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Inexperience v. Freshmen Talent: Hester, Price and Fuller

UCLA coaches seem hesitant to replace their senior cornerbacks with talented freshmen yet they have had no issues with experimenting with freshman with no experience on the offensive side of football.

Bob Stanton-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Let's pick up where Menelaus left off wondering whether Mora will continue to stick with his two senior cornerbacks. Per reports from today's practice both of those guys were made available to the media. They didn't have anything encouraging to say:

"You just have to go out there and keep competing," Hester said. "Cornerback is one of the most criticized and under-the-microscope positions because everyone can see when you get beat out in the open. But it's a hard position. With all the stuff that we did bad, we also did some good things in the game. We've got to continue to do the good things and eliminate the bad things."

Price, who had three interceptions Sept. 15 against Houston, said a return to the basics during practice this week should help. He said they have been working on foot position, hand position, where to line up and how to stand before the snap. Those fundamentals have been missing in recent weeks, he said.

"We got away from our techniques a little bit for whatever reason and they took advantage of it," Price said. "Now that we're getting back to that, you can see us developing in practice and you can see us getting back to where we were."

Not sure two days of practice is enough for development, given what we have seen from them in last four years. From Mora's comments it appears he is hesitant to go with inexperience at the corner position. That's the impression I got reading through his comments on the challenge associated with bringing a freshman at CB:

Short term memory. Lack of experience. Not having seen something. As much as you prepare each week for a game you're going to get unscouted looks. Everyone is going to game plan and there's going to be things you haven't seen on film that happen in a game. Having the background and knowledge, the experience to be able to adjust quickly and make the right decision to make the right play. Tha'ts always a challenge when you play a young guy. You see that on the offensive line right now. Every week they're getting better. Every week they're seeing more. Every week they're creating a back log of information that they can draw upon in a game. But also every week they're seeing new things they haven't seen before. It's challenging to them. It's a good thing for their overall development. It's just a tough thing when it's happening. It's the same thing with young corners, it really is.

I get that trepidation but at the same time I think we are at a spot with our corners that Mora needs to try out the young. It wasn't just the Cal debacle. As noted by Chris Foster in the LA Times:

UCLA has given up nine passes of 31 or more yards - including touchdown plays of 75, 42, 34 and 31 yards - in the last three games.

That is not going to work. Mora and coaches hesitancy is interesting here given how on the offensive side he had no problem throwing Devin Fuller to the wolves last Saturday. Here is the extent of Fuller's experience at WR before Saturday night when he was used during key plays (not successfully) by Mazzone:

"I played wide receiver at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl," said Fuller, rated the No. 37 overall prospect in the country last year by Before that, and playing WR on the UCLA scout team, he'd never run pass routes, not even in youth football

Emphasis mine. BTW a quick point on Fuller being used as WR now. Hope the coaches now put a major emphasis on bringing at least one QB into this year's class. With Fuller now at WR, the guys backing up Brett Hundley are Jerry Neuheisel and T.J. Millweard. We need more otherwise we will have same QB depth issues that cost previous