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Our mule is a first class mule, thank you: UCLA Bruins talking points

  • 2 out of 2 disinterested bloggers agree. Dawg Sports and House of Sparky are both picking the Vols over UCLA for this week's Labor Day matchup. Sparky even goes so far as to say it will be ugly. The distinctly partisan Bruins Nation also predicts a loss to the Vols, saying that the defense will have its hands full and that UCLA's only real chance can be found in its running game.

    With all this pessimism, the players are naturally dancing the proverbial "chip-on-the-shoulder" dance. It's a bit clumsy and awkward, though, in my opinion. Running back Kahlil Bell trips over his own toes:
    "We’re doing all right," Bell said of the oft-criticized [offensive] line. "We’re not as bad as everyone says we are. I don’t even think we’re bad. I’m just sick and tired of it and I think they are too."
    Huh. Not as bad as everyone says we are. Decent start. I don't even think we're bad. Whoa, whoa, whoa, Mr. Bell. Try I think we're going to surprise some people or we know what we can do it or something like that. Just not something that essentially says by omission that you might be something less than good. Re-cue the music and watch me this time. We know this routine by heart.
  • Still . . . some think they have the formula for beating Tennessee, a formula that includes more amusing stereotypes and snobbery. To wit:
    "Here’s how the Bruins can start their season off right and send the Vols’ fans back to Rocky Top with nothing but a hangover to show for their mule ride over the prairies."
    Hey, come on now. That's one first class mule.
    "Pin Tennessee’s tailbones to the goal line and see how they like trying to move across some of the most expensive real estate in the country."
    Ooh. Your sod is expensive so you must be good! Unfortunately for you, we'll be measuring in yards on Monday night, not square feet.
    "New QB Jonathan Crompton is going to have butterflies the size of fruit bats blindly bumping into each other in his stomach. He must be hit and hit hard."
    Jonathan Crompton says "bring it," which, incidentally, is the same thing he told those fruit bats he ate for breakfast.

    Um, also this, posted here:

  • ORLY? Some are saying that UCLA's receivers against Tennessee's defensive backs is "strength versus strength." That could, in fact, be true. After all, strength is a relative term. This, though, from Bruins receiver Marcus Everett, well you decide:
    The Pac-10, we throw the ball [across our very expensive real estate]. The SEC, they’re known for pounding the run. Our advantage will be we’re a little more agile, a little more athletic. Hopefully that outweighs the power and strength the SEC brings.
    Eric Berry will see you your agility and athleticism, Mr. Everett, and raise you some power and strength.
  • More like known versus unknown, in both directions. Both defensive coordinators this week -- DeWayne Walker for UCLA and John Chavis for Tennessee -- will be hoping to make their opponents' respective new offensive coordinators miserable. On the other hand, neither of them really knows what to expect, so the misery could potentially boomerang on either or both of them.
  • A real coach doesn't need QBs. Despite the distinctly bad omen of losing two QBs on two series of plays in the spring, losing one of them again in the fall, and the backup throwing three picks on three consecutive passes this past week, Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel remains "relentlessly optimistic." Or maybe not, as some Neuheisel press conferences are now being termed "ominous," and Neuheisel is beginning to use phrases like "stay in the game," and "growing pains," and "fortunate to win."

    College Football News did peg Neuheisel as its 29th best coach. (Fulmer was 33rd and could best be described as "relentlessly cautious.") The thing about Neuheisel's ranking, though, is CFN's justification. They emphasized, among other things, that "[a]t both Colorado and Washington, he won twice as many games as he lost." Wow, so unless they played 15 games or somehow lost 4.5 games in a season, he means 8-4. The Papa gets beat like a non-first-class mule for a record like that. In any event, Bruins Nation appreciates the fact that CFN "isn't just bowing to the company line" on CRN.

    By the way, on Fulmer, CFN says that "folks in Knoxville point to a 10-year stretch without an SEC title and zero top 10 finishes since 2001." Is it me, or is it mostly folks outside of Knoxville saying that?
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