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UCLA Preview

August 24, 2003|STEVE HENSON

Sept. 6 at Colorado 12:30 p.m. Channel 7: The Karl Dorrell era opens at one of his previous employers in a game certain to stoke emotions on both sidelines. UCLA assistants Eric Bieniemy and Jon Embree are former Buffalo coaches and Bruin strength coach Doc Kreis was fired from Colorado.

Sept. 13 Illinois 5 p.m. Channel 7: Rising Illini quarterback Jon Beutjer will test a Bruin defense that believes it is the strength of the team. Sandwiched between the emotional Colorado opener and a visit to No. 1 Oklahoma, this home opener could be a slippery slope.

Sept. 20 at Oklahoma 12:30 p.m. Channel 7: A brutal nonconference schedule reaches its pinnacle against the No. 1 Sooners. The challenge can be summed up this way: Oklahoma ended last season defeating Washington State, 34-14. UCLA ended its season losing to Washington State, 48-27.

Sept. 27 San Diego State 7 p.m.: UCLA shut down Aztec Coach Tom Kraft's potent passing attack in a 43-7 victory last season. This year the San Diego State defense could pose mild problems behind linebacker Kirk Morrison and defensive backs Jeff Shoate and Marviel Underwood.

Oct. 4 Washington 12:30 p.m. Ch. 7 or 3:30 p.m. FSN: Normally a return home for former Bruin quarterback Rick Neuheisel, now this Pacific 10 Conference opener qualifies only as a homecoming for Husky co-defensive coordinator Phil Snow, who turned the UCLA defense into a formidable unit the last two years.

Oct. 11 at Arizona 12:30 p.m. Ch. 7 or 3:30 p.m. FSN: Will Wildcat Coach John Mackovic last this long or will UCLA be facing a team refreshed by a midseason coaching change? Either way, this is a road game the Bruins should win.

Oct. 18 California 12:30 p.m. Channel 7 or 7 p.m. TBS: The Bear defense returns only two starters and the offense is without quarterback Kyle Boller, meaning the remarkable job Coach Jeff Tedford did turning around the program in his first year will have to be even more remarkable this season.

Oct. 25 Arizona State 7 p.m. Fox Sports Net: After facing Beutjer and Washington's Cody Pickett, the Bruin defense should be prepared for Arizona State quarterback Andrew Walter. UCLA did not play the Sun Devils last season but had little trouble scoring big against them in recent years.

Nov. 1 at Stanford 2 p.m.: Contain receiver/punt returner Luke Powell, keep unpredictable quarterback Chris Lewis from making outrageous plays and UCLA should knock off the Cardinal, a program that has slid since Coach Tyrone Willingham left for Notre Dame.

Nov. 8 at Washington State 4 p.m. Channel 7: Gone are big names Mike Price, Jason Gesser, Rien Long and Marcus Trufant. Returning are enough solid no-name coaches and players to make a road game in Pullman unpleasant for anyone.

Nov. 15 Oregon TBD: Oregon ducked out of the Rose Bowl with close victories the last two years in games former UCLA coach Bob Toledo's play-calling was questioned. If breaks even out, the Bruins are due for a winning field goal as time expires.

Nov. 22 USC TBD: Reversing the recent Trojan dominance in this storied series might be a year or so away. But stranger outcomes have happened. If the new Bruin coaching staff has brought the team to the brink of a bowl game by this time, an upset is possible.

All game times Pacific; all times tentative because of television


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