UCLA notes: Erickson adds excitement to Utah offense
Bruins preparing for Utah co-OC Dennis Erickson, who has upgraded the Utes' offense this season.
By ABBEY MASTRACCO FS West
Co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson came out of retirement this season to help bolster
Utah's offense. The addition of Erickson has worked, as the
Utes' offensive has become much more exciting.
But exciting and dynamic are about the only things the coaches can expect despite a good amount of familiarity with Erickson. Mora worked under Erickson in San Francisco and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone held the same position under Erickson at Arizona State.
"He'll have some things drawn up that we haven't seen and we just have to react to it," Mora said. "Dennis just does an excellent job of taking advantage of opposing defenses and weaknesses that he may perceive in a defense.
"Every defense has a strength and every defense has a weakness and Dennis has always been outstanding at exploiting them."
Mora called Erickson a "great offensive mind" and has been impressed by how Erickson has transformed the Utah offense.
"I think with Dennis Erickson coming in there, his mindset has always been about the big play, creating the big play," Mora said. "I think they're looking for that a little more with Dennis there. I think it's kind of an interesting combination, with Dennis being there, and I think it adds a lot to their offense."
Changing of the (offensive) guards
Switches on the offensive line continue as Torian White and
Simon Goines have swapped places with White moving to left tackle and Goines moving to right. The move to his natural position should help alleviate a nagging knee injury for Goines.
"It's the same thing, I've played both," Goines said. "Your hips feel different because you're opening different ways and the steps are different."
The switch was made during last week's practices. Goines is looking forward to playing his more natural position but is working to retain his spot on a line that continues to get younger and younger. While he says the competition is good, the sophomore is still experiencing some growing pains.
"You can't get down on yourself, you're going to make mistakes," Goines said.
West Coast state of mind
Five Pac-12 teams are currently ranked in the AP Top-25 poll, giving the conference a heightened profile this season.
"I think it speaks to the quality of football in the Pac-12," Mora said. "In my mind, it's always been a powerful conference. I've been involved with this conference since I was a little boy. And I've always had a great deal of respect for the teams in this conference."
That number is second only to the vaunted SEC, who boasts seven teams.
"For this conference to start to be mentioned in the same breath as what everybody thinks is the pinnacle of college football, the SEC, I think it says a lot about what we're doing out here," Mora said.
Lucky (or maybe unlucky) for
Bruins will face the other four ranked teams this season.