The Tennessee Volunteers football team looks to make it two in a row when they host UCLA Bruins in Neyland Stadium.
Its official. The college football season has begun. After an opening victory against Western Kentucky, Lane Kiffin and the Volunteers football squad hope to avenge last year's loss to the Bruins. A victory for the Volunteers will be no easy task. This is a big time matchup for us this week; this is a much improved team from last season. Lane Kiffin The Bruins will march into Knoxville hoping for the second win of their young season.
Being a California kid himself, Lane Kiffin is no stranger to the UCLA Bruins. During his stay at USC, Kiffin played against the Bruins six times, and with tremendous success, going 5-1 against UCLA.
Kiffin said a big story line should be the chess match between his father, Tennessee defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, and UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow.
"It's kind of like a legends matchup, Norm Chow versus Monte Kiffin, the best defensive coordinator in NFL history versus arguably the most successful offensive coordinator in college football."
Chow and head coach Rick Neuheisel come to Knoxville looking to defend the Pac-10 reputation. Pac-10 schools are a mere 3-16 on the road in the SEC. The all time series between the Volunteers and Bruins belongs to the Volunteers. The Vols are 7-5-2 all time in contests against the Bruins, having lost only one game in Knoxville.
After receiving all SEC honors during last week’s performance, Chris Scott and the offensive line will be key for a Volunteer victory. The Bruins will challenge the Tennessee offensive line with defensive end Korey Bosworth and preseason All-American defensive tackle Brian Price. Offensive line success will be vital for repeating the rushing attack that produced 380 yards on the ground in week one.
After Neyland Stadium failed to reach capacity for the season opener, Kiffin has challenged fans to make a difference in week two.
“We need our fans, especially on third down. We need our stadium to be rockin' to help us win this game," Kiffin said Tuesday. With freshman UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince making his first start away from the sunny shores of California, crowd noise could be a major factor.
We need our fans, especially on third down. We need our stadium to be rockin' to help us win this game. Lane Kiffin Prince and the UCLA offense hung 33 points on opponent San Diego State during their season opener. Prince himself went 18 for 29 through the air, with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. But, look for the Bruins to hit a wall in the form of Eric Berry and the Tennessee defense who hope to repeat it's week one performance. The Volunteers only surrendered 83 yards of total offense to the Hilltoppers.
Berry stands only 16 yards short of the all time NCAA interception return yards record.
“It would be nice to go ahead and get it out of the way," Berry said.
After last week's near interception on WKU's opening drive, Berry would no doubt like to make a big play against the Bruins.
After a 3-point overtime loss to the Bruins at the start of 2008 season, special teams are sure to play a big role during week two for the Volunteers. After only having to kick extra points during week one Daniel Lincoln will be crucial for the Vols this Saturday.
"We feel really good about Daniel, we have a lot of confidence in him," Kiffin said of Lincoln.
The Bruins special teams could play a big role in deciding the contest, the Bruins returned a blocked punt for the opening touchdown in 2008 against Tennessee, and just last week blocked and returned a field goal 70 yards for a score.
Injury Report: The Volunteers will almost be full strength at wide receiver by Saturday. Both Denarius Moore as well as senior Gerald Jones should return to the line up. Jones is currently recovering from a high ankle sprain while Moore returned for several plays during the Western Kentucky game after a broken bone in his foot halted his fall practice. Offensive lineman Vladimir Richard missed Tuesday’s workout with an Achilles tendon injury, but is expected to play Saturday.
Kickoff for the Vols-Bruins grudge match is set for 4 p.m. at Neyland Stadium.