Q: How many points will UCLA need to beat Nebraska? After seeing Nebraska surrender 600 yds to Wyoming, should we feel a lot better heading into that game? Brett Hundley and our offense can give us a shot against anybody correct?
A: I’d give Nebraska some benefit of the doubt for early-season rust, but UCLA looks pretty good for that game. You’re right: Brett Hundley and company have the firepower to hang with most teams. Taylor Martinez will give the Bruins trouble with QB runs, though they’ll have a bye week to prep for that. It’ll be more about how much UCLA can limit him rather than how many points the team can put up.
Q: Do you see any possibility in changes to the depth chart for running backs? Steve Manfro has alligator arms. Malcolm Jones is on a mission. I believe he should eventually take the No. 2 back behind Jordon James.
A: The depth chart looks pretty fluid after James, so there’s a chance for anybody to carve out a more significant secondary role. I’m not ready to give Jones the edge there, however; he looked good, but he also came in late against a Nevada defense that looked gassed.
Q: How realistic is the Brett Hundley Heisman talk?
A: Not very. It’s fair to peg UCLA for three losses, and the only Heisman winners to come from three-loss teams in the last 20 years are Rickey Williams (1998), Tim Tebow (2007) and Robert Griffin III (2011). All of them put up huge numbers: Williams rushed for 2,327 yards and 29 touchdowns; Tebow had 4,181 offensive yards, 55 touchdowns and unreal cult status; Griffin had 4,992 offensive yards, 47 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. If UCLA can get through the season with one or two losses, Hundley’s chances improve significantly.
Q: Who is the next “Brett Hundley” when Hundley finally decides to leave or graduate? Is there one on scholarship?
A: Asiantii Woulard looks like he has the potential. Big arm, big frame. No pocket presence right now, but that’s what the (likely) redshirt year is for.
Q: Why can’t the team stop committing penalties? Should Jim Mora do more to reduce penalties or does it really matter to him?
A: He’s trying to emphasize it, and has brought in officials in practices to help so. As to why — probably discipline, and just trouble drawing the line on aggressiveness.
Q: Why didn’t Priest Willis play against Nevada? Please, I’m hoping its not grades or team violations.
A: Some sort of an injury. Jim Mora didn’t comment on it, as is his policy now.
Q: How would you rate the defense? Is Eddie gonna dominate?
A: The ruling’s still out on the secondary, but the front seven looks about as good as advertised. The three freshmen defensive linemen are all very good, and Eddie Vanderdoes is a budding star as long as his back doesn’t flare up.
Q: Anthony Barr had a quieter game than fans may be used to … Is that due to the head injury of a couple weeks ago?
A: Hard to draw a causal relationship with much confidence. He practiced fully leading up to the game, so it seems like the injury was minor. He may have just had an off day.
Q: What was the story with Cassius Marsh Saturday? What exactly did he do? Can we expect this behavior all season? I’m sure everyone is looking forward to his return to Tucson.
A: I don’t remember exactly what the personal foul was, but I don’t think his temper is a huge worry. He’ll always be kind of a hot-head, but he’s more aware of the line now than he was two years ago.
Q: What are the chances UCLA builds a football stadium on campus … or, would it be cheaper to simply build a light rail line from Westwood to Pasadena?
A: Neither option is very feasible. Rick Neuheisel did tell recruits that he was going to get a football stadium built where Drake Stadium is. Talk about empty promises.
Q: Other than the team captains, who do you think are the brightest and most articulate members of the football team?
Off the top of my head, in no particular order: Keenan Graham, Owa Odighizuwa, Melvin Emesibe, Torian White, Jerry Neuheisel.
Q: Does this mean Trevon Bluiett will definitely sign a NLI in November in the early period?
A: Yes, unless he shockingly decides to decommit between now and then. Bluiett said during the summer that he wanted to sign with a school during the early period.
Q: What is UCLA’s contingency plan for baseball, if they lose their lease with the VA, if they have one at all?
A: The baseball team played at Pepperdine when Jackie Robinson Stadium was being built, so working out a deal with a local school seems like the most feasible option. I expect UCLA to at least be able to play at JRS this season; the federal judge gave the VA six months to appeal, at which point even a negative ruling would likely give the tenants time to evacuate.
Q: Why do Trojans hate Scott Wolf so much … and why does Scott Wolf hate the Trojans so much?
A: I’m not sure why they hate him, but I can say that Scott doesn’t hate them.