With three days left until a visit from UCLA, No. 2 Oregon’s defense may already be salivating.
Two weeks ago, the No. 12 Bruins started two true freshmen on the offensive line for the first time in school history. This Wednesday, Bruins offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said true freshman Scott Quessenberry will likely join the mix at left guard.
Primarily a center, Quessenberry played some guard in fall camp, but was redshirting this season until the line’s recent rash of injuries. He has practiced there this week after the loss of left tackle Simon Goines, who injured his MCL in a 24-10 loss at Stanford. Protecting quarterback Brett Hundley’s blind side now falls to All-American Xavier Su’a-Filo, who shifts over from left guard. Continue reading
No. 9 UCLA was one of five top-10 teams to lose on Saturday, its 24-10 loss at Stanford dropping the Bruins for the first time this season. You can see read the game story here, but here are a few thoughts from the game that knocked Jim Mora’s surging squad down a peg.
1. The offensive line is in trouble. Already without left tackle Torian White (broken ankle), UCLA also lost tackle Simon Goines (MCL) and backup Conor McDermott (dislocated shoulder) in the third quarter. The severity of their injuries is not yet certain, but Goines returned for a few snaps and couldn’t get into his stance properly. He had his left knee wrapped after the game and was on crutches. In fall camp, it was his right knee that was hyperextended.
Xavier Su’a-Filo would likely be the team’s best left tackle if he spent all his practice reps there, and will likely start getting more regardless of what happens with Goines and McDermott. If the pair are out for any extended amount of time, then the All-American guard will move out to protect Brett Hundley’s blind side. Continue reading
UCLA’s offense put up 37 points against Cal Saturday night, but could have easily cleared 50 had it not stuttered in the red zone. The Bruins converted all five opportunities for points, but only two turned into touchdowns.
“He missed a couple of throws down there in the goal line that just changed the whole game around,” offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said of quarterback Brett Hundley. “Three of them down there where we had to settle for field goals. I kind of got out of sync a little bit on our third-and-short (play calls).”
A few days after offensive line coach Adrian Klemm referenced Pokemon cards to describe Alex Redmond and Caleb Benenoch’s youth, another UCLA assistant found a useful cultural marker.
“They’re still on the ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ book right now,” Noel Mazzone said Thursday. “Dr. Seuss reading. We haven’t progressed enough.”
The Bruins’ offensive coordinator also talked about the need to eliminate “self-imposed wounds” — i.e. penalties — and to build consistency.
Even without All-American tackle Star Lotulelei, Utah’s defensive front is still physical and disciplined.
“Maybe they don’t have the marquee name guy like they did last year,” Bruins offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said, “but I think the defensive line for them is probably the best front four we’ve gone against.”
Mazzone also pointed out the longevity of the Utes’ schemes. Head coach Kyle Whittingham has kept defensive coordinator Kalani Fifita Sitake on his staff for all nine of his years in Salt Lake City, though the latter spent the first four as linebackers coach.
Despite not looking seamless on offense, UCLA romped for a school-record 692 yards. The star quarterback had an uncharacteristically rough day, missing receivers and throwing two interceptions in the red zone. Tailback Jordon James also had a fumble at the five-yard line on the Bruins’ opening drive.
“Anytime you have three turnovers in the red zone, we had some penalties — holding penalties, some offsides — yeah, I’m not happy about that.” offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said. “But (Hundley) made some good plays for us. To me, it was kind of an inconsistent night for us offensively.”
LINCOLN, Neb. — After an abysmal first quarter, UCLA was lucky to be down just 11 points heading into halftime.
The Bruins had made crucial mistakes and gifted Nebraska short fields, whether by interception or bobbled punt. Memorial Stadium, known for hosting one of the toughest home crowds in college football, looked to be wearing down on the visitors.
But when the clock ran down, UCLA walked out with a 41-21 blowout, its small pockets of fans cheering loudly as players and coaches ran past them into the tunnel.
How did it happen, the shift from sluggish to superlative? The Bruins took a big breath.
“We came in at halftime, just told kids, ‘Hey relax. I’m just going to call base plays. Just do what you guys do,’” offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said. “Our whole motto is play to the next play. We’re going to snap it once, play, forget about it, and just play the next one. Live in the moment of each play.” Continue reading