Weekly Q&A – Arizona answers

via GIPHY

OFFENSE

In announcing he would tighten up the running back rotation, does that imply Jim Mora and the coaches are happy with the offensive line’s performance? Given your perspective from watching practices and games, what do you think is the primary reason for the running game struggling as much as it has?

Mora and the coaches didn’t just imply that they’re happy with the offensive line’s performance, but Kennedy Polamalu said specifically that he was happy with it. He was asked specifically if the offensive line had to shoulder any of the blame after Stanford and Polamalu said no. Mora said Monday that everything was blocked the way they wanted it to be blocked. Polamalu said it’s up to him to teach the running backs better to see the holes and break through arm tackles. Mora said when he watched the film, he thought the team left 100 yards out on the field. When watching the game again Sunday night, I thought the offensive line actually did pretty well and I did notice a lot of the holes Mora would reference the next day. Solomon Thomas was a beast for Stanford and definitely got the better of Kolton Miller and Najee Toran, but I thought the offensive line had an overall decent day against a very good defensive line. I haven’t watched practice in more than a month since they closed everything after the first 20 minutes to the media, so I can’t speak to what’s going on at practice, but I think it falls on the running backs. Like the coaches said, there were holes to run through and tackles to be broken against Stanford. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Weekly Q&A – Arizona

via GIPHY

It’s that time of the week. Ask your UCLA football-related questions below in the comments — or shoot me an email at thnguyen(at)scng(dot)com — as the Bruins try to bounce back from a difficult Stanford loss.

UCLA is at the Rose Bowl against Arizona on Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. PT kickoff on ESPN. Answers to your questions will be posted THURSDAY.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Weekly Q&A – Stanford answers

via GIPHY

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

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Weekly Q&A – BYU

via GIPHY

A lot of questions about play-calling/coaching decisions, so here’s a notebook that kind of falls in line with that: Jim Mora gives Kennedy Polamalu an A+ for his play-calling through two games. 

Why don’t we see more blitzes, particularly since the front four isn’t getting consistent pressure on the quarterback? Against UNLV, they were effective: resulted in a sack and an interception.

Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley believes in balance. He’s not going to sell out every play and blitz. Most coaches believe in some type of balance because they’re generally “stay the course” type of people.

Bradley and defensive tackle Eli Ankou did mention that against the mobile quarterbacks they’ve faced, the Bruins can’t overcommit to the pass rush because they’ll get burned by the draw, which is what happened a few times with Johnny Stanton. That’s something else they have to balance as well.

Perhaps those times they did blitz, it became effective because it was a new look that threw the offense off. I do think some more blitzing would be effective, but don’t expect to see it all the time. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page