Weekly Q&A — 11/26/13 Answers

Q: Where does UCLA go from here? This is year two of a great start and poor finish.

A: The season’s not over yet, so you can’t exactly call it a poor finish off of one game. So far, UCLA is still on an upward trajectory under Jim Mora, making its way through what was a much tougher schedule. The Bruins aren’t in the Pac-12 title game, but the rest of the division has also improved. If the team loses its next two games though — then it gets a bit dicey.

Q: Where does Myles Jack fall on the LB/RB Venn diagram this weekend?

A: In the middle, as long as Jordon James or Damien Thigpen can do some amount of work. I’d consider both game-time decisions at this point. You don’t want to run Jack into the ground going both ways, but you also can’t have Paul Perkins on all but a handful of third-down or short-yardage snaps.

Q: Assuming Fabian Moreau cannot play with the hamstring injury, who will start in his place at CB?

A: I think the staff would move Randall Goforth there and start Tahaan Goodman at safety. Priest Willis and Brandon Sermons are the other options at cornerback, and neither has been very good this season.

Q: How significant were the injuries to the O-line and to Jordon James in the way our season played out? If healthy do you think Brett Hundley looks much better and we are undefeated?

A: It’s hard to quantify because the injuries have been so numerous, but I don’t think they’ve made a dramatic impact if you’re strictly talking win-loss record. The perception of the season, however, would likely be very different. Brett Hundley’s bad games wouldn’t have looked as bad. The run game probably wouldn’t have flatlined as much as it did midseason, but it also wouldn’t have maintained its original pace. Some losses would have been closer, some wins would have looked more convincing. I think UCLA would still have two losses at this point regardless of the injuries, which could at least keep the hope of a Rose Bowl alive.

Q: Why didn’t Malcolm Jones pan out after being the Gatorade Player of the Year. Does SC have more talent than we do?

A: Jones was probably a bit overrated as a prospect. He was successful at Oaks Christian in part he was so much bigger than most of the defenders trying to tackle him. He also wasn’t exactly the hungriest player on the team before this season.

As for USC? It’s probably close to even on sheer talent.

Q: A few weeks ago, it seemed the Bruins were throwing a swing pass every other play as an extension of the running game (Oregon game comes to mind). Now it seems Noel Mazzone has done a 180 and rarely goes to it. Is this simply due to lack of RB depth at this point?

A: That’s a significant part of it, but I think Mazzone has also loosened the reins on the offense. He does love his swing passes though, and would probably use more if he had a full fleet of tailbacks.

Q: What are the chances that UCLA changes offensive coordinator or Noel Mazzone leaves for another job? If Noel is out, does Taylor go too?

A: I don’t think Noel Mazzone will get fired, but I could very much see him jumping elsewhere if that long-awaited head coaching offer comes along. He might also bite if someone offers a significant raise on his $375,000 salary, though his stock doesn’t seem as high as it was last season. It obviously wouldn’t be surprising if Taylor follows him in a hypothetical departure, but I don’t think that’s a lock.

Q: What’s the story with Barry Ware de-committing?

A: Bit of a numbers game at this point, with UCLA targeting some bigger names. Similar deal with Dionte Sykes, who also decommitted.

*There were a couple of questions about game matchups, which I’ll try and answer more thoroughly in game breakdown posts.

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  • Bruin 34

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Jack. And to all my fellow Bruins. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving to you all as well.

  • LTEfan

    How about the cat fight between Andy Enfield and Tim Floyd in the Bahamas?

    • EncinitasBruin

      Not only is SC the worst team I the P12 (again), but their coach doesn’t even know how to wrestle.

      • Joe Blow

        Old timer, we don’t care about BB. Get with it.

  • Sandy Underpants

    How can someone not call this a poor finish to the season, when UCLA was expected to win the division, and had the inferior Sun Devils at home to win the conference and lost, and threw a 5 yard pass on 4th and 35, and got into a 4th and 35 situation on the final possession, and didn’t even beat 1 team of any significance all year long.

