Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
DE Cassius Marsh
Rice is an opponent that the Bruins should beat. There's a good disparity in talent between the two teams, and UCLA is far deeper. However, it being the first game of the season—and on the road—complicates matters a bit.
Weather might play an issue in this game. The projected temperatures at kickoff are slated to be in the 90s with scattered showers and heavy humidity. Those aren't exactly conditions that the Bruins play in often.
The obvious point to mention is that the team can't beat themselves with self-inflicted wounds.
That more specifically means not committing foolish personal fouls and penalties, actually getting the play in from the sideline with ample time to execute (which was a problem in the Rick Neuheisel era), not committing excessive false starts and playing with a sense of urgency from the start.
It's the first game of the season, so naturally a level of rust will have to be knocked off. You can expect to see some penalties and flubs, but it's key to keep those at a minimum—especially when you open the season on the road in a hot and humid climate.
Essentially, mental toughness will be key. That's been a point of contention for the fanbase, who've often ciritized the team for having a lack of mental fortitude. Head coach Jim Mora has been stressing the importance of discipline and having a mentally tough football team.
Tune in Thursday to see if that mentality is there or not.