"We have to definitely improve before the start of the Pac-10 season," said Karl Dorrell at his weekly press conference.
It was clear that Dorrell was embarrassed by the performance his team gave in Utah, getting pounded 44-6 by a Utes team that was winless in its first two games against less than stellar competition.
"We have guys that need to step up, to execute better. And we have to coach them better," added Dorrell.
Washington has not had the best of luck against UCLA down in Pasadena, but the Huskies appear to be entering the contest with a lot of confidence after going 2-1 in their pre-conference schedule with their only loss being against #10 Ohio State.
On the good news side of the ledger for the Bruins, they will get dynamic freshman Bryan Price back. Price was the top recruit in last year's class and could make a difference on the interior defensive line. He was a five-star rated recruit from Crenshaw High School. He may help fill in for the loss if Brigham Harwell, who may be gone for the season.
The Bruins needed some good news after falling out of the AP top 25 and the coaches' poll this week.
Last weekend, offensively, UCLA accounted for 373 net yards, 290 passing and 83 rushing, but turned the ball over five times. Ben Olson completed 20 of 40 passes for 290 yard but had three interceptions. Brandon Breazell made six receptions for 121 yards and Marcus Everett added five for 68 yards. Kahlil Bell led the Bruins in rushing with 59 yards on 12 attempts and Chris Markey added 32 on 10 attempts.
Defensively, UCLA yielded 386 yards, 264 in the air and 122 on the ground. Alterraun Verner led the Bruins with 10 tackles while Chris Horton and Dennis Keyes added nine each. Tom Blake and Christian Taylor made six each.
The Dawgs would like to improve their mark against UCLA, as the hosts from Westwood have pretty much owned the Huskies over the past decade. The Bruins lead the overall series 35-29-2 count, but has won five of the last six series meetings and eight of the last 10. UW snapped a five-game Bruin series winning streak with last season's 29-19 victory in Seattle. The Bruins have captured the past five contests between the teams played in the Rose Bowl. UW last won in the Rose Bowl in the 1995 season.
The Bruins enter this contest not only reeling from a terrible loss, but also not without some injury concerns. QB Ben Olson has been limited in practice due to headaches this week.
UCLA QUICK FACTS
OFFENSIVE FORMATION: Multiple
DEFENSIVE FORMATION: 4-3
UCLA OFFENSE: Redshirt junior quarterback Ben Olson's five touchdown passes versus Stanford is tied for second on UCLA's single-game list. So moving the ball is something the Bruins can do. They will undoubtedly test the Husky secondary. True junior tailback Kahlil Bell rushed for 195 yards in the opener versus Stanford. That is the highest total by a Bruin in an opener. He added a team-high 79 yards versus BYU and a team best 59 at BYU and is third in the Pac-10 with an average of 111.0. UCLA is very experienced on offense. True senior Shannon Tevaga is considered one of the top offensive guards in the West. He has started 34 straight games, the longest streak on the team. Redshirt senior cornerback Trey Brown has now started 33 consecutive games. Others long in the tooth include OL Noah Sutherland (18), OL Chris Joseph (16), RB Chris Markey (16), and TE Logan Paulsen (12) on offense. In terms of throwing the deep ball, watch out for senior wide receiver Joe Cowan. He is one of just four players to have multiple career touchdown receptions of at least 77 yards for UCLA.
UCLA DEFENSE: This unit is loaded with experience, as DB Chris Horton will be starting his 18th consecutive game on Saturday. DL Bruce Davis (16) and DB Dennis Keyes both have started 16 consecutive games, while DL Kevin Brown has started 15 straight and LB Christian Taylor has started 10 in a row. Davis is the nation's leading returning sack specialist, collecting two so far this year to bring his career mark to 19.0. Washington will most likely need to leave a tight end in to help out on Davis. Keyes and Horton are excellent defensive backs on run support and lead the defense with 25 and 22 stops respectively. However they may be vulnerable to the deep ball, as Utah scored on a bomb on the first play from scrimmage last weekend against them. Aaron Whittington has 17 stops from his linebacking position but a concussion will most likely prevent him from playing much, if any, on Saturday. CB Trey Brown has been the star so far, picking off a ball and going 56 yards as well as forcing a fumble, breaking up 10 passes, and picking up a sack to go with his 14 stops.
UCLA SPECIAL TEAMS: Junior punter Aaron Perez has been named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List by The Greater Augusta Sports Council. The Ray Guy Award honors the top collegiate punter at the end of the football season, so you know that this guy is talented. He averages 42.9 yards per punt. Placekicker Kai Forbath has connected on five of seven field goal attempts with his long being a school-record tying 52 yarder. UCLA probably gets the edge here.
GAME OUTLOOK: Washington's pre-season schedule has been much more difficult than the Bruins, but will it have been enough to prepare the Dawgs to win a big one in their Pac-10 opener, on the road? Locker will be facing a very experienced secondary as well as one of the best pass rushers in the nation.
Offensively, UCLA has stuck with TB Chris Markey but in the first three games it is evident that Bell is the better back. One has to wonder if Dorrell will make that change on Saturday to keep the Huskies more honest against the run. The Husky pass rush will need to be ratcheted up a few notches in order to keep the secondary from having to cover much faster receivers for too long. The stage is set for Jake Locker to create a huge win to open the conference for the Huskies, and the timing is just right. Washington is catching the Bruins at a time when they are questioning themselves and they aren't as healthy as they would like to be.
DAWGMAN'S PREDICTION: UW 24, UCLA 23
Preview: UCLA Bruins (2-1)
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