Dumpdorrell.com is about more than ousting UCLA's head coach. It's written by hardcore Bruin fans who bleed pale blue and gold. So we hit them with some of the big questions Seminole fans are asking about our Emerald Bowl opponent. They didn't shy away from giving frank answers.
Q: We hear the Bruins are practicing hard. Why is Dorrell taking this
game so seriously?
A: Dorrell and the team are practicing hard. The reason is not the game itself, but next year's season. If we win this bowl game we will go into next year with a lot of momentum, a senior heavy team, and a sweet schedule. We are losing only 3 starters next year. 14 of our returning starters are going to be seniors and we will have 20 seniors total on the team with most having had significant playing time. Our schedule next year is also easier, with our toughest opponents in and out of conference at home (Cal, Oregon, Notre Dame). The only game on our schedule that will be a challenge is at USC. If we lose to FSU we have lost all momentum and the talk will be about how bad this team did this year, how poorly coached they are, and how the epic USC win was an exception.
Q: Has the UCLA ground game faced a really stout run defense?
A: Yes, contrary to popular opinion the Pac-10 has some good rush defenses. USC is ranked #17, we are ranked #12, and Oregon State is ranked #19. Arizona St. and Washington St. have very good rush defenses as well but aren't in the top 25. Some may think there may be some fluff in those stats because the Pac-10 is a passing conference, but the top three programs have held their own in non-conference play as well. Southern Cal shut our run game down. The only reason why we reached 120 rushing against them is because they left our QB Pat Cowen unguarded on pass plays. He accounted for half our rushing yards on scrambles. If FSU wants to shut down our running game you have to have a linebacker shadow Cowan and make him a passer only. USC did that after Cowan single-handedly put our only TD on the board against them with 72 yards rushing on a 91-yd. drive. Our only other back that is dangerous is freshman standout Chane Moline. He is a big burly small yardage guy that will break through the line on key downs. RB Chris Markey is on and off and can be caught from behind pretty easily. We will not beat you with our running game.
Q: What kind of speed and size do the WR's have?
A: Our WR corps is disappointing to say the least. They aren't
tall (6 ft to 6'2), especially quick fast or quick, or sure handed. There are a lot of dropped passes still at this point in the year, mistakes on routes (our 2 passing TDs against ND were both mistaken routes), and we just can't seem to get any separation. It's disappointing because head coach Karl Dorrell was a WR at UCLA (a good one), coached WR in college and the pros (for the much celebrated Broncos offense) and was touted as an offensive guru. He hasn't recruited one top receiver in his 4 years.
Q: FSU's main offensive weapon is 6'-6" WR Greg Carr who outjumps smaller DBs. How big are the guys in the Bruins secondary?
A: Our secondary is small and has been burned by tall receivers all year, except by USC. If you have a QB that can place it right and good receivers then you can do what Oregon, Washington State and Notre Dame did to us. Junior CB Rodney Van (5'11'') is our most picked on defender. Our star defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker has been publicly challenging him all year to play better. He even benched himself one game. We have a freshman stud CB in Alterraun Verner, Freshman Player of the Year in the conference, but he is only 5'10 and gets burned as well. Our safeties, Dennis Keyes (6'1") and Chris Horton (6'2") are taller and very good but teams stay away from them by running the corner routes against our cover 2 and cover 1 defenses, keeping them out of plays. If your OC does his homework he will follow the lead of the teams I mentioned. Our weakest link in our defense is the pass, and our weakest link in our pass defense is the corner and over the top plays. If Carr is good, he will be the key to winning the game offensively for you guys.
Q: Will UCLA blitz often to rattle FSU Quarterback(s)?
A: Absolutely. It has been our M.O. If you have a weak and/or young QB we will attack him from the first play. Bank it. One of Pete Carroll's biggest mistakes, and least discussed, was his first play call from scrimmage. He called a short pass play down the middle. Mistake. He played right into our game plan. DC DeWayne Walker had in mind weeks ago to blitz USC QB John Booty the very first chance we got and put him on the ground, even risking a late hit penalty. Well, we got our wish and put him on the ground the very first play, sending weakside LB Reggie Carter on a stealth blitz and put Booty on the ground. Carter stood over him and said, "Get used to it. It's coming all day." Booty was rattled and never got in a rhythm. After the game, USC's tall receivers said they were getting open, but when they looked at the QB he was already on the ground or had already thrown the ball. Expect the same. DC Walker will not allow your QB to get a chance to get the ball to Carr, so he'll shorten the time he has to do that with all kinds of disguised blitzes.
Q: We see a defensive struggle with the D being the strength for both teams. How about you?
A: Absolutely. The key to winning may simply be who turns the ball over less and special teams. Our defenses may score more points than our offenses.
Q: Has UCLA rectified the cause of its four-game mid-season losing streak?
A: No. We did shore up defensive issues. But we still have no offense. We scored against OSU and ASU by fixing our defensive play (key stops and turnovers). What little offense we did muster came as a result of quick strikes after demoralizing turnovers by the opposition, or because our defense put us in good field position where it was difficult not to score. With USC, our only offense as we mentioned was Pat Cowen's one drive where he ran for 72 yards of a 91 yard drive, scrambling. Our offense often has short drives and has to settle for FGs. Our MVP is our kicker SR Justin Medlock. Sure he is All-America, but he is the nation's top kicker because we can't score. Head coach Karl Dorrell is earning a reputation as a "kicker's coach."
Q: Coach Dorrell guided the team to a win over your biggest rival, USC? Do you still think he should be dumped?
A: Yes, we think Dorrell still needs to go. He ended his 4th year 7-5, with no discernible progress from year 1. The defense in his first year was ranked higher than this year's defense, although this year's defense is getting all the press because of the USC win. Dorrell has only 1 big victory in his 4 years here and that was the last game against USC. He is 1-10 on the road against teams with a winning record. I could go on with other similar stats but you get the picture. Had we lost the USC game he would have been fired. A UCLA beat reporter for the LA Daily News reported that Steve Mariucci was contacted prior to the USC game about Dorrell's job. Mooch is not who we want, but it indicated that our AD Dan Guerrero put feelers out there and most certainly he would have contacted others. But the job inquiries were contingent on UCLA losing to USC, reportedly. Because of the win, Dorrell is pretty much secure. A loss to FSU would definitely hurt him but he most likely will keep his job. We at DD predicted on ESPN radio during an interview weeks ago that next season is his last. At first, broadcasters thought we were insane. But since our prediction there have been many news reports to that effect. The reason: Next year we return all those senior starters, losing only 3 starters total, and we have an easier schedule. Any coach can win 9 games with this team next year, and Dorrell will do that. Then he will seek an NFL job - his very public dream. He won't win the conference and that could get him fired. The following season, 2008, we lose nearly every starter ... Dorrell won't risk coming back to another mediocre season to be fired for certain and never get a shot at an NFL job.