UCLA, Texas have things to prove

Both teams are coming off down seasons, but the Bruins defeated the Longhorns, 34-12, last year in Austin. UCLA will have to play faster to keep up with Texas' speed.

September 16, 2011|By Chris Foster
  • Quarterbacks Richard Brehaut and Kevin Prince (4) will each get playing time against Texas on Saturday.
Quarterbacks Richard Brehaut and Kevin Prince (4) will each get playing… (Bret Hartman / Associated…)

UCLA gets a high-profile opportunity against Texas on Saturday. Both teams are coming off down seasons, though the Longhorns' fall to 5-7 was from a greater height. Texas had won at least 10 games in nine consecutive seasons. Staff writer Chris Foster examines the game's issues and matchups:

At a loss

Joe Tresey, UCLA's defensive coordinator, set a goal of eight tackles for a loss per game. The Bruins have a total of seven in two games.

The interior defensive front is getting pushed back and missed tackles almost seem like part of the game plan. Supposedly overmatched San Jose State gained 202 yards rushing.

Coach Rick Neuheisel pointed out that the Spartans had 100 of those yards in three plays. But that's a key stat only if a team can disallow an opponent's top three rushing plays.

Since no such mulligan exists, the Bruins will have to be better against Texas' running game.

Tresey keeps saying the Bruins need to play faster. They will have to against the Longhorns' speed.

Flashy freshman Malcolm Brown, who is expected to get his first start, has 154 yards rushing and averages 5.1 yards per carry.

Around the 'horns

Reputation met reality when UCLA beat Texas, 34-12, last year in Austin.

There was nothing tricky about the way the Bruins rammed the ball over and through Longhorns defenders for 264 yards rushing. No touches of finesse. Just, for the most part, smash-mouth football.

"You know, it's one thing if a team can throw against you," Texas safety Blake Gideon said. "But to run the ball on you, especially between the tackles, that's a test of manhood."

The Bruins also have run the ball well in the first two games of this season. As for Texas, the Longhorns have never-again intentions.

"To put it lightly, that was embarrassing," Gideon said.

Arms race

There's quarterback turmoil at both schools.

At UCLA, who will start, Kevin Prince or Richard Brehaut?

At Texas, sophomore Case McCoy and freshman David Ash top the depth chart. Garrett Gilbert, who started 14 consecutive games, will be the guy holding a clipboard in case he's needed.

Neither coach is tipping his hand. Neither has to, as the game plan seems pretty simple.

Whether he starts or not, Prince will see significant playing time. He beat Texas last year and most often ran the first-team offense during practice this week.

Texas seems locked into the quarterback two-step, which worked well enough to win against Brigham Young.

Veterans day

If experience means much, UCLA has a definite advantage.

Texas has played 18 true freshmen and seven redshirt freshmen. "Quite a few of them have never flown before," said Texas Coach Mack Brown. "It will be exciting for them and they'll be a little anxious probably."

On offense, the Longhorns start eight players who are freshmen or sophomores, including three on the line.

UCLA starts nine juniors or seniors on defense, eight on offense.

Numbers game

Texas has a 49-10 record in road games since Mack Brown arrived in 1998. Of course, his first road game was a loss — a 49-31 shellacking by UCLA at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA is 20-4 in nonconference games at the Rose Bowl — Rose Bowl game losses to Wisconsin omitted — since 1998, starting with that Texas game.

UCLA; Category; TEXAS

30.5; scoring offense; 25.5

29.5; scoring defense; 12.5

233.5; pass offense; 200.0

252.0; rush offense; 197.5

485.5; total offense; 397.5

212.5; pass defense; 143.0

180.5; rush defense; 86.5

393.0; total defense; 229.5

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