Links for the day:
- For the defense, it’s about effort against Stanford
- An interesting Q&A from ESPN with athletic director Dan Guerrero
- Manu Tuiasosopo is a finalist for the Polynesian Hall of Fame
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” »