Check out the first batch of weekly answers…
1) Jon, Thanks for all your work. Can you tell us a little bit about the Offense and defensive formations. Not hearing a lot about how people are lining Up? How are certain players being used on both sides of the ball? What does thus spread/3-4 look like?? Thanks. – lbcbruin
There hasn’t been much written on that for myriad reasons, including the fact that so many projected starters are out. The offense is definitely creating more open space for the ballcarriers/receivers, but a lot on that is going to be dependent on the accuracy of the quarterback, and that is still a work in progress. Most everyone is lined up as to be expected, though Jordon James has been used interestingly as a running back and wide receiver and he has some big potential. Defensively, Damien Holmes is an intriguing prospect in that hybrid role.
2) Based on what you’ve seen of the QB’s does it look more like Hundley or Brehaut as the QB who will receive the most reps (Jerry Neuheisel) ? Do you believe Mora has watched tapes of last year that clearly shows Prince panicking with any type of pressure and will that have any impact on his decision? Prince is great once again when he knows he wont be hit in PRACTICE? (the red jersey MVP)?? – Ley
As of now, I wouldn’t say it’s dead-even, but it’s pretty darn close. Simply put, no one has truly stepped up and eliminated the mistakes. Two steps forward, one step back pretty much across the board. That leads me to believe that everyone is still in it, including Prince, who I don’t think can or should be written off. First off, UCLA’s pass protection the last couple years has been pretty brutal. The run blocking was good, but pass protection was not. Secondly, the Pistol offense did not work. It just didn’t. But Prince’s three-game stretch late in his freshman year, when the offense around him was only moderately better, shows that there is something in there. If it doesn’t pan out for him, so be it, but he’s definitely still in the race.
3) It looks as if a starter at the receiver or back position is not that important as the ball will be spread around with plenty for everyone?? – Ley
I think that’s a pretty fair assessment. Now, a quarterback typically develops a relationship with a particular target, so perhaps a wideout could have a breakout year. And Johnathan Franklin is definitely the No. 1 running back. But for the most part, because the offense should be more prolific, there should be plenty to go around.
4) What “inside” do you have on Big Smith this spring? Nearly 2 months since the season-ending loss to AZ, has he done anything yet physically or is he gonna “weight” until the bitter end for The Charles Barkley Crash Diet? – ucla-of-the-rockies
Early reports have been good, but the key word there is early. Smith has some bad habits to break; it’s not just simply about working out harder or more. This is going to be a constant battle for him, and the motivation out there – $ – should be enough to carry him through the valleys.
5) Damien thigpen – don’t hear much about him. Do u think he will trader? – Anonymous
If by trader you mean transfer, no, I don’t think so. He’s looked good in camp, but needs to show a little more explosiveness with the ball. He’d be a dark-horse return candidate at this point.