Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…
1) With Ayers+Moore likely leaving and what’s currently one of the worst passing offenses in D-1 (if not the worst?) what hope would you give to next year’s football team that it won’t be a repeat of this year’s team? – TienBecause I see a lot of talent in guys who will be either ascending to key positions or will be maturing at their current positions. Aside from Ayers and Moore, UCLA upgrades at every single position next season, and with Dietrich Riley likely moving into the starting lineup next year if Moore goes, the Bruins will still be pretty good at safety.
2) Hey Jon, love the blog. Keep up the good work. After watching DC Chuck these past two years, I am convinced that he is not cut out right now to be a DC. I just do not see the adjustments and schemes helping the D. There is a lack of creativity and execution. I know one can say our players are young, but there are plenty of other schools that play young players. We’ve been in the same D system for years now with no progress, even though we’ve gained more talented players. What do you think? I’m really missing DeWayne Walker as our DC. – poorunfortunatesoulI think it’s too soon to write off Bullough. I think the UCLA defense lacks of-age talent – there’s that old excuse again, sorry – and will improve next year immensely, particularly as Cassius Marsh and Brandon Willis take more pivotal roles. The one issue I have with the Bruin defense is the substitution patterns at linebacker and defensive back. The coaches always hype up the competition angle, and we’ve seen so many different guys start, that I don’t get why the backups don’t spell the starters more, particularly when the offense is just so bad. Sean Westgate “narrowly” beat out Glenn Love during the offseason at OLB. Why does Love get barely any reps? Isn’t a 100-percent Love better than a 65-percent Westgate, if they were so close in the first place? Same for the DBs as well. I just don’t get it.
3) Do you think UCLA BBall can beat both Nova and Kansas? If not which game do they have the best chance of winning? – SALBoth will be very difficult games, in very tough places to play, but if Malcolm Lee is healthy, I give the Bruins a puncher’s chance in both. I would probably say Villanova would be the tougher team to beat, surprisingly, because they always have such good guard play, and because they’ll be the more natural fit in MSG.
4) Jon, your reports from last year really led me to believe that Josh Smith and Joseph Fauria would be true impact players and difference makers. In reality, their contributions have be negligible. Why doesn’t your hype match their output? – Hype MachineSmith was hampered by injuries early on, kinda got buried in the depth chart, and had the one-game suspension. Plus, the UCLA passing offense has been atrocious. Fauria was hampered by injuries early on and I don’t think has healed, despite what they say. He still runs a little funky. He’s also not the blocker that Cory Harkey is, and because the Bruins have been so one-dimensional, he hasn’t had the playing time. Both are talented receivers, and because UCLA focuses so much on the passing game against the scout team or even just air, they’re deficiencies are masked in practice. That being said, yeah, the hype was a bit much and I was wrong.
5) I’m getting tired of the injury excuses. To me, that’s just another reflection of coaching. The HC is supposed to be in charge of everything, right? He’s responsible for ensuring good technique and that the players on the field are in shape, well conditioned, and strong enough to hold up. What do you think? – AnonymousI could not disagree more. You’re gonna blame Neuheisel for Richard Brehaut’s concussion? Or Datone Jones’ broken foot? Or Kai Maiava? Or Nik Abele? Or. Or. Or. Or. Or….