Weekly Q&A: Arizona answers

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With the way the Bruins secondary has performed (Denzel Fisher and Nate Meadors, in particular), why hasn’t Brandon Burton seen the field more?

If Brandon Burton didn’t get moved to linebacker, he still wouldn’t be in line to replace Denzel Fisher or Nate Meadors because Burton was a safety and Fisher and Meadors are both playing corner. UCLA is deep at safety with Jaleel Wadood, Adarius Pickett, Will Lockett, Octavius Spencer and Mossi Johnson. Johnson especially has emerged in recent weeks and coaches are starting to give him more defensive reps based on the toughness and tackling ability he showed on special teams.

UCLA is a lot thinner at linebacker than at defensive back, so that’s why Burton wouldn’t move back at this time. It’s possible that Burton may still need time to adjust to the position change he made during the spring or he may be dealing with a minor injury that’s keeping him from the field.

Fisher was the target of three defensive holding penalties against Colorado when he came in to replace Darnay Holmes, who was ejected for targeting. That’s a problem. But he was replaced by Colin Samuel, who immediately got a pass breakup on his first drive. Depending on how he followed up that game in practice the past two weeks, Samuel could be in line for a few more snaps on game day, I think.

Meadors has been the recipient of several pass interference flags, but he seems to be a sure tackler and Pro Football Focus had him ranked among the best Pac-12 cornerbacks after the Colorado game. So while he hasn’t been perfect, he’s probably not as bad as you’re thinking.


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UCLA links: Theo Howard seeks consistency, confidence

UCLA wide receiver Theo Howard (14) runs for a touchdown against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the first half of a NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

UCLA bounced back from a crushing loss to Stanford. Now the Bruins are waiting for Theo Howard to do the same.

After committing two fatal errors against Stanford, Howard’s playing time was slashed the following week against Colorado. He had only one catch for 5 yards against the Buffaloes. Since setting career-highs in catches and receiving yards against Hawaii, Howard has only nine catches for 64 yards in three games. The sophomore is optimistic he can recover soon.

“The main thing for me is just not losing confidence in myself because I know that I have the ability to go out there and play,” Howard said. “(I) just need to focus and keep working on it.”

More notes on Howard, Mique Juarez and Jordan Lasley

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UCLA football to be featured on Pac-12 Networks’ “The Drive” on Thursday

UCLA gets its turn to be featured on the Pac-12 Conference’s All-Access show “The Drive” on Thursday. The show will premiere Thursday at 10 p.m. on Pac-12 Network. Here are some preview clips of the episode:

On Josh Rosen:

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