Previewing the Season : UCLA

25_medium   vs.   26_medium

Game #7 : October 25 vs. UCLA (time and television TBA).

TwistNHook:  Ok, who wants to eat some shorts?  I know they do!

Yellow Fever:  I think they'd rather have a quarterback right about now.  Can we trade them either Riley or Longshore for a...a...um.  Is there anything we want from UCLA?

HydroTech:  There is nothing we want from UCLA.  Why downgrade? 

ragnarok:  Norm Chow?

I hear lots of raving about how great a defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker is, and there are lots of Cal fans (though I'm not one of them) who are quite concerned by the performance of Bob Gregory.  Perhaps a deal could be worked out.

Oh, and we'd like our fight song back.  Not that I'm bitter or anything.

TwistNHook:  Somebody's Bitter!

CBKWit:  I'm not that sold on Walker, either.  Nasty Nate had probably the best game in his career against UCLA in 2006.  I believe that he was 21/24 for a couple of scores, with one incompletion coming on a perfect 50 yard bomb to Jordan, who somehow dropped it, and another coming on a throw away.  Walker was playing his DBs in single coverage against us and never adjusted, even though Nate was hitting everyone deep and our receivers had no trouble running right by the defense.  Clearly, he was trying to stack the box and take away Lynch...only Lynch had a superb game as well, over 100 yards and a couple of scores.  It was one of the most efficient offensive games of the Tedford era, and that's saying something.  So no, I think I'll pass on Walker (in 2 months when they hold Best to 20 yards I'm going to look really stupid).  Anybody else want something from our academically inferior sibling?

TwistNHook:  You mean the academically inferior sibling I got rejected from?

HydroTech:  Well, Twist, you are going to have to be more specific there, I predict you got reject from a LOT of schools.  Either way, there is something I want from UCLA: Ditty Reese.  I'd trade Top Dog, Bongo Burger, La Vals, and the entire Asian Ghetto for Ditty Reese.

ragnarok:  OK, I'll bite:  what the heck is Ditty Reese?

CBKWit:  And how dare you say you'd trade top dog for something!  Where else can you get chewed out by 30 year old burn outs at 2 in the morning while eating delicious, delicious pig?  This Ditty Reese better be spectacular.

HydroTech:  Basically, Ditty Riese is a cookie/ice cream shop where they serve you cheap but high quality cookies with some ice cream in between them.  It's like heaven.  It's to die for.  The cookies are good.  The ice cream is good.  I like to imagine I'm the ice cream - cold yet irresistible, and smashed between the warm sugar cookies who are Jessica Alba and Adriana Lima.  Anyways, every UCLA student knows what Ditty Reese is.  Word is that even Southern Cal students put on their kevlar and make the dangerous treck outside the safe confines of the high brick and barbed wire fences surrounding the Southern Cal campus to go to Ditty Reise.  Seriously guys, if you haven't had a Ditty Reise, you're missing out.  Like I said, I'd trade almost every restaurant around campus to have a Ditty Reise restaurant.

Yellow Fever:  I think you spelled Riese/Reese/Reise about three different ways.

Anyway, I'd prefer Sally Yoshino and Mirai Hoshizaki, but that's just me.  And don't go Googling them right now.  Not work safe.

Shouldn't we get back to talking about the team?

TwistNHook:  I think it's actually Diddy Reise.  Our seeming inability to spell ain't helping our "UCLA is academically inferior" tagline here.

HydroTech: Ok, ok, ok, I just realized I spelled Ditty Reise in 3 different ways.  That's what happens you start daydreaming about Ditty Reise, Adriana Lima, Jessica Alba, eating Ditty Reise off of Adriana Lima... okay, I'll stop there. 

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"I WANT I WANT I WANT I WANT!"  -  Image via farm3.static.flickr.com

So back to football.  How 'bout UCLA's QBs?  They sure got some winners there!

Yellow Fever:  62-0.

TwistNHook:  Well, YF, that was a delightfully quick response to his QB question. 
I have heard that the QB situation is a bit poor down there.  Do you think the Ghost Of Karl Dorrell (oooh, spooky!) is acting up?

HydroTech:  What is there to talk about regarding UCLA?  I think the most interesting topic to discuss is the QB position.  Now, I haven't been following their team in-depth so I'm not up to date on their players, but I think their QBs are pretty beat up.  If I'm not mistaken, I think the UCLA QB battle is between juco transfer Kevin Craft and Chris Forcier since Olson and Cowan are injured.  So what's the skinny on Craft and Forcier?  Well, Craft apparently has some pretty good mobility.  But actually, Forcier might be even faster.  Forcier apparently runs about a 4.5 forty.  While most people in the Pac-10 seem pretty concerned about Wasington's Jake Locker because of his mobility, perhaps they ought to give some notice to Forcier who can be even more of a headache with his speed.  Plus, if Forcier is actually a decent passer, as opposed to Locker (47.3% completion; 14:15 TD:INT), Forcier really might be a true dual-threat QB.

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"Let's welcome the new UCLA Quarterbacks Coach!"  -  Image via www.musc.ed

TwistNHook:  Any predictions as to when Forcier gets injured?

HydroTech:  Probably in the week before UCLA opens against Tennessee.

TwistNHook:  Ok, Hydro, now it's time to earn those big bucks.

What's UCLAs 8th string QB like?  He is, after all, the QB Cal is most likely to face.

