Weekly Answers, Pt. 2

Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…

1. When will times be finalized for all of the home FB games…trying to make plans to come down for a few this year. – Mike H Class of 90
Football games that are not scheduled yet are because of UCLA’s TV deal. ABC has the right to claim certain games up to 12 days in advance, so the times aren’t finalized.

2) Has Datone Jones used his redshirt year yet? – Anonymous

3) I read that Morrell Presley has been working hard off season to improve his hands quoted saying, “‘It was a lot of extra work, working hard, catching as many balls as I can. That’s what Chow emphasized to me. Catch as many balls as I can on your break, on the weekend. And then I got the playbook down a little bit more so I don’t have to think about that as much. I’m just focusing on getting my hands big and really watching the ball into my hands.” I’m curious if you know what Jonathan Franklin has been doing during the offseason to improve and kick the fumbling problems he had last season. Also how is he looking so far during practices? – Inawe
He’s talked about carrying the football with him everywhere to just grow more comfortable with it, but really, I think the fumble issue was more mental than anything. Maybe it was focus, maybe it was stress, but I don’t think he’ll have the same issues this year. That being said, he’s looked great, and his first step is pretty impressive. Needs to work on changing direction with speed, but if the fumbling issues are put to bed, he’ll be special this year.

4) Do you think Coach Neu has been too harsh with punishments towards players (ie. Harris suspended for game one and the three kicked off the team) or do you think it is just right? Also, how do you think that compares to Coach Kiffen at USC for suspending Havili just for one practice for sending a fellow player to the hospital? Or do you think that is completely unrelated and the moral of the story is that you should just not talk trash to an angry Polynesian? – Inawe
I think Neuheisel is taking a hard-line stance, and I think that is to be commended. The Mike Harris issue is a one-game thing, and he was probably going to be supplanted by Micah Kia anyway, so I don’t think that’s a big deal. But the dismissal of the Hedrick Three had to be done. If we’re talking about three kids who go into a Best Buy and get caught up in the moment and grab a pair of headphones, that’s one thing. Bad, yeah. But not like knocking off a student’s purse on campus. On campus. Think about that. Do I think Neuheisel should’ve let them immediately transfer to another Pac-10 school? Probably not. But I think he can live with his decision.

5) Mr. Gold, do you see the UCLA defense meeting the same high standards this coming year considering that they have to replace Price and Verner (as a USC fan I must admit both of them were really good and under appreciated players outside of the Pac 10); and the loss of Jones makes matters worse? Thank you in advance. – Gilligan
At times, UCLA had one of the best defenses I’ve ever seen. At times, the defense was pitiful. It’s not like the 2009 Bruins were the 1986 Chicago Bears. So first, let me say that the “high standards” were a bit…misjudged. Obviously, a Brian Price cannot be easily replaced, particularly in the stat column, and no, it won’t happen. Verner’s loss is tempered by the emergence of Aaron Hester and the general year-to-year improvement of Sheldon Price – and having a great set of backups in Courtney Viney and Andrew Abbott. Overall, it’s about improving consistency (and tackling), and that’s more on the 11th guy and not the best.