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UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

Bruins must try to slow 'frantic' Arizona offense

Up-tempo Wildcats were upsetting USC last week while Bruins' defense struggled in a 45-43 shootout victory over Arizona State.

November 01, 2012|By Chris Foster
  • Quarterback Matt Scott (10) and running back Ka'Deem Carey give Arizona two weapons opponents have to try to slow down.
Quarterback Matt Scott (10) and running back Ka'Deem Carey give Arizona… (Wily Low / Associated Press )

UCLA's defense will have to pick up the pace Saturday against Arizona at the Rose Bowl.

The Wildcats play fast. Really fast.

"They are frantic," UCLA Coach Jim Mora said.

The Wildcats rank fourth nationally in total yards (553.6 a game), fourth in passing yards (354.4) and 20th in scoring offense (39.1). And they do it lickety split.

The Bruins' defense appeared gassed at the end of a 45-43 victory over Arizona State last Saturday. The Sun Devils' no-huddle offense rolled up 535 yards and rallied from a 42-33 deficit in the last nine minutes. The Bruins won because they had the ball last.

"We thought we had seen a high-tempo offense every day in practice," Mora said. "Arizona State took it to a new level."

Arizona "might take it to another level" beyond even that, Mora said.

The Wildcats roll with their quarterback. Matt Scott had 369 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in a 39-36 victory over USC last Saturday.

"He is able to extend plays by getting out of the pocket," UCLA safety Andrew Abbott said. "There is always the threat of him running."

Mora is more concerned with the pace at which the Wildcats play.

"What we learned last week was you can't waste time at the end of a play mulling around," Mora said. "Usually you do a play, then you continue to think about what you did right, what you did wrong. Going against a high-tempo offense, you have to shut it off right away and get lined up."

The Bruins rank 76th in total defense, giving up 416.1 yards a game. Yet, UCLA has a 6-2 record and is bowl-eligible in October for the first time since 2005.

"I think it's ridiculous that people even rate defenses on number of yards allowed," Mora said. "Yards come many different ways. You might have a huge lead and change your style of defense. People get empty yards. What matters is points."

UCLA gives up 25.1 points a game, ranking 54th.

Secondary concerns

Arizona's ability to move the ball through the air presents a challenge to a UCLA secondary that has had its problems. The Bruins were carved up for 379 yards in a loss to Oregon State and 295 yards in a loss to California. Arizona State had 315 yards passing last week.

UCLA, which gave up two touchdown passes in its the first three games, has given up nine the last three games.

Old school

All it took in 1967 was 1,359 yards passing and 227 yards rushing for Gary Beban to win UCLA's first and only Heisman Trophy.

Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley has 2,190 yards passing and 267 yards rushing in eight games as a redshirt freshman.

Injury report

Tackle Simon Goines, who reinjured his left knee against Arizona State, was in practice all week. He will play against Arizona, Mora said.... Receiver Darius Bell has been cleared to play Saturday. He suffered a broken rib and separated shoulder against Cal on Oct. 6.... Guard Greg Capella continues to suffer from concussion symptoms and is not expected to return during the regular season.

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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