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.