We are less than three hours away from kickoff. Our game thread will go up about half an hour before the schedule time (12:30 pm PST). It sounds like Bruins who are in Austin are just living it up (making rest of us envious). As for getting up to speed with what is happening with this game there isn't much of new content and info. we are going to learn at this point. However, just to keep with BN gameday tradition, let's go through the new stories from today that was interesting to yours truly.
Jon Gold from the Daily News writes about how the Houston game was the first time when UCLA played as a "complete" team with contributions from both offense and defense. One of the reasons for that happening was that we finally saw somewhat of a confident Kevin Prince. Gold's report on Prince was somewhat encouraging:
[T]he Crespi product appears fully recovered from back and shoulder issues that plagued him for nearly a month during fall camp and early in the season.
The passing offense was crisp and efficient in practice as the Bruins prepared for Texas' phenomenal secondary of cornerbacks Curtis Brown and Aaron Williams and safeties Blake Gideon and Christian Scott. Brown, Williams and Gideon were named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list.
"No. 1, we have to hit passes that are open," UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Whether it's accuracy or protection or route-running, we have to hit things that are open. We have to continue to see how people are playing us, on any given day, and be able to dial up what we need to take advantage of what we have in the run game."
Well all eyes are going to be on Prince and Bruin receivers today on whether they will improve on their efforts from last three games (which haven't been up to par). Peter Yoon from ESPNLA gave his keys from Bruin perspective to this game. I'd add another one to it (which I got from the podcast from yesterday). As the guys from Barking Carnival mentioned if the Bruins were to have any kind of shot today, it'd be imperative for us to get into manageable situations on 3rd downs. That would UCLA receivers giving at least an above average effort helping out the entire team.
On the defensive side, we are going to be closely watching the kind of game Chuck Bullough calls and how he handles the personnel situation. It appears that Owa could be in position to get decent amount of reps (as Iuta Tepa is out with a season ending injury). From the LA Times:
"Oh man," Bullough blurted out at the mention of Odighizuwa. "He's a physical specimen.
"He's ready physically. He has only been here eight weeks. He has to learn all the little details that go with playing defensive end. You can't expect him to be Datone Jones right away. But in terms of physicality, he is impressive."
For those counting, Bullough used variations of the word "physical" three times in what was about a 40-second interview.
Odighizuwa said that his technique is coming along, but "I have to work on my foot and hand placement. I have to get better at the hand fighting. I have to shuck and shed."
The LA Times of course as usual is day late and dollar short with putting out it's UCLA storylines heading into Saturday. They finally have a piece on Rout 66, which is not going to tell you anything new from what you have been reading all week.
Lastly, we will end with the following from the OC Register which describes the state of irrelevance wrt to UCLA (thanks to Karl Dorrell):
The Bruins have been off college football's radar for much of the past decade. The Bruins have made just one appearance (No. 23 in the Sept. 2, 2008 poll) since the second week of Sept. 2007. The likes of Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Wake Forest and Hawaii have appeared in the Top 25 more recently than UCLA.
UCLA is 5-14 against Top 10 teams since 2000 and has lost its last eight road games against Top 10 teams, the last away victory against a Top 10 opponent coming at No. 10 Arizona on Oct. 10, 1998. Until the Bruins knocked off No. 23 Houston, 31-13, last week, UCLA had lost seven consecutive games to Top 25 teams.
As the article mentioned at the very top even Idaho, Troy, Middle Tennessee State, East Carolina, Central Michigan, Villanova, five of the WAC's nine teams and Richmond, James Madison and Montana, have received more recent votes in the AP poll than UCLA. Bruins have been unranked for 49 consecutive weeks in the Associated Press poll, which is now the longest stretch in school history.
We appreciate the talk of earning "respect" from Rahim Moore and rest of the team. It's time for them to earn it on the field. See you in the game thread.