HydroTech:  Karl Dorrell is actually their 8th string QB.  He so lives to take the UCLA football team down from the inside, he has walked on with a fake mustache.  Nobody knows it's Dorrell, but there's a good chance the way UCLA QBs are getting injured soon Dorrell will be back living the dream:  Single-handedly ruining UCLA football.

ragnarok:  In the interest of giving our readers actual information, I feel compelled to point out that Ben Olson has already had surgery, and could be back as soon as UCLA's matchup with Oregon in early October.  If that came to pass, it would only give him about 2 weeks to get injured again, meaning we might actually get to face him this year.

HydroTech:  In that case, let's take a look at Ben Olson.  He had a 48.3% completion percentage last year and had a 7:6 TD:INT ratio.  Who would you rather play against, the inexperienced but fast Forcier or the experienced but Longshore-esque statue that is Olson?  I'll go with Forcier because he has less experience.

Actually, because UCLA's OL is so beat up too, perhaps Forcier is the better option for them considering he has the wheels to escape the pass rush.

CBKWit:  Even though Ben Olson was much more highly touted (even more so than Ayoob!) than Pat Cowan, I was always more afraid of Cowan.  He doesn't have Olson's arm, but he seems to move the offense more efficiently.  He seems clutch, whereas Olson seems like a bust.  Both seem injured, so I guess it doesn't matter much.

TwistNHook:  Much is being made of the offense, but let's take a second to look at the defense.  Last year, much was made of the impressive number of seniors as returning starters.  And, of course, when you have an impressive number of seniors as returning starters, the year after tends to have few returning starters.  This year the defense apparently only has 5 returning starters.  Linebacker appears to be solid, but the defensive backfield appears to be one of the weakest position.  Remember last year, how we only had SydQuan returning with any real experience.  It is like that with only Alterraun Verner as a returning starter.  He had a very solid season last year and could definitely be a force out there.  But the rest of the defensive backfield has much less experience.

Hey, I'm doing this whole "legit analysis" thing correct, right?  Trying to turn over a new leaf here.

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"YOU'LL NEVER BE RID OF ME!!!  MWAHAHAHAHAH!"  -  Image via i.a.cnn.ne

HydroTech:  I think Twist has been taken over by some sort of unholy spirit that is forcing him to read UCLA preview articles and regurgitate the information here.  We need to help him, quick, hand me that holy water and Bible!  MAY THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPEL YOU.  MAY THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPEL YOU! 

But yes, Alterraun Verner had a very good season last year with 75 tackles, 4 INTs, and 15 pass breakups(!!!).  Perhaps offenses should look to the other side of the field and pick on redshirt freshman Courtney Viney who is 5'8" and about as light as the leaf that TwistNHook just turned over.  Much like teams picked on Syd instead of throwing to Daymeion Hughes, maybe Cal will pick on Viney.  If I recall correctly, Cal recruited Viney.

TwistNHook:  It's tough to predict this game, because Tedford alone knows who the UCLA QB will be.  Still, I feel that Cal can take this game.  7-0!  Maybe 4-0, if we miss the Field Goal.  Go Bears!

Yellow Fever:  77-12.

TwistNHook:  Our discussion has caused you to make Cal's offense better and defense worse from your initial assessment, apparently. 

HydroTech:  Very tough game. Cal 1-0.

TwistNHook:  Similar to Cal, there are many questions offense here.  However, the difference between Cal and UCLA is the offensive line.  I believe Cal will have a very strong offensive line anchored by Alex Mack, which hopefully will help give the young offensive skill players time to gel.  UCLA's offensive line, however, does not appear to be as strong.  They have their 4th OLine coach in as many years.  Only 2 teams gave up more sacks last year than UCLA apparently and half of that line is not returning this year.  They have a converted tight end apparently at one spot and a converted DE at another.

Of course, with Norm Chow heading the offense there is always going to be hope.  Chow has proven he can create at the highest level of college football.  But that was with incredibly stacked USC teams.  The cupboard appears to be bare on offense here at UCLA.  Moreover, they do not appear to have the offensive line to help the skill players gel.  It could be a long season in Westwood.

ragnarok:  Agreed.  Norm Chow has been rightly lauded for his coaching skill (some might argue that USC hasn't quite been the same since he left), but he isn't a miracle worker.  I went looking back through Chow's history, trying to see if I could find a corollary to this year's Bruins squad.  Obviously, most of his Trojans teams were *way* more loaded offensively than UCLA is right now, but I think the 2001 USC team, Chow's (and Pete Carroll's) first in LA, is a pretty decent case study.

The 2001 Trojans were hardly bereft of talent (the team featured future Heisman winner Carson Parlmer throwing to future NFLers Keary Colbert and Kareem Kelly) but were coming off a disappointing 5-7 campaign that got Paul Hackett fired.  So how did Chow's first year go?  Well, the team did get better, going 6-6, including a berth in the Las Vegas Bowl, which they lost, 10-6, to Utah.  Hardly stellar.  Additionally, that team was carried mostly by its defense, Pete Carroll's specialty, including the 11th-ranked scoring defense.  USC in 2001 was just 61st in the country in scoring offense, and just 94th in total offense.  Part of that certainly can be laid at the feet of the 109th-ranked rushing offense (out of 115 teams), which featured leading rusher Sunny Byrd (Raise your hand if you remember him.  Liar.), but notwithstanding dumping 40+ points on UA and ASU, who won a combined 3 Pac-10 games, and a 55-point explosion against a famously awful Cal team, the Trojans were really not special at all on offense.

Of course, in 2002, USC went on to win 11 games and destroy Iowa in the Orange Bowl.  I would look out for UCLA in 2009.

In any case, the home team has won every game in this series this decade, and I don't see that streak ending this year.  Cal 31, UCLA 19.

CBKWit:  Cal-28, Ucla-13, CBKWit's satisfaction for beating these guys-100%.

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