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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 5, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Scouting UCLA

So I have to be honest that I’m not sure exactly how much those of you who read this regularly keep tabs on the other Pac-10 teams — if a big scouting report each week is necessary. Maybe some of you can let me know what you’d like to see in a regular look at each week’s opponent — even if we only have a few weeks left, always good to get feedback for the future, if nothing else.
As for UCLA, I assume most of you realize this has been a struggling team. After winning all three of its non-conference games, including a 19-15 victory at Tennessee — UCLA has lost all five of its Pac-10 games. All have been by a touchdown or more, and only really last week’s game at Oregon State — a 26-19 affair when UCLA rallied from a 19-3 deficit to force a tie before the Beavers scored in the final minute — was one that went down to the wire.
UCLA is now 7-13 in two years under former UW coach Rick Neuheisel, and 3-11 in Pac-10 play, beating only UW, WSU and Stanford last season.
The hope in Westwood, however, is that last week’s rally is an indication of a young team beginning to find itself — UCLA has seven freshmen or sophomores starting on defense and just eight seniors starting overall.
The QB is redshirt frosh Kevin Prince, who was briefly a commit to UW as part of the Class of 2008 before changing his mind. He is 10th in the conference in passing efficiency completing 92-167 for 1,052 yards with four TDs and four interceptions. Two of the TDs came in the fourth quarter against OSU, however, and he’s one of the players the Bruins think/hope are beginning to mature.
And there are some really impressive WRs on the UCLA roster, including 6-5 sophomore Nelson Rosario, who had his best game against OSU with six catches for 152 yards. UCLA’s height at WR, in my estimation, may be the toughest matchup UW has in this game.
UCLA is more veteran on defense with five senior starters led by MLB Reggie Carter and CB Alterraun Verner. Two other really good players are junior DT Brian Price and sophomore FS Rahim Moore, who is tied for the NCAA lead in interceptions with seven.
Here are UCLA’s per-game averages or season totals, and the NCAA rank in each category:

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2447 (109)
Passing Yards: 1631 (83)
Rushing Yards: 816 (104)
Points per game: 19.9 (107)
Yards per game: 305.9 (110)
Touchdowns: 11 (120)
Field Goals: 20 (1)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2841 (48)
Passing Yards: 1581 (36)
Rushing Yards: 1260 (74)
Points per game: 23.0 (52)
Yards per game: 355.1 (58)
Touchdowns: 19 (42)
Field Goals: 10 (68)
Now, a few words from UW’s coordinators about the Bruins.
First, UW DC Nick Holt, who is pretty darn familiar with the guy he will be going up against Saturday, UCLA OC Norm Chow, as the two worked together for a few years at USC.
Asked if that will make him more comfortable this week, knowing Chow and his offense so well, Holt said: “I don’t know comfortable — just got to be ready for everything. Going to get a lot of different formations and motions and shifts and got to be ready for all the empties, the no-back stuff, out of all the personnel (groupings). Norm does a good job with all that stuff. We’ve got too have good principles, which we have had since day one, knowing how to line up to everything. But you can’t have a lot of stuff in your scheme because hard to get lined up against it. Have to do what you do and do it really well.”
Holt downplayed the familiarity factor, however, saying that “after a while the Pac-10, everybody knows each other” and what their offenses or defenses do.
However, he said it does help preparation this week that UCLA’s offense is so similar to UW’s — remember that much of what the Huskies do is based on what USC did while Steve Sarkisian was there, a tenure that began with a few years working under Chow.
“It’s very similar,” Holt said. “And actually, it helps us because when we go against our offense we see some of the same concepts week in and week out — we’ve seen some of the same stuff this whole season by going against our offense. But they will have a new wrinkle, whether it’s a couple new formations, a trick play — they like some of that gimmick stuff. And they try to exploit what you have not done very well in the past and see what has hurt you and try to attack you with that stuff.”
Holt said the UCLA offense now hasn’t changed much from what Chow ran at USC:
“It’s similar to what we did at USC with a lot of the same concepts a lot of the run game and the nakeds — very similar.”
He also gave this assessment of Prince and the UCLA offense: “Early in the year they were 3-0, they looked like a good football team and moved the ball well. I don’t know what’s happened but they just seemed to not get it in the end zone the last couple of weeks and hopefully that can remain the status when we go down there. They have some good things and hopefully we can rise up.”
Finally, he gave this overall view on this week’s game: “It’s a chess match every week. Got to just make sure your kids are ready for all the stuff. It’s hard to prepare for all that they might do. Just got to mentally get them sharp, playing hard, tackling well, keeping their eyes open for big plays that might happen. It’s more about us, though, quite honestly, than what they might do. Get lined up, play really hard, we’re always going to be okay, if we can get turnovers.”
Now, a view of the UCLA defense from UW OC Doug Nussmeier:
Nussmeier said one key this week is trying to combat the field side pressure — or teams bringing blitzes from the wide side of the field — to contain the running of Jake Locker.
“You’d like to believe you can push the ball vertically inside between the tackles. Defensively, when people spread you out, hopefully you can attack them inside. So when you look at how defenses are being played, are they are plying inside defense or a playing outside defense.”
As for UCLA’s overall defense, he said this: “Good football team on defense. That 92 (P{rice) is probably the best defensive tackle we have seen all year long — he is a great player. And their free safety (Moore) obviously has interceptions — you have to know where he is at all time. The cornerback (Verner), the middle linebacker (Carter) they have great players. Very stingy in the red zone and they do a great job on third downs and get a lot of tackles for losses.
“They are aggressive within their scheme, they are very disciplined and do a great job of playing their scheme. They will pressure — I wouldn’t say they pressure more than anybody else we have seen, Would say they are 50-50.
Finally, a word on the Bruins from LA Times UCLA beat writer Chris Foster:

“UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel set the bar at a bowl game this year … any bowl game, whether it was it was on the edge of the wilderness in El Paso or among the neon lights in Las Vegas. That is unlikely to happen, so the Bruins look for any signs that they are improving.
A morsel was thrown their way last Saturday against Oregon State, as the offense found some life_and big plays_in rallying from a 19-3 deficit to tie the score before losing, 26-19. Quarterback Kevin Prince, once a Washington commitment, threw for 198 yards and had two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. Was it a break out game? That remains to be seen. But Prince, who missed three games with a fractured jaw, has thrown for more than 300 yards in two of the last three games_323 against Oregon State and 311 against Cal. As Prince goes, so goes the young UCLA offense.”



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