    • LTEfan

      Facts might lead to a different perspective. ASU was favored in that game, by 2.5 points, despite being on the road. Apparently, the betting public (and thus the oddsmakers) did not believe ASU was an inferior team. UCLA won at Nebraska, which was ranked higher in the preseason polls and was a 4.5 point favorite at home in that game. In the preseason Pac-12 media poll, UCLA and ASU were virtually tied for 3rd pick in the conference (UCLA had 2 more votes), behind Oregon and Stanford in that order. One might also ask Oregon if winning at Arizona is significant, or Stanford if winning at Utah is significant. Perhaps so. UCLA was ranked 21st in both the USA Today and AP preseason polls. Currently, UCLA ranks 22nd. In those preseason polls, Oregon was 3rd, Stanford was 4th, USC was 24th. So, while UCLA’s performance has not been as good as fans had hoped, it does not appear to be out of line with the expectations of neutral observers.

      • Sandy Underpants

        I don’t think experts correctly predicting a mediocre season for UCLA helps with the disappointment fans have of seeing their best coach and best team UCLA has had in the past 15 years coming up with another meaningless early December bowl. I guess you would say, at least UCLA is playing in a bowl this year, which is fine. A very wise comedy troupe once told me– Always look on the bright side of a life.

        • maze949

          Must be tough, when you’re so dim.

    • Joe Blow

      Easy: you had the Heisman, Butkus, COY and Top 15 program. Now all you can hope for is a win over a so-so SC team.

      • LTEfan

        Nice trick: taking extreme views, making them legitimate, then knocking them down as failed. Circular reasoning, if any, but helpfully transparent.

      • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

        You know the script well because it’s pUSC’s: #1 in the nation becomes the first FBS team in nearly 50 years to finish a season unranked, and the first to lose a bowl game to a sub-.500 team. THE FIRST EVER! Heisman frontrunner crashes and burns on the turf in the Rose Bowl, sent spiraling down the draft rounds… Failures of EPIC proportions there, Blowhard. Must really SUC to be you.

        • Joe Blow

          And ucla is the FIRST team on college football to win 20 IN A ROW and NOT win a national championship. Would really SUC to OWN that record.

          • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

            Wasn’t Clinton in the White House when that happened? You’ve had your share of weak comebacks, but this one is laughable.

          • Joe Blow

            And you are soooooo witty. Bagel On!

          • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

            Thanks! And what does “bagel on” mean?

          • Joe Blow

            ZERO, you f ing racist idiot.

        • Sandy Underpants

          I guess that would suck if USC didn’t have multiple Heisman winners, multiple national championships, multiple conference championships, multiple rose bowl wins, multiple wins over UCLA, all in this millenium. Something you wouldn’t know anything about. You wouldn’t even know about a single one of any of those choices this millenium. Granted it’s just been 13 years. Heck, UCLA hasn’t even won a Rose Bowl since 1986. P-U-Pathetic.

      • gotroy22

        So so? We are the hottest team in college football right now with Ed about to administer a whipping to Baby Bluey.

        • Joe Blow

          We are not that good. It would really be a huge blow to Lessa if his team loses tomorrow.

    • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

      The inferior Sundevils who clown-stomped pUSC 62-41. LOL. Sanction on, Sandy.

      • Sandy Underpants

        Yes, USC is on sanctions, that means it’s the best time for UCLA to rack up as many undeserved division championships and wins against USC as they can. So far they have 1 win out of the 5 year sanction period. Good luck on getting #2 tomorrow.

        • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

          Thanks for the good luck wishes, Sandy. 35-14 – an official blowout by the superior team in L.A. SUC on that for another year as the Bruins own L.A. Hey, but at least your basketball team is undefeated…oh, sorry, that would be our bb team.

  • WhatsBruin

    Jack you didn’t respond to the question about the Woulard/Mora incident. What happened?

    • Lifelong Bruin Fan

      Not sure if this is accurate but I was on the UCLA sideline of that game and I heard that Woulard was sent to the locker room because Mora was upset that he was celebrating in the end zone (with the possibility of incurring a penalty for excessive celebration) after Evans’ TD.