Honeycutt on the Pac-10

UCLA freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt on the Pac-10′s down turn:

“I really expected Cal and Washington to dominate off the bat. It’s kind of reverse. Some of the teams who were expected to do well aren’t and some of the teams who weren’t are doing well. It’s probably a lot better for us – we’re not going into a game really underestimating anybody.”

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Weekly Answers, Pt. 4

1) Hoops: During a typical week of Pac-10 games, how many days and hours does the team practice? – Anonymous
About four days of practice, and around 8-10 hours.

2) What contribution should be expected from Stover throughout his career? BTW, is he red-shirting this year? – Blue Bruin
Yes, he’s redshirting, and we haven’t seen enough of him to know his expectations.

3) Am I the only one that thinks Anthony Barr will be a much better running back than Malcolm Jones. I know the coaches are going to give them both there shot at RB, and will likely move one to the defensive side of the ball. So I’m just wondering what your guess is as to how it all turns out. – Bruin44
I like Barr a lot, but at 6-foot-4, he’s a big, big target. Unless he has the strength of a Brandon Jacobs, which is extremely rare in running backs, I don’t see him beating Jones out. I do however, think Barr would make for a fantastic safety or linebacker – or go the TCU route and convert him to defensive end and watch him go to the NFL.

4) Is Wade Yandall enrolled? If not, when? – UCLA3
Yandall will enroll in March in time for Spring ball.

5) I’m sure many of the followers of this blog will say one of the key days of the year is football’s national signing day. Any plans for how you will be covering the signings? (Hint: I believe Dohn had postings throughout the day last year) – tim warren
I plan to be at UCLA all day, with a chat starting in the morning and open throughout the day, a brief respite to record a special signing day podcast, and live updates all day on twitter (@TheCoolSub) and the Inside UCLA Facebook page.

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Updated: Inside UCLA Podcast 7 – Jon Gold and Vinnie Bonsignore talk football and basketball

New, corrected link: Go to the Inside UCLA Podcast blog to hear the latest episode, or to subscribe via iTunes or RSS.

In this episode, Jon talks with Daily News columnist Vinnie Bonsignore about Bruin recruiting, the state of the UCLA football program, how the UCLA basketball program can deal with player defections, and which Bruin basketball players have the potential to do well in the NBA.

Note to Inside UCLA Podcast feed subscribers: The iTunes and RSS feeds have been fixed and updated.

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FIRE and ICE coming soon

Spent a while putting this together today, and I think it’s worth it. We’re doing a major UCLA/USC recruiting chart tomorrow for the Daily News, essentially a hot/cold list of how the rest of the recruiting class will likely fall.

I spoke with my boy Brandon Huffman, Scout.com’s West Region Recruiting Manager, and he gave me his take, as well.

The chart to follow shortly, so stick around the computer for another 15 minutes before you leave the office, folks.

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Weekly Answers, Pt. 3

1) How great would it be if UCLA’s arena were as nice as SDSU’s? – Blue Bruin
Yes, but SDSU’s was built in ’96 and has absolutely zero history. Cool, they rushed the floor after an NIT win in 2003. I’d say 11 national championships means a bit more.

2) Does UCLA have a shot at Markeith Ambles? What about the wide receivers who have already committed to USC? – Anonymous
No.

3) I know this is a bigger question than a sports blog needs/should deal with because there are so many other issues that go with it (and I do not know if you have been asked before) – but here goes anyway: Do you think the UCLA administration should “open things up” (to whatever degree) to make it “easier” for admissions of student athletes? – JJA42
Absolutely not. UCLA is an institution of higher learning, and it is a public institution. To ease up on the admission standards would be an insult to the 35,000-plus students. There are plenty of smart football players to go around. Neuheisel seems to be a pretty good so far, no?

4) Will abdul-hamid return to the hoops team next year? – Anonymous
Howland would be insane not to force MAH to return. Talk about a guy with guts and character. Easily one of the most likeable athletes I’ve ever met, and with such little experience returning, he needs to be back.

5) Will Thigpen get buried deep in the depth chart next season behind Jones, James, and Franklin? Will Thigpen move to cornerback? – anonymous
Thigpen won’t get moved to CB, but I don’t see how he can start over those three. I like Thigpen a lot – a quick burst, solid moves. But he just isn’t big enough to be an every-down back. Now, if NC uses him creatively – which they tried to do at times this season – he could be a major offensive factor. Big if, though.

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Howland on the zone defense

Ben Howland, on what he wants out of a zone defense:
“Zone can be very effective. Jim Boeheim for example, recruits to the zone. They want long, athletic guys. His field goal percentage defense over 30 years is probably 40 or under. They scheme to shooters. I love that zone defense. That’s pressure, creating havoc with length and athletic guys. If I had my druthers, that’s what I’d want to play. We want to keep it compact and bottom line, make you beat us at the perimeter.”

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Weekly Answers, Pt. 2

I really enjoyed reading your observation on the Barr commitment. However, I believe that getting Malcolm Jones was just as big in terms of “selling the program.” Considering he is a great student, that RB is not a position of need and his accomplishments in high school (Gatorade National Player of the Year), I believe that Neuheisel did a great job of showing what UCLA has to offer Jones (in football and beyond). And while he may not have the versatility of Barr, Jones did play LB as well as RB. Do you agree with this, or still think that the Barr commitment was bigger? Thanks for your time. – Bruwin5931
Both are definitely huge. Jones might have the more immediate impact – and establishing an Oaks Christian pipeline is major – but the Barr commitment just strikes me as a major long-term get, particularly against Notre Dame.

Does it appear CRN may be focusing on offensive skill players, of which he was criticized for at Wash and Colorado? – Joe B. Ruin

Look at who might close out this class. No.

With talk of the pre-NFL draft running backs you don’t hear anything about Stafon Johnson. Do you think he’ll be drafted? If not, would a strong senior bowl help? – Anonymous
Obviously, as it stands, Johnson is more of a story than a prospect. No one knows how he’ll respond to the injury. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to resume his career in any way. If it works out, good for him.

Do you think that, as a coach, Ben Howland will gain more from this season then the seasons he took UCLA to the finals? – cfcfan

Absolutely.

Is Mike Moser redshirting? – Anonymous

No, but he’s out of the rotation for now. Has to work on his jumper and his patience.

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Weekly Answers, Pt. 1

1) Will Josh Smith start immediately at the 5 next year? That would make a decent lineup: Anderson – Lee – Honeycutt – Smith. Do you agree? Will this team play in March? – Anonymous
Smith is an intriguing prospect, and the more I watch his video, the more impressed I am. Here’s the latest video I watched – Smith Video. For a big man – and he is a BIG man – he has a deft touch, and pairing bulky Smith with renegade Nelson is a dangerous post. With Honeycutt and Lee on the wings, and just ONE more guy stepping up, that’s a potentially lethal squad. Until I see him adjust to the college game though, I remain cautious. Regarding this team and March – barring a miracle run or a P10 Tourney title, no.

2) Do you see J’Mison Morgan getting any major minutes in the next two years? – Anonymous
Until he gets better defensively, no, which is unfortunate, because I like his offensive game.

3) Will Howland land the PG from Detroit?? – H8T SuC
Last I talked to him, he was completely up in the air and planning to wait out the process. Too early to tell.

4) Ben has resisted using a zone defense from day one. Even when we were so outclassed in final four games when offenses were killing the man on man he refused to make coaching changes. WHY!! – BC
That same stubbornness is what makes him a great coach. Coaches have systems, and they recruit players into those systems, and when those players leave early, everything is thrown off. When you’re as good as UCLA was in the mid-2000s, why install a scheme that you don’t want to use and haven’t practiced?

5) UCLA’s football recruiting class finish nationally? – Frozen Puck On A Stick
And the award for longest username goes to…oh, sorry – eighth.

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