UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell and his Arizona counterpart, Mike Stoops, are familiar with each other, dating to their days as coordinators in the Big 12 Conference.
From 1995 to 1998, Dorrell was offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Colorado. During that span, Stoops was the defensive coordinator at Kansas State.
On Saturday, they will face each other as head coaches for the first time.
“He’s a very good football coach and good defensive coach,” Dorrell said about Stoops, whose team is 1-3 overall, 0-1 in the Pac-10. “There’s no reason why not to believe that his defense isn’t as good as it is, being fourth in the conference.”
In his first season, Stoops’ Wildcats have lost to two top 20 teams -- Utah and Wisconsin -- and a late fumble cost them in a one-point loss to Washington State. Safety Lamon Means and linebacker Sean Jones lead a defense that is giving up 108.5 yards rushing a game.
Arizona will play a much different defense than the unorthodox blitzing style the Bruins (3-1, 1-0) faced in last Saturday’s 33-10 victory over San Diego State.
Quarterback Drew Olson said he expects the Wildcats to play much as Oklahoma did last season when the Sooners defeated UCLA, 59-24, with Stoops as coordinator.
“I’m sure we will see stuff that we’ve seen all year,” said Olson, who ranks eighth in the conference in passing yards at 196.8 a game. “It shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary.”
Although UCLA will probably be without leading receiver Craig Bragg because of a shoulder injury, the Bruins should have several players back in the lineup Saturday. Dorrell said linebacker Justin London, sidelined most of the season because of an ankle injury, would practice this week and could play.