Let's start this game week by accentuating the positive which is keeping the focus on Kevin Prince and UCLA offense. For the first time this season the UCLA offense has an opportunity to build on some genuine momentum. Sure the offense showed some signs of life against California at our last home game but that game ended on a sour note for Prince after the pick-6. Before the Cal game Prince probably had his best game in the season opener against San Diego State. However, even in that game he fizzled out in the second half. So Oregon State was really the first game in Prince's young career in which he finished strong and it would be a huge shot in the Bruin psyche if he can come out and pick up right where he left off in Corvallis.
Of course Rick Neuheisel and others know that Prince was helped out by the fact that the Beavers were playing prevent offense. Still he is hoping that Saturday's experience will help with Prince's confidence:
"I saw a quarterback sitting in the pocket, making throws down the field," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He was composed despite the circumstances and was still able throw down the field. Whether deserved or not, the confidence will grow."
By that, Neuheisel said, he meant that sometimes teams will give up underneath completions while nursing a lead.
"Sometimes when you make a play, maybe the other team lets you make it by coming off coverage," Neuheisel said. "Whatever happens, you have the confidence to go out and do it. That's a huge benefit."
But Neuheisel said, "There was no accident. Oregon State was playing hard. Kevin made plays."
More from Jon Gold in the Daily News:
The biggest difference? Prince was willing to throw into coverage, essentially daring the Oregon State defense like he has not all year.
"The definition of `covered' is a vague one," Neuheisel said. "As you grow as a quarterback you realize, `That guy can't see this throw and I can put it in a position for my receive to make a play."'
After everything, it makes Neuheisel wonder how far along Prince would be if not for missing two games with a fractured jaw.
"It's gonna take some time, and you don't get to jump ahead of that time just because you're watching from a different vantage point," Neuheisel said. "Everybody needs to have practical experience before you can be proficient at something."
Well Prince and co are going to have a great opportunity to increase their confidence against a Washington Huskies team which has the 7th ranked passing defense in the conference (ranked 101st nationally). In terms of pass efficiency defense they are the second worst team in the conference.
The Huskies are coming into Pasadena following a bye week. Per the notes on CBSSportsline.com, Sark's bunch gave up 416 yards against the Ducks (then again compared to what Petey's defense did those are solid numbers I guess) the last time they were on the field. That was the fifth straight game they had given up that many yards or more. Apparently the opponents have been marching up and down on the Huskies both with passing game and ground attacks as " the Huskies have allowed 250 or more rushing yards in three of the past six games, and 295 or more passing in three of the last four." In other words, the Bruin offense will have an opportunity to build on this past weekend's fourth quarter. Let's hope they are not waiting till the 4th to unleash their offense this time around. More after the jump.
At this time of the year injury notes become pretty crucial. Here is the latest from the Daily News:
Senior linebacker Reggie Carter continues to play with a sprained knee, and he finished with just four tackles against Oregon State.
"I can't tell you the extent of the injury more than the doctors say, which is a mild knee sprain," Neuheisel said. "He is a very proud and good football player who is disappointed of the way things are going. We're in the throes of a very difficult string of games, and there's only one tonic for it."
Neuheisel said sophomore center Kai Maiava suffered a minor bruised elbow and redshirt freshman cornerback Aaron Hester had X-rays on his previously fractured leg after aggravating the injury, but the results were negative.
Great news on Hester. Hopefully he can be available on Saturday.
Of course we are not forgetting about the defense. We will be talking about those guys lot more this coming week. They are going to have their hands full with Jake Locker. Locker is an incredible athlete and a sure fire NFL first round draft pick. However, watching him this year reminds me a lot of Cade McNown from his first two years. He tries to put the entire offense on his shoulder and force the issue. That is why he has thrown a number of costly picks (8 of them to date) this year hurting the team.
It's pretty much a broken record on what we think Bullough needs to do: bring the heat. We will see if Bullough can make his defense any less predictable this coming weekend by changing things up to make Jake predictbale. He will have to because if not our defense will get burned by Jake's ability to make big plays. Should be a hell of Saturday at the Rose Bowl because this is shaping up to be a big game for both teams.