive lines, quarterbacks let loose a flock of ducks and defensive backs were there to gather them in.

Perhaps there is something to what Rahim said. At first blush when I read his quotes I thought why we would want to just "sit back" as we all have been clamoring for our D to get more aggressive. However, I think what Rahim might be referring to is the need for him and his team-mates to be disciplined and patient. He might be referring to the need for staying within their assignments so that they can find themselves in best position to make plays and then pounce on the opportunities. We will see how it all plays out today.

The kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 PST. We are going to shake things up here a bit and not do any pre-game threads. You can use this as pre-game thread leading up to game thread which will go up about half an hour before kickoff.

Let's see if the Bruins can come out and play with a mindset of showing no fear in desert.