UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone knows what his opposite number, Utah coordinator Dennis Erickson, will throw at the Bruins on Thursday. He has a copy of those schemes.
"I learned my football from Dennis Erickson," Mazzone said. "Most of the concepts I really believe in, I learned from him. He was the father of these one-back offenses. He loves the vertical passing game."
Mazzone was Erickson's offensive coordinator at Oregon State in 2002 and Arizona State in 2010 and 2011. What he sees in Salt Lake City is a perfect partnership between Erickson and Utah quarterback Travis Wilson.
Wilson has passed for 1,118 yards in four games. He has burned teams with deep throws, particularly to receiver Des Anderson, who is averaging 22.4 yards per catch.
"I think that was a great fit," Mazzone said. "He is Dennis' type of quarterback. He can sit back there in the pocket and get the ball out quickly."
At 6 feet 6, Wilson presents a different look to the Bruins.
"He throws the ball at a higher level," UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt said. "He can throw top shelf to a receiver. We have a tall pass rush, but he can throw it right over that easy."
Wilson's legs are just as dangerous. His lanky size gives him a deceptive look as a runner. He has 251 yards rushing. He had 142 yards in 13 carries, scoring three touchdowns, against Oregon State
"He's a scrambler, a different kind of runner," Zumwalt said. "He'll probably read this and be all hurt, but he's not the most athletic guy. He can still run. He can make guys miss."
Wilson, who played at San Clemente High, has accounted for 14 of Utah's 21 touchdowns — nine passing, five running.
"Efficient is what they are," UCLA Coach Jim Mora said. "They may not score 60, 70 points, some of these crazy numbers. But they take care of the football. They run well. They don't put themselves in bad positions."
Xavier Su'a-Filo saw one of UCLA's greatest debacles and still signed up to come to Westwood. The Bruins guard was a senior at Timpview High in Provo, Utah, when the Bruins came to town in 2008.
What he witnessed was a Brigham Young football highlight show. The Cougars rolled to a 59-0 victory, the Bruins' worst defeat since losing to USC, 76-0, in 1929.
"All I remember was UCLA losing," Su'a-Filo said. "It didn't affect my decision. I loved UCLA."
Su'a-Filo goes back to Utah as a player for the first time Thursday. He was on a Mormon mission and missed the Bruins' 31-6 loss at Utah in 2011.
Time set for Cal game
UCLA and California will play at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 12. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Twitter: @cfosterlatimesCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times