Leave your UCLA football-related questions below — or shoot me an email at thnguyen(at)scng(dot)com — as the Bruins face Oregon State on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins need three wins in their last three games to earn a shot at a bowl game. I’ll post answers to your questions on THURSDAY.
With Josh Rosen done for the year, wouldn’t it make sense to get Devon Modster some experience for next year? We are losing these games anyway with Mike Fafaul. I’m sure he is a good kid but 4-8 is 4-8.
The other reporters and I were discussing this as well, and yes, it does seem to make sense to give one of the freshmen experience, but there are also other things to consider. You don’t want to make it just any experience for him; you want to make sure it’s a good experience and he can have success and build confidence. It’s hard to come by that kind of success when you’ve been servicing the scout team the entire year and running around trying to be a different person every week at practice.
Also, if one of the freshmen gets experience, how important is that really going to be next year when you assume/hope that Rosen will be back and healthy anyway? It would be different if Rosen was leaving and UCLA was looking for someone for next year, but experience or not, Modster (or Lynch) would still be the backup next year. Do you want an “experienced” backup? Sure, that’s always the dream, but then it brings us back to the first concern of whether that experience was good and built confidence. For Fafaul’s sake, I don’t think he’s the reason why they’re losing these games. He’s prone to turnovers, which is a huge problem, but if he had even a middling running game to help him out, then I honestly think the results would have been different. He’s cut his teeth for four years now, understanding 100 percent that he’s probably not going to play and now he’s got this chance and he’s trying to make the most of it. Let the dude live a little.
For those wondering, I think it is indeed Modster in line after Fafaul and before Matt Lynch. The two true freshmen are still essentially QB3 and QB3a, but this week, when Rosen was not on the practice field, Modster was not dressed as a scout-team quarterback, suggesting that he was taking the No. 2 reps to Fafaul. This is the first time I recall in the past few weeks that Modster wasn’t dressed as a scout-team quarterback.
With one of the Pac-12’s stingiest defenses and a balanced offense, Colorado is the surprise leader of the Pac-12 South. The Buffaloes (6-2, 4-1) are in the midst of their best season since 2005. We caught up with Brain Howell of The Daily Camera and BuffZone.com to figure out what’s behind Colorado’s big season.
1. From the outside, it seems like this Colorado team came out of nowhere. Not many people expected the Buffs to be anywhere than last in the Pac-12 South and now they have a very real chance of winning the division. From someone who has followed regularly, what indications (if any) were there that this year would unfold this way?
The Buffs have been better than I expected, but I did predict they’d win seven games and get to a bowl game because I did see them as a team ready to win. First and foremost was the experience factor. They are loaded with seniors and juniors this year, many of them playing significant roles, and many of those guys have seen the field throughout their careers. With that, the leadership on this team is phenomenal, and since the end of last season, there’s just been a different vibe around this team because of that leadership. They’ve managed to put that all together and now they’ve confidence to go with it. Going up tempo on offense has helped, too. That’s brought a new attitude to the offense. Continue reading
Happy Halloween, friends. (Or, depending on when you’re reading this, happy discount candy day.) With the short week, I’ve moved up the weekly Q&A session, so if you have any UCLA football questions, then leave them below — or send me an email at thnguyen(at)scng(dot)com. I’ll post answers WEDNESDAY before UCLA’s Thursday game in Boulder against Colorado.
Is UCLA’s running game so far beyond repair that their best option is to completely abandon it? How did the coaches not see such a glaring deficiency in spring/fall camp? Do you think it’s likely that Polamalu and Klemm are gone next season?
I don’t think they’ll completely abandon the run game for the rest of the season. They might still be terrible at running the ball, but that won’t stop them from trying. I think they went away from it against Utah because 1) they found some success passing and 2) Utah’s front is difficult to run on anyway. The timing was such that it wasn’t going to be easy for the Bruins to run last week even if they were good at it because the Utes have a good run defense.
During training camp, the run game actually did have success against the defense, so at that time, there wasn’t too much to be concerned about. Now the roles have switched a little bit. It’s definitely odd that it worked out like that. I don’t think anyone saw it coming because you honestly can’t expect a team from any Power 5 conference to be THIS bad at running the ball, especially when they want to run the ball. UCLA is literally the worst team in the country at running the ball (85.5 yards per game). A slight consolation is possibly that Texas State is still the most inefficient team, averaging 2.52 yards per carry, while UCLA is second-to-last with 2.81. You can’t predict that kind of ineptitude, especially during the offseason when hope springs eternal and people are seeing Pac-12 championship trophies in their sleep. As illogical as it sounds, I don’t think the mindset of training camp is to think of and plan for possible problems. It’s to (cliché alert) get better, and that mindset of constantly striving for better requires rose-colored glasses at times. And when you need to take those glasses off, it can be startling. Continue reading