Just as Carlos Sandoval (lead editor of Go Joe Bruin) answered my questions, I answered his. Here is what he askedd and what I had to say:
1. What are the Wildcats’ “keys to victory” over UCLA this weekend?
I think our keys to victory are the same they have been all year and the same they were against USC due to the trouble we have on the defensive end. We need to give ourselves more opportunities on offense by winning the turnover battle, and we need to make UCLA work hard on every drive by eliminating the big play. In part, eliminating the big play requires our defense to apply pressure on Hundley so he doesn’t have all day to throw the ball.
2. What concerns you most about this Saturday?
Playing on the road after a huge win. After going 3-0 to start the season, Arizona went on the road and got destroyed by Oregon. I think part of this was due to the players’ inability to put unexpected success aside and go to work. We need to forget about our victory over the Trojans and remember that there is a lot of football left.
3. How can UCLA have the best chance to beat Arizona
Very simple: limit the turnovers. Arizona’s upsets over both Oklahoma State and USC both came in huge part due to the turnovers the other side handed us. OSU coughed up 4 and USC had 5. Both opponents decided to go for it on 4th down and failed to convert on crucial moments in the game. UCLA does not want to give the ball to Arizona’s offense any more times than what is mandatorily required.
4. What is it about the Arizona’s offense that racks up so many yards?
A lot of people credit our air attack for this and Matt Scott’s ability to see the field, but what people don’t realize is that we have a great ground game too. We are 31st in the nation on the ground and had over 200 yards rushing against USC last week. Defenses have to respect the ground game because it exists, hence opening up the game in the air.
5. What players do the UCLA need to keep their eyes on?
Scott is obvious, but his partner in crime on the ground is equally threatening. Ka’Deem Carey is one of the best backs in the country and for some reason opponents continue to show him less respect than he deserves. UCLA’s rushing defense is good, but Carey has had great games against other good rushing defenses as well (Stanford, Oregon State). I would not overlook him tomorrow.
6. Who from UCLA worries you the most?
Simple. Hundley and Franklin.
7. What is the most intriguing thing about this game?
As you said, the implications for both teams are huge. Nobody anticipated that either team, under the helm of brand new coaches and new systems, would be anywhere near the position over halfway into the season of representing the Pac-12 South in the Championship. If USC loses to Oregon this week, the winner of tomorrow’s game has a real opportunity