September 1, 2008
UCLA/UT keys to the W
There will be several key matchups and interesting factors in today's game with Tennessee. Both teams will be introducing new quarterbacks. Kevin Craft get the start for UCLA and Jonathan Crompton will gets the nod.
Crompton will be protected by one of college football's best offensive lines. They return all five starters from a year ago that only allowed four sacks, all season long.
One of the most interesting battles of this game will be against UCLA's defensive line and Tennessee's offensive line. Something will have to give.
UCLA's defensive front is always among the leaders in sacks and it is a good bet that the Bruins will try to keep Crompton from getting any rhythm in the passing game. If and it is a big if, the Bruins are able to put pressure on the young Tennessee signal caller this will go a long way in equalizing things.
That may put more pressure on Tennessee's running game and run defense has been stellar since DeWayne Walker became defensive coordinator three years ago.
The Vols have an outstanding running back in San Diego product, Arian Foster. He rushed for 1,193 yards and needs just 684 yards to become Tennessee's all-time leading rusher.
Because of the offensive line, you would have to give Crompton the edge.
Craft has a very inexperienced line. His confidence and that of his greenhorn line will be helped immensely if the Bruins could get Kahlil Bell off to the races.
If the Bruins can manufacture a running game that will help keep their defense off the field, this will be another thing that will help the Bruin cause.
On paper Tennessee has the stronger team, but games are won by players that execute the game plan.
Craft's big advantage is he has been tutored by one of the best, if not the best, offensive coordinators in college football history in Norm Chow and head coach Rick Neuheisel is also an outstanding QB coach.
Where UCLA's front seven are the strength of their defense, Tennessee's back seven is the strength of theirs.
For the Bruins to pull off the upset, they will have to play error free football and not help Tennessee with turnovers that turn into easy scores. It is imperative that Craft takes care of the football, as has been mentioned; Tennessee has an outstanding secondary and can't make it easy on them.
The Bruin defense will have to play a big part in this victory. Walker's D has to control the line of scrimmage against a very good offensive line. They have to find a way to put pressure on Crompton and we already know that will not be an easy feat.
Both defenses are somewhat of a disadvantage, due to the fact; both offenses have new coordinators, so the defenses really don't have anything concrete to rely on.
If the defenses for both teams dominate this game could be closer than the experts think. The Bruins are a 7.5 point underdog and if this comes down to a defensive struggle then special teams could be the difference.
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