This Scouting Report is sponsored by InnSuites Hotels. If you're coming to town for the game, business or pleasure, why not stay where all fans stay. Stay at the Inn Suites Hotels & Suites. For more information, click on the banner below.UCLA Bruins
The teams have not met since 200 when UCLA won 27-24 when Bruin quarterback Cory Paus broke a couple of tackles for 13-yard touchdown with a mere 48-seconds left. SERIES NOTES: UCLA leads the series 15-9-2. Bruin coach Bob Toledo is 3-2 against Arizona. John Mackovic was 0-1 vs. the Bruins while at Texas.
WHEN THE BRUINS HAVE THE BALL
Cory Paus is out with a broken ankle and true freshman Drew Olson is now the man. The Bruins had the foresight to give Olson reps all season and when it was his time to start, Olson was up to the task. Playing within himself, Olson was 13-27 for 189 yards against the Huskies. He didn't throw a touchdown pass, but was not picked off either.
"They have a creative offense," said John Mackovic. "They do a lot of things. They do a real good job with complementary plays. They'll do a run, and then all of a sudden you'll see a complimentary run, and then you'll see a play-action pass."
Olson has a number of talented targets, including standout Mike Seidman. Seidman has quietly become not only one of the Pac-10's best tight ends, but one of the better players in the country at his position. Arizona has struggled to contain opposing tight ends and you can bet the Bruins have big things planned for their senior.
"We struggled covering the tight end a couple weeks here in the Pac-10, and their tight end, Mike Seidman, is very good," said Mackovic. "He's fast, smart, runs good routes, and they look for him. They throw the tight end screen to him or they send him down to go deep because he is very good there." As for their wideouts, the closest thing the Bruins have to a go-to guy is Tab Perry. As the season has progressed Perry has gotten better and better. In the last five games Perry has caught 21 passes for 435 yards, a 20.7 average. Joining Perry as a favorite target is Craig Bragg. The sophomore has become the team's big play guy and statistically he's one of the best young receivers in school history.
Tyler Ebell has developed into the Bruins' primary running back and is already the school's best freshman running back. His 734 yards is the highest total in school history, eclipsing the first seasons by players like Eric Ball, DeShaun Foster and Gaston Green. His coming out party was against Oregon State where he torched the talented Beaver defense for 203 yards on 29 carries.
Expect the Cats to mix things up on defense to try to keep the Bruins off balance. They'll switch from their normal 4-3 "flex" scheme into their 3-4 "stack" look. You can also expect a number of different coverages, including man, zone and nickel packages. The unit is getting healthier, but may not have the big bodies to match up with the huge line of the Bruins.
Their strategy will be similar to what they attempted to do last week against Oregon State. The Cats want to slow up the run and make the young Olson beat them with the pass. If they can rattle Olson, then the Cats could slow up the Bruin attack. If Olson remains calm and unpressured then the Cats could be in for a long day.
WHEN THE WILDCATS HAVE THE BALL
Arizona is struggling on offense and hit rock bottom against the Beavers where they failed to eclipse 100 yards on offense. Plain and simple, the Cats can't run. With a patchwork line and an injured Clarence Farmer, the Cats have not been able to get anything going in recent weeks.
Jason Johnson is still putting up decent numbers, but he hasn't been able to get the team in the end zone. He's facing a ton of pressure and teams can tee-off on the senior signal caller. Redshirt freshman Nic Costa will see time this week in an effort to evaluate the young passer.
Bobby Wade has been one of the few bright spots for the team, but the senior receiver needs help. Teams are scheming to slow down Wade and so far no one has filled the void. Andrae Thurman has become a competent number two receiver, but he isn't the playmaker that Wade is.
Beau Carr has shown flashes so far this season, but the true freshman has not been able to provide a consistent rushing attack. Mike Bell appears to still be a bit dinged up and has yet to go on track. Despite their rushing woes the Cats will still try to establish something on the ground.
The Bruins have a number of great players on their defense. Longtime ASU defensive coordinator Phil Snow has the unit playing well enough to win. Players like Ricky Manning, Matt Ware and Dave Ball are among the best in the conference. The athleticism of the unit is astounding and could give the Wildcats problems.
John Mackovic feels like Bob Toledo ran it up on his team when he was at Texas. Even today he seems displeased with the situation. There is no doubt that he'd like to pay the Bruins back. Unfortunately the Wildcats are scuffling and beating the Bruins would be a big upset. The Cats need to do a lot right to beat the Bruins and need some bounces to finally go their way. The Cats can pull off the win, just don't expect it.