We now have a day left till kickoff but the wait still seems endless. It was fun watching the kickoff to 2010 college football season but still the anticipation right now is killing me. Apparently the anticipation is getting the players at Spaulding even more edgy and fired up. A skirmish between Taylor Embree and Akeem Ayers broke out yesterday which dissipated right away. Rick Neuheisel joked it's the first time in a while he saw a skirmish break out on a Thursday of game week. In any event everyone is edgy and cannot wait till Saturday.
As for news nothing too dramatic out of Spaulding (and we like that). As Coach Rick Neuheisel has maintained all along he is not going to name any starter at QB before game day. Also Kai Forbath did some warm-ups but per coaches' orders didn't practice. It looks like he will travel with the team to Kansas but will available only for "emergency" situations. Here was CRN after practice yesterday (via Jon Gold):
Can't imagine dealing with the same annoying questions yesterday. It is hilarious that the beat reporters need to know so badly when the starter is going to be announced.
To get a sense of a football knowledge of UCLA's beat reporters check out Jill Painer's post on "Inside UCLA" blog where she confuses Hawaii's run and shoot offense (which ESPN announcers were dubbing as the "pistol" offense) with UCLA's revolver formation. Apparently when Painter goes to practices she doesn't pay attention to how our guys line up. Otherwise she wouldn't miss basic differences like how Hawaii's offense (which was amusingly effective against all those Trogan All Americans) doesn't feature a F-Back . So yeah imagine CRN dealing with these guys every day after practice. Anyway, more after the jump.
Per Gold's notes Kevin Prince looked good on Thursday:
* Kevin Prince looked the best he's looked in a while, and though he was off on some passes, I think he's definitely good to go.
* Saw a couple of nice catches today, including a great grab by Josh Smith. If the line holds up, expects some impressive down-field gains.
Speaking of Smith, Chris Foster from the LA Times sought out the Colorado transfer get a sense of the environment in Manhattan:
"That is one of the hardest places to play in the Big 12 Conference," said Smith, who had two receptions for 70 yards in the game. "We went in there undefeated in conference, having just beaten Baylor and Oklahoma, and they beat us bad. That crowd came to pull it over."
Smith, who will be making his UCLA debut, has schooled his new teammates on the pratfalls of playing in what Southern Californians might consider the middle of nowhere. Fans at Kansas Sate have few distractions to take their minds off football.
"The 'Purple People Eaters' are always aggressive," Smith said of the crowd. "We got to be ready for that. They got their little section where they get creative and talk a whole lot of stuff."
LOL at "stuff." As excited as I am to see the debut of our freshmen, it is going to be interesting to see how they react to the pressures on the road.
As for the Wildcats, Peter Yoon from ESPNLA tells us how Bruins "have to respect Bill Snyder." Talk about stating the obvious. Seems like a silly title because Bruins know full well the accomplishments of Coach Snyder. Plus I would expect the Bruins to respect every opponent. Meanwhile, the Sports Network has a preview of the game with the following notes on Wildcats:
With four starters back along the offensive line, and with 1,000-yard rusher Daniel Thomas healthy and ready to make his senior year a banner one, look for K-State to once again feature the running game. Thomas, who gained 1,265 yards and scored 11 TDs in 2009, is already one of the better backs in the Big 12, but the Wildcats need the passing game to gel in order to alleviate some pressure from his shoulders. For now, senior Carson Coffman is atop the depth chart at quarterback, but he will need to produce in order to fend off sophomore Collin Klein and redshirt junior Sammuel Lamur. The KSU offense accounted for just seven passing TDs all of last season, so getting the ball down the field will be instrumental in keeping opposing defenses from keying on the run game. The receiving corps is unproven, but there is talent in the form of senior Aubrey Quarles and a couple of transfers in Brodrick Smith and Chris Harper.
Last year, the Wildcats were pretty stingy against the run (105.4 ypg), but somewhat lax in defending the pass (234.5 ypg). Maintaining the former while improving the latter will obviously help K-State achieve its goals this season. Only a handful of starters return, but the majority are in the secondary which should help against the pass, although a lack of experience in the front seven could mean a slide down the rankings when it comes to stopping the run. Junior safety Tysyn Hartman impressed with his coverage and leadership throughout camp. Outside of junior DE Brandon Harold, there isn't much in the way of proven talent up front. Add a rather green collection of linebackers and it's really anyone's guess as to how the Wildcats are going to measure up against the better teams they will play this season.
Those guys actually think the Bruins will sneak out of Manhattan with a 23-17 win.
To me I think the key will be how our inexperienced defense attacks the Wildcats from the get go. What I am dreading is the Chuck Bullough will come out with a conservation/reactive game plan in the first half and play it safe. If that is the mindset we take, we are going to be in trouble with a passive mindset. I was encourage by what CRN said following practice yesterday about swarming to the ball and aggressively gang tackling Daniel Thomas and rest of the Wildcats. I think that will be one of the keys. If the Bruins can be physical at the point of attack from early on, I think it will set an encouraging tone for the day.
Lastly, it's Friday of Gameweek. You know what that means. Look out for Achilles much anticipated BN guessing game later today. Can't wait.