Weekly Q&A: Hawai’i answers

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There were a lot of questions about the defensive performance against Texas A&M, so here is a relevant link: Tom Bradley doesn’t plan to play that much man-to-man again if he can help it.

Other links:

Now to your questions:

OFFENSE

Based on Sunday’s results, do you see Jedd Fisch staying with an up-tempo offense?

If only things were that easy. Jedd Fisch addressed this question Wednesday. He said that, yes, the offense obviously excelled in the two-minute situation, but part of that was the defense that Texas A&M was playing. The Aggies were defending a 34-point lead at that time. The defensive fronts are different in that situation than they would be at the beginning of the game when it’s tied, so you can’t expect the same kind of success. Living in a constant state of hurry-up offense, while it seems like a fun theoretical idea, probably isn’t practical in the long run. Continue reading “Weekly Q&A: Hawai’i answers” »

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Weekly Q&A: Texas A&M answers

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Before we get to answers, here are some links:

Now to your questions:

How do you think the offensive line will hold up with the (relatively) last minute change?

If this was a perfect world for the Bruins, they wouldn’t miss Kenny Lacy on the field at all because he had been pushed out of the starting lineup. However, this is not a perfect world and there will be injuries on the offensive line throughout the season. That is why Lacy’s injury is such a big loss. It’s not that he changed Plan A for the Bruins, but that he changed Plan B, C and probably D. If someone (not Scott Quessenberry) got hurt, Lacy almost definitely would have been the first man off the bench because he is a known quantity at both guard and tackle. Without Lacy as a security blanket, the offensive line will have to rely on unproven players like Josh Wariboko-Alali to be ready if their names are called. Michael Alves can’t struggle in his first collegiate game. Poasi Moala has starting experience, but struggled to hang on to his starting role last year after a poor first half against Texas A&M last year. Lacy’s injury surely mucked up the overall plan for the offensive line, but it would only come into play if combined with another injury to a starter. Continue reading “Weekly Q&A: Texas A&M answers” »

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Leftover training camp questions

UCLA Bruins Giovanni Gentosi (45) poses for a picture during the UCLA football Spring Showcase on Saturday, April 29, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

UCLA unexpectedly cancelled media availability Wednesday so no video interviews to pass on today. Here’s a short notebook about Giovanni Gentosi and a funny scene at practice with assistant coaches DeShaun Foster and Demetrice Martin.

Since no big story from practice today, I’ll circle back to a few questions from the end of training camp Q&A that I missed.

I was expecting Sunny Odogwu to be right tackle. What is your take on the O-line shuffle? Does it improve the run game, the pass game or both (or neither).

I think everyone was expecting Sunny Odogwu to start at right tackle. But I think it’s indicative to the character of the new coaches, including offensive line coach Hank Fraley, that they’re willing make a change when they one thought one was needed. I feel like last year, when things were not going well at the beginning, the main talking point for the whole offense was about staying the course and hoping that it smooths out eventually. When it never smoothed out and the team wanted a change, it was already past the point of no return. I respect that this coaching staff is willing to trust their eyes and be bold in making personnel decisions, whether its putting Christian Pabico with the starters or shaking up the offensive line to include Michael Alves. We’ll have to see if fortune favors the bold in a few weeks.

Odogwu was not a full participant in every practice, but when we saw him, I thought that he looked a little slow. He struggled with Keisean Lucier-South, Jaelan Phillips and Rick Wade around the edge and he seems too tall to move to guard. He’s a very tall 6-foot-7 and guards are generally a little shorter because they don’t want to block the passing lanes.  Continue reading “Leftover training camp questions” »

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End of training camp Q&A — Answers

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Thanks for your questions, friends. Since UCLA ended its fall camp with a surprise cancellation on Sunday, here’s a leftover story about how the team thought camp went in Westwood compared to San Bernardino. 

Also, here are my 5 lessons from training camp

OFFENSE

How does Josh Rosen look going into the season, compared to right before his freshman and sophomore campaigns?

I wasn’t covering the team for Josh Rosen’s freshman season, so I can’t speak on that. He obviously did well enough to win the starting job. If we’re just comparing this year to last year, I think he’s looked better. Rosen was always more of a gamer than a practicer. That’s not to say he doesn’t try in practice, but he usually shines the brightest when the game day lights come on. It’s more of his natural habitat. But this year, he had a few days in practice when he looked like he was in game mode, especially between Aug. 9-12. He was impressive during those days not only for the precision with which he was throwing the ball, but because he was coming off a terrible day on Aug. 8. I remember that practice because Scott Quessenberry gathered all the offensive players together on the sideline and cussed them all out between drives once. The offense scored only one touchdown during the two-hour, 35-minute practice that was dedicated almost entirely to team periods. Rosen’s ability to bounce back after the bad practice was impressive to me and then for him to continue on the right path was even more encouraging for the team. Continue reading “End of training camp Q&A — Answers” »

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