Know Your Foe- UCLA

Tracy Pierson of Bruin Report Online answers your questions on the Bruins...

What matchup worries UCLA fans the most on Saturday?
I don't really know what match-ups worry fans. The one that would concern UCLA the most would be whether Utah's rushing defense is actually capable of stopping UCLA's running attack. Really, no defense has yet to stop UCLA's running game completely. The only way it was limited this season was when UCLA fell considerably behind and had to pass the ball. So, that's easily the biggest concern, because if Utah can actually limit UCLA's running game, that takes away UCLA's best chance of winning.

What matchup do UCLA fans feel most comfortable with?
Again, I don't know about what the fans are thinking, but UCLA is probably still pretty confident it can run the ball. I know, I just said that might be its biggest concern, but it's also probably what UCLA is most confident it can succeed in doing -- against any team. The last two weeks neither Cal nor Arizona State were been able to figure out and contain Kevin Prince on the zone read. Both opposing defenses knew it was coming but they stil couldn't defend it.

Weather forecast for Saturday looks very cold and very rainy or snowy. How do you expect this to influence UCLA?
I think it will benefit UCLA, since UCLA's bread and butter is running the ball. If it's forced not to pass, it certainly won't, and it won't be that concerned not doing it. I think the UCLA coaches are praying it rains or snows. The line of thought would be that inclement weather would limit John Hays' ability to throw the ball, and dramatically limit UCLA's throwing game. They'd very much like to have it come down between UCLA's running game and Utah's running game.

With Utah in the PAC-12, and now going head-to-head with UCLA on many recruiting battles, what % of recruits UCLA will get over Utah?
This is a tough question to answer. There are just too many factors that go into recruiting. I think Utah's recruiting profile will improve in Southern California since it now can attract recruits by selling them on playing in the Pac-12. But both teams' recruiting depends mostly on how successful they are on the fied. If UCLA were getting even just 9 wins per season, they'd be one of the strongest recruiting programs in the west. If Utah put together some 9- or 10-win seasons I think they'd be able to be very competitive in recruitng California. I think there will always be somewhat of a stigma for Southern California kids about going to Utah -- the diference in culture and definitely the climate. But overall, being in the Pac-12 should help Utah's recruiting considerably.

What playmakers should the Utes worry about most?
Derrick Coleman. He's 6-0 and 230 pounds and he's now running with explosion. Nelson Rosario has a knock on him that he doesn't always put out a 100% effort, and it's warranted, but he always seems to come up with big plays. The 6-8 tight end Joe Fauria is perhaps one of UCLA's best weapons, but the offensive brain trust only uses him sporadically.

How well does Norm Chow know the offense that UCLA is currently running?
He operated out of it for a season, so he knows it well enough, I think, to give Utah an advantage over other UCLA opponents in knowing how to defend against it.

How will UCLA change its offensive schemes to go up against a defense that stops the run so well?
It won't. I think UCLA has the mindset that it can run on anybody. Plus, the zone read has an element of surprise built into it inherently. UCLA might have a few new wrinkles put in their running game like they do every week, but it won't be a drastic change in its philosophy.

What will it take for Rick Neuseisal to retain his job?
He'd have to probably win out, beat USC, and then have a very respectable showing in the Pac-12 Championship game and the bowl game to push it to the point that the UCLA administration has a dilemma on its hands.

UCLA will win if....?
...Kevin Prince has the zone read working and he breaks off some big runs, and UCLA doesn't turn the ball over too much.

Utah will win if....?
...It can contain UCLA's running game.

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