Weekly Answers, Pt. 2

Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…

1) Why do the receivers keep dropping so many passes? And why is Embree getting so much playing time? – Anonymous

The receivers are dropping passes because the timing is not there and many of the throws have not been accurate, and Embree is getting playing time because he is UCLA’s second-best receiver. It’s pretty simple. He can block, he can catch, and when there’s timing, he’s efficient in the rhythm of the offense. He’s not a burner like Smith or a workhorse like Marvray, but he’s a better all-around option right now, including his blocking in the run game.

2) I noticed that D-Linemen are constantly rested (Brian Price last season for example), while it seems to me that O-Linemen pretty much are the same five guys for the whole game with limited rest…or am I wrong on this point? Don’t the O-Linemen get tried too or what is the logic behind this substitution pattern? Real men are O-Linemen? :-) – San Diego Therapist

Defensive linemen are rotated not just for breathers, but also to maximize their various speed-rush, bull-rush or run-stopping capabilities. I’ve long advocated more of an offensive line rotation, but it’s just not common.

3) Jon: Do you know if the team/coaches watched any of the Nevada-Cal game? Just curious if they got a look see for any pointers. – JJA42

Rick Neuheisel said earlier in the week that he hadn’t really gone over the tape yet, but would shortly.

4) Word on how the recruits at games are reacting to the program this year? I’d have to think last night was an exciting time, but we’re still pretty lowly in the grand scheme. – spedjones

Neuheisel has done an incredible job of hyping the program when it was down, so I don’t think individual games really have too much of an effect.

5) Is there a sense of complacency among the team? What I’m getting at is, no matter how bad people seem to play (specifically Prince, Rosario, Embree), the line ups seem to stay consistent. When he was hired Neuheisal talked up a “competition based” system. – Anonymous

Look, I am going to try to spell this out without getting frustrated, because I feel like I answer this question every week, but it’s going to be hard. You people don’t see what the coaches see. Hell, I don’t see what the coaches see. But I do know this: Quarterbacking is more than just throwing, wide receiving is more than just catching and so on and so on. Yes, Kevin Prince hasn’t thrown well. What about reading a defense? What about managing a clock? What about running a huddle? What about running an effective no-huddle? What about running the ball himself? What about the fact that he missed CRUCIAL time, and is now just getting his timing back? What about, what about, what about?
And the receivers. What about blocking in the run game? What about last year’s success? What about exploiting size advantages? What about, what about, what about. I understand you guys are CRAVING Josh Smith. Well, he admits he’s still trying to get healthy and still doesn’t fully grasp the offense. I understand you guys are CRAVING Ricky Marvray. Well he’s still a redshirt freshman, and still makes redshirt freshman mistakes. His penalties have been extremely costly.
I can completely understand the frustration, and I’ve been championing guys like Marvray for a long, long time. Longer than others. But that doesn’t mean he’s the guy RIGHT NOW. Maybe in two years. Maybe even next year. But you’re going to just throw Rosario and Embree away? I don’t have all the answers, and you know what, neither do the coaches. No one is perfect. Sure, there could be more creative substitution patterns. But I know damn well that I’m not the one to make that call, and I know even more that the fans aren’t the ones to make the call.

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  • Watty

    Stop making sense, Jon. It makes us uncomfortable.

  • JoJoBruin

    Put me in the freakin’ game. I guarantee you it won’t be worse than the BYU or Stanford losses…

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I thought spedjones only spent time on Inside USC.

  • Joe Bruin

    Nice Answer to the final question. Go Jon!!

  • Hot Bruin

    Easy Jon, no need to let naive fans get you so worked up. Yes, there is much, much more to successful coaching than what fair weather fans see on the field on Saturday. Anybody who’s been around a good football program knows this. So don’t waste your time, or patience, answering silly questions. This weekend relax, open a brewsky, and enjoy the GAME. Because that’s all it is.

  • Blue Bruin

    That was a very legitimate question that I asked about complacency. I think Gold maybe came upon it at the wrong time and overreacted for some reason.

    The situation with Prince and the receivers is the touchstone this year. After first two games, it’s totally ludicrous that it was just business as usual. I think a coach with guts would have said, “Competition for the QB and receiver positions are up for grabs the first two days of practice this week.” There’s nothing wrong with putting guys on notice.

    In the Pete Carroll glory days, didn’t they always have “competition day” or something, when people essentially had to prove themselves every week? Hasn’t Kiffin come in and rattled the cage but sitting guys like Galippo?

    I don’t get any sense that Coach Rick has created and atmosphere where positions are on the line every week. Not saying necessarily that this is Oklahoma or Florida where you’ve got deep benches, but still…

  • Semi-Pro

    If you dont think there’s competition for spots at practice….you’re smokin something.

    I just think some of you guys can’t fathom that Prince, Embree and Rosario…while flawed…are simply the best we have this year.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/ucla Jon Gold

    Blue Bruin,

    It says that you didn’t ask that question. Am I mistaken?

  • Blue Bruin

    Maybe I didn’t log in for that one, but I asked it nevertheless…

  • Ben G

    Johnny Gold dropping the hammer, I love it. The man has gotten the hang of this and is ruling the blog with an iron fist.

  • MaltBaa

    first time i have ever seen jon gold comment

  • Martin

    Jon -
    I’m loving your passion for the team. You are become a true bruin.

  • Anonymous

    Re: Question #2

    The O-line needs to act as one cohesive unit, essentially knowing everything about each one of them at all times. D-linemen, while still knowing their responsibilities, don’t absolutely need this cohesiveness in the same sense.

  • Anonymous

    Martin,
    You are confusing having passion for the team with frustration with (some) fans.

  • bbruin

    Blue Bruin

    Galippo was surpassed by Kennard in fall practice before the season started, just like Larrimore surpassed Sloan (almost identical situations). Once the starting rosters are set dont look for changes after a few games unless there are injuries or the positions are extremely close in terms of player abilities. Prince was significantly ahead of Brehaut before his injury and it was not made up in 3 weeks.

  • Johnny Angel

    What about coaches who insist on getting less than mediocre play from the qb while going 1-2 rather than letting talent find its way on the field? What about people who keep repeating the same old lame excuses like he missed crucial time, he was hurt, he was this, he was that?

    The passing O is #118 out of 120 teams and the teams lone victory was against a powerhouse from the C-USA. Something is rotten in the state of Bruins football.