Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…
1) Obviously, I’m very happy with last night’s W, but I can’t help but notice the Bruins being plagued by the same dumb mistakes over and over again.
1. Going for the big hit instead of wrapping up, leading to a broken tackle (Stan McKay is most glaring, but there were countless others as well)
2. DBs (specifically Hester and Price)not turning around to look for the ball, almost forcing the refs to call PI, even when they didn’t actually interfere
3. Prince and the entire world knowing that a blitz is coming and settling for a sack rather than a) throwing it out of bounds or b) calling an audible/more screen passes/throwing to a checkdown, etc.
4. Committing dumb penalties that negate huge plays (Harkey’s holding brought back a huge Prince run and a huge Franklin run)
Well, I could go on and on and I’m sure you could think of more than a few as well. I guess my question is which of the above problems is most likely to be fixed and do you believe they will be fixed in time for $C? – Anonymous
I’ll break it down one by one.
1. Won’t be improved. Haven’t seen any reason to think they’ll tackle differently starting in Week 10.
2. Case-by-case basis, and I think they’re fine most of the time.
3. Will improve with playing time and comfort in the pocket, but the UCLA pass protection has also been pretty rough the last two weeks as Wade Yandall grows into the role. As of now, he’s a much better run blocker than pass blocker.
4. Case-by-case basis.
2) Hey Jon, do you think our last two victories were over solid/good teams (i.e., reason to be optimistic), or simply over mediocre teams that our program should be handling with ease? Thanks! – Anonymous
Cal is mediocre, but Arizona State is a very good team, not just OK.
3) Do the benefits of playing in the PAC-12 championship game out way getting blown out on National TV again by Stanford or Oregon? – Matt
Yeah, of course. That would mean UCLA would have likely won five straight to close the season, which would’ve been unthinkable just a couple weeks ago.
4) Jon, is the QB play from the past two weeks close to what you envisioned happening prior to the season starting? I think it’s because Prince is finally healthy. What do you think? I did want to see Prince start at the beginning of the year, but also think that the coaching staff’s stubborness in sticking with him and not developing a healthy Brehaut cost us games the past two years. It wasn’t fair to Prince to keep getting sent back in when he wasn’t quite right, especially when a healthy QB was getting the majority of reps during game week. – MarkLA
I think it’s a combination of Prince being healthier than he’s been in a long, long time, plus he’s felt unshackled without Brehaut as an option. Taking all of the reps, feeling confident, all that stuff plays a role. It’s going to be a very interesting situation once Brehaut returns to full strength, though.
5) Do you see the staff turning the corner in terms of trusting their younger players to take over for under-performing vets, or are they stiil playing scared (to lose their jobs)? – MarkLA
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I think injuries have forced the issue in several cases, and without them, perhaps the coaching staff wouldn’t have made the changes. But now that they’ve seen success with some of the guys, I think they’re confident enough in them to play them.