Weekly Q&A: Stanford answers

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Now to your questions:

Any chance Mique Juarez makes an impact at linebacker this year? 

I don’t think so. He was expected to play a lot as a true freshman coming out of high school, but he’s not the same player after that one year off. He’s trying to recapture that and I think it’s still possible, but it took a lot of years to build him into the five-star prospect he was and it’ll take some time to rebuild that. He likely has a long way to go to get on defense, but he plays every week on special teams.

Even with the injuries to linebacker, Juarez likely won’t be called into action because of the different linebacker positions. He was the No. 2 middle linebacker during training camp and UCLA doesn’t go too deep at that position because Lokeni Toailoa rests naturally during the nickel package. And the Bruins hope to get Kenny Young back soon, who would play that position if Toailoa is hurt. (I wouldn’t count on Young for this week, but eventually he’ll be back.) Even Josh Woods can play mike in a game if necessary. Juarez was playing the mike during training camp because he was still a little bit out of shape, but when he gets to 100 percent, he’ll be more of a weak-side linebacker, where UCLA has Young, Krys Barnes and Woods. So even if Juarez was in shape, the Bruins are OK at that position and wouldn’t need him amid the injury situation. Last weekend, with Woods suspended for the first half and Breland Brandt out due to a concussion, UCLA had a shortage at strong-side linebacker. Juarez doesn’t play there so he wouldn’t have been helpful, and it’s likely too early in his career to have developed the position flexibility that Woods and Young have. Continue reading “Weekly Q&A: Stanford answers” »

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Weekly Q&A: Stanford

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It’s time for Pac-12 play, friends. UCLA starts its conference slate with Stanford on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Stanford Stadium. Both teams are coming off upsets that knocked them out of the AP rankings.

If you have questions about the Bruins, leave them below or send me an email — thnguyen(at)scng(dot)com — and I’ll post answers on THURSDAY.

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UCLA’s game against Stanford scheduled for late kickoff

Stanford’s JJ Arcega-Whiteside makes the touchdown grab against UCLA’s Nate Meadors during the final seconds to take the lead at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena on Saturday, September 24, 2016. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

UCLA’s conference opener at Stanford on Sept. 23 is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, the Pac-12 Conference announced Monday. The game will be televised on ESPN.

The No. 25 Bruins (2-0) are coming off a 56-23 win over Hawaii and play their first road game of the season this Saturday at Memphis (9 a.m. PT, ABC).

Last year, Stanford won on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Burns to JJ Arcega-Whiteside with 24 seconds left that stretched UCLA’s losing streak to the Cardinal to nine games.

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UCLA football 2017 schedule preview: Stanford

Stanford’s JJ Arcega-Whiteside makes the touchdown grab against UCLA’s Nate Meadors during the final seconds to take the lead at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena on Saturday, September 24, 2016. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

UCLA at Stanford
Saturday, Sept. 23 | Stanford Stadium

The faces change, but the results likely won’t with David Shaw in charge: Stanford, even without Christian McCaffrey and Solomon Thomas, is still Stanford. The Cardinal stumbled off their Pac-12 champion perch last year, but don’t expect them to stay down for long.

With a stellar talent on defense, Stanford (10-3, 6-3 Pac-12 last year) is expected to challenge for the Pac-12 North again. On offense, the Cardinal have McCaffrey’s replacement ready, but are unsettled up front. Quarterback Keller Chryst, who won the starting job last October and led the Cardinal to six straight wins to end the year, is recovering from a knee injury suffered in last year’s Sun Bowl. He’s expected to return for fall camp, with Ryan Burns as the backup.

Game storylines Continue reading “UCLA football 2017 schedule preview: Stanford” »

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UCLA links: Bruins put Stanford loss behind them

Stanford Cardinal's Christian McCaffrey rumbles for more yards against UCLA Bruins' defense during the first half at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena on Saturday, September 24, 2016. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Stanford Cardinal’s Christian McCaffrey rumbles for more yards against UCLA Bruins’ defense during the first half at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena on Saturday, September 24, 2016. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Head coach Jim Mora said he had never seen his team more crushed by a loss than when he saw the Bruins in the locker room at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. They stewed about the loss for 24 hours, went through corrections and went to dinner.

Then they moved on.

Mora doesn’t believe the team’s goals are out of reach, despite the 2-2 start. It’s a lot harder now, he admitted, but that’s why moving on and learning from the loss to the Cardinal is important.

More on how UCLA is pushing the loss into the past

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