Previewing BYU Opponents: UCLA

This game will be the third meeting in one year with each team winning once. This year will be different, because the Bruins have a new coach ‘Slick’ Rick Neuheisel and former BYU, USC, and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow.2008 ucla football, norm chow, rick neuheisel

Neuheisel took over for Karl Dorrell who compiled a record of 35- 27, and if you take away his 10-2 record UCLA was just a .500 team on his watch. At least on the UCLA side they will be familiar with BYU, since the Cougars return nearly every offensive star from last years team. The Bruins open up with Tennessee at home on September 1, and then have a bye week to rest and prepare for the game at BYU. Playing Tennessee before is good and bad for the Bruins first is because UCLA will be playing a top line opponent in the Volunteers which will help them when they face a good BYU team later, but on the flip side UCLA will not be as vanilla on offense or defense as if they were playing a low level opponent. That could help BYU to see what the Bruin team will really be like, even though UCLA is familiar with team BYU is playing Northern Iowa in week one which will give the Bruins little to go off of since BYU will keep it simple.

ucla 2008 football

Offense: The main question is who will play QB this season. Injuries and inexperience have clouded who will be starting against Tennessee opening weekend. Pat Cowan was considered the number one and Ben Olson number, but injuries to both in the spring hurt the team in the new offense that Chow has set up.  Here is the QB situation as written from BruinsNation and someone who is closer to the situation then me.

Cowan is injured indefinetly.
Olson is injured, has been inconsistent when healthy and is now working with the fourth OC of his career.
Forcier is inexperienced.
Craft is inexperienced and a JC transfer who was a San Diego State level recruit.
Rashaan has a tiny bit of experience, but lacks something or he wouldn’t have been fifth string before the injuries.
Crissman is a true freshman.

It is safe to say that the offense might struggle, but do not discount Norm Chow who always gets his teams ready to play with his style of play calling.  As for the rest of the offense the running back situation is going to be held down by players who saw limited action last year with Chane Moline who had only 196 yards all of last year, another could be Craig Sheppard who saw very limited playing time.  This Bruin offense will have new faces and new plays with the changes in the coaching staff.

Defense: Since this is the Pac-10 defense is light, but by the conference standards UCLA’s was not too bad.  They did give up 20 points or more eight times and lost six of those times.  The BYU offense will be better then last years offense which was very solid.  In the two games last year UCLA allowed 391 yards in the first game which was a Bruin a win, and then in the Las Vegas Bowl they only allowed 154 yards, but lost the game.   Their defense will need to be able to apply pressure to BYU’s offensive line and QB Max Hall

Early Prediction: BYU is at home and they rarely lose at home, and this should be a BYU win because they are the better.   This game will go BYU’s way with a 7-13 point win.

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