Respect all, concern none.
That’s the mindset UCLA is taking right into a sport through which it’s favored to win by practically 50 factors, as Alabama State – the primary FCS opponent the Bruins will face in program historical past – visits the Rose Bowl on Saturday. It additionally marks the primary time UCLA will play an HBCU.
The mantra, relayed by head coach Chip Kelly, is a mirrored image of the crew’s overarching strategy.
“You get able to play a soccer crew,” Kelly mentioned. “Truthfully, although, we’re taking part in in opposition to ourselves each week. It’s us versus us.”
When UCLA has the ball
The Bruins are coming off a 45-17 season-opening win over Bowling Inexperienced final Saturday, although the ultimate rating belied a mistake-riddled first quarter. UCLA trailed 17-7 earlier than railing off 38 straight factors.
One week in, with movie to observe and tangible objects to work on, Kelly is hoping the adage of the largest enchancment in a crew coming in between Week One and Week Two involves fruition.
“We’ve performed a dwell sport in entrance of officers, with ramifications if we make errors – and we did make some errors,” Kelly mentioned. “So how will we enhance upon that as we transfer ahead?”
UCLA will look to get off to a greater begin Saturday. Final week’s first quarter featured a blocked punt returned for a landing, an interception, a turnover on downs and the beginning of an eight-play, 73-yard Bowling Inexperienced drive that resulted in a landing.
However the Bruins settled down, with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson dicing up the Bowling Inexperienced protection to complete with practically 400 yards of complete offense and the protection holding the Falcons scoreless within the second half.
“I feel we did OK,” UCLA operating again Zach Charbonnet mentioned. “It was clearly the primary sport, so we made numerous errors. However as soon as we clear these up, I feel it’s going to be much more productive.”
Charbonnet, who had 21 carries for 111 yards and a landing, doesn’t suppose respecting the opponent shall be a problem.
“I don’t suppose it’s actually that tough,” Charbonnet mentioned. “We’re all the time going to return with the identical mentality, regardless of who we’re taking part in.”
When Alabama State has the ball
Alabama State is off to its first 2-0 begin since 2010, with a 23-13 win over Howard within the MEAC/SWAC Problem, adopted by a 21-13 victory at residence over Miles Faculty. The Hornets enter the sport within the Prime 10 within the HBCU coaches and media polls.
Dematrius Davis, a second-year switch from Auburn who was third on the Tigers’ depth chart final 12 months, is listed because the beginning quarterback on Alabama State’s depth chart. Davis left final week’s sport within the first quarter with a proper shoulder damage. Myles Crawley entered in reduction and accomplished 9 of 18 passes for 162 yards and a landing.
Alabama State coach Eddie Robinson Jr. mentioned Davis, a four-star recruit out of highschool, shall be a game-time determination.
UCLA linebacker Darius Muasau known as Davis a playmaker.
“We’ll look into containing his playmaking skills, as a result of he’s capable of make performs along with his toes and he has a superb arm additionally,” Muasau mentioned. “We’re simply making an attempt to game-plan and cease him as a lot as we will.”
UCLA will put together for each quarterbacks, although Kelly famous that the Alabama State offense typically runs the identical performs regardless of who’s beneath middle.
“They’re each expert,” Kelly mentioned. “They’re each dual-threat children that may harm you.”
Alabama State runs a 4-2-5 nickel scheme on protection, with Kelly noting their protection coordinates effectively between the linemen and secondary. Defensive finish Brandon Gaddy led the Hornets final week with a career-high 10 tackles, two sacks and a pressured fumble.
UCLA can even be the primary opponent Alabama State performs from the state of California, and Robinson mentioned his crew is happy. Robinson, an Alabama State alum who had an 11-year NFL profession as a linebacker, mentioned he dreamed as a child of taking part in within the Rose Bowl.
“It’s an enormous alternative for us to play effectively (in entrance of) a nationwide viewers,” mentioned Robinson, who just isn’t associated to late Grambling State teaching legend Eddie Robinson. “We simply wish to characterize the convention effectively, and go on the market and be aggressive.”
Robinson mentioned the purpose for Alabama State is to restrict Charbonnet and the run sport, or else “it’s going to be an extended day” given UCLA’s expertise. However he’s not anxious about motivation, which is inherent given the opponent and placement.
“If you’re taking part in a crew like UCLA and also you’re going to the Rose Bowl, that in itself goes to maintain you on that sharp fringe of working exhausting,” Robinson mentioned.
UCLA gamers had been likewise excited to play an HBCU, with Thompson-Robinson completely satisfied “for the tradition.
“To get a college like that out on the West Coast is gonna be an important alternative for each groups,” Thompson-Robinson mentioned. “We’re excited to present them the chance and we’re additionally excited to get the chance to play them.”
From warmth to rain?
UCLA practiced with moist footballs in the course of the week as Saturday’s sport options the potential for rain.
Every week after temperatures reached greater than 100 levels on the Rose Bowl in an opener that noticed record-low attendance, there may be precipitation and attainable thunderstorms within the forecast for Saturday.
No matter circumstances or how a lot of a check Alabama State will really be, Kelly expects his crew to enhance in all aspects of the sport.
“There’s nothing the place you’ll be able to say, ‘We did this within the opener. We’re good,’” Kelly mentioned. “It’s about fixed enchancment.”
UCLA vs. Alabama State
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
The place: Rose Bowl, Pasadena
TV/radio: Pac-12 Networks; 1150 AM
Line: UCLA by 49.5