Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…
1) How does the Pac-12 basketball schedule work? Looks like we play SC, Norcal and Arizona schools twice but everyone else once. Is there a rotation like football? Is there a North and South division or is it all just one division? – Anonymous
The conference switched from a double round-robin – a home-and-home with each conference opponent – to one that incorporates the two new teams, Utah and Colorado. Each conference team will play seven home-and-home matchups, including their geographic rival – in UCLA’s case, USC, Washington, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, Cal – and four one-game matchups, with the Bruins traveling to Oregon/Oregon State and hosting Utah/Colorado. Next year, those will flip, UCLA will host the Oregon schools and travel to the mountain schools, and then another two sets of teams will fill those two slots, on a rotating cycle.
2) What is Brandon Willis’ status? Redshirt? – Anonymous
Redshirting after the transfer.
3) Any updates on Sua’Filo?
4) After the Arizona game what differences have you noticed in practice? Either in terms of what they do or the general attitude of the players. – Tien
They sound more focused, but the practice play hasn’t changed drastically. They’ve been – wisely – toned-down and remain humbled from the Arizona experience.
5) Do you have to build a relationship with coaches to optimize their responsiveness to your questions? (Please don’t limit consideration of your response to just the UCLA coaching staff for football and basketball.) Does a coach’s interaction with you evolve as your familiarity with that coach and their program increase? – Rob
Absolutely, and it’s one of the tricky parts of this job. It was very easy for me to parachute into a high school coach’s world for a day or sometimes a week, and you’re almost always writing about the winning team when covering preps, so it’s all sunshine and roses. I have a pretty loud, jarring personality, and so do most high school football coaches, so when I would drop in to a high school game or do a feature, it was like two fat Italians talking about sports. And I’m not even Italian.
But covering a beat is so different, and quite honestly, I’m still getting used to it. It takes time, but there are some coaches who I can go to now and get the exact quote I’d want for a story. There are some that, well, I can’t. But definitely, the more familiarity a coach has, the better. Unless they hate you.