Weekly Q&A – Stanford answers

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ON THE OFFENSE:

Does Josh Rosen need a Heisman type year for UCLA to make the College Football Playoff (2016 or 2017)? How do you think Rosen would answer the first question?

I think the College Football Playoff is for UCLA this year, no matter what types of numbers Josh Rosen puts up. With the parity in the Pac-12 and some bad nonconference losses (looking at you, Washington State), it’s going to be hard for any Pac-12 team to get into the Playoff, especially UCLA with its loss to Texas A&M. For next year, that’s a tough one to answer. I can barely think past this week, let alone to next year. Rosen will definitely be expected to put up big numbers next year as it will be his second year in his tailor-made offense that will have a few more returners. The defense takes a big hit next year because they’ll lose several seniors including Takkarist McKinley, Eli Ankou, Jayon Brown and Fabian Moreau. If he has a good year this year, Eddie Vanderdoes could be gone too. So maybe next year, the roles will be reversed and it’ll be up to an experienced offense to carry the defense. But really, that’s a tough question to answer right now for next year.

As for how Rosen would answer that question, that’s another interesting question. He might say something like he expects the best from himself every game and if he executes the way he can, then the team can accomplish whatever it wants (but he won’t specifically say it wants). He could also say that it’s a quarterback-driven sport, point out that rarely does a team make it to the Playoff without a star on offense, and he’s expecting himself to be that star for the Bruins, but won’t answer directly yes or no. He obviously has extremely high expectations for himself and if you asked him, he would want to be putting up Heisman-type numbers just because he believes he personally can, not because he believes he needs to for his team to succeed. But he’ll keep the team’s interests first, always.  Continue reading

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Five questions: Bay Area News Group’s Jon Wilner on Stanford

Stanford already has a conference win in the bag after a victory over USC last week while UCLA is just starting its Pac-12 slate. The Bruins are trying to snap an eight-game losing streak to the Cardinal and earn head coach Jim Mora‘s first win over Stanford in five tries. The Bay Area News Group’s Jon Wilner answered some questions about Stanford’s star running back, its quarterback and its defense.

1. Christian McCaffrey’s versatility makes him such a nightmare for opposing defenses. He has accounted for nearly 60 percent of Stanford’s yards from scrimmage, but how long can the Stanford offense survive on the solo McCaffrey show?

One more week, at most. Can’t image Stanford winning at Washington without McCaffrey getting help on the playmaking front. Can he beat UCLA largely by himself? That depends on the Bruins. Their front seven will challenge Stanford, but it doesn’t take much for him to find the end zone. I expect that Stanford will try to use Bryce Love’s speed in the misdirection game, attempt to stretch the field with receiver Michael Rector and look to tight end Dalton Schultz on third down. But if UCLA cannot contain – not stop, but contain – Stanford’s running game, then nothing else matters. Continue reading

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UCLA practice links: Leaving the past behind

UCLA running back Nate Starks played for the first time in three games last week against BYU. (Rachel Luna/Staff Photographer)

UCLA running back Nate Starks played for the first time in three games last week against BYU. (Rachel Luna/Staff Photographer)

UCLA hasn’t beaten Stanford in eight tries. UCLA head coach Jim Mora hasn’t beaten the Cardinal during his tenure.

The past against Stanford has not been friendly to the Bruins in recent years, but they’re trying not to let it affect their future on Saturday.

Other links:

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Video: Josh Rosen, Nate Starks, Rick Wade, Darren Andrews

Quarterback Josh Rosen talks about facing Stanford, why he struggled against BYU and finding rhythm with Darren Andrews.

Running back Nate Starks talks about coming back after missing two games, the potential of the entire running backs group and handling Stanford’s defense.

Defensive lineman Rick Wade talks about his first career sack, going against Stanford’s jumbo package and the progression of the defensive line.

Wide receiver Darren Andrews talks about who gets to be McCaffrey in practice and turning into a go-to guy.

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