Weekly Q&A – Utah answers

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As a reminder, my first name is Thuc Nhi. I prefer to go by that instead of Thuc (or whatever other nicknames you have). It’s pronounced Too-k Knee.

Kennedy Polamalu said the Bruins don’t have the personnel for his offense. What area of the offense would you say is the most significant in his comment: the lack of offensive line play, wide receiver play or running back play?

My interpretation of his comment was that he’s looking for better play from the offensive line. That day, he first brought up the linemen in response to a question about the changes in the running game that head coach Jim Mora brought up the previous day. Remember that Mora was vague about the changes the previous day, so the question was relatively open ended (that is to say Polamalu wasn’t asked specifically about the offensive line, but he was still thinking about them).

Polamalu responded by saying a reason for modifying the running game was to “help these young linemen win at the point of attack.” Later, when asked about why the team had been operating out of the shotgun more often in the past two games, Polamalu said it was to give the quarterback breathing space and help the offensive line with protections.

Probably the most telling comment he made was when asked specifically about recruiting for this scheme he said “we’re in that fast tempo body instead of the large mass body.” You’re probably not looking for a receiver who is a “large mass body,” and while large-bodied running backs surely do exist, I doubt Polamalu was referring to finding different running backs with that comment. And let’s be real, if he wanted to do that, he doesn’t have to look far.(cough) Ainuu Taua (cough). Continue reading

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Weekly Q&A – Washington State answers

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Do you think Mike Fafaul’s performance against Arizona State will affect the Bruins’ quarterback depth chart going forward?

I think the Bruins have hitched their wagon to Fafaul as the second-string quarterback. It’s a scary proposition, especially considering how tough his first meaningful minutes were last week, but this is the conundrum that UCLA asked for. The coaching staff didn’t manage its roster properly — it didn’t help them that Jerry Neuheisel left with a year of eligibility remaining — and now they’re stuck with a fifth-year senior former walk-on and a handful of true freshmen who have been on the scout team all year. Both Matt Lynch and Devon Modster are likely more physically talented than Fafaul, but it would be a sticky situation to burn one of their redshirts and throw them into the fire now. It’s a risky move, and while I haven’t been around the coaching staff for very long, they don’t strike me as a risk-it-for-the-biscuit group, especially on offense. They’re stubborn — like most coaches — and can try to force things to work instead of self-scouting and being flexible to finding a different way for things to work. Maybe if the defense plays out-of-this-world and gives the team a good chance to win it, the coaches might bring in one of the freshmen to give a spark, but I don’t know how likely that would be.

As for the pecking order behind Fafaul, I think it’s Modster, then Lynch. Dymond Lee is not in the mix as he was hurt for a fair amount of time earlier this season. Continue reading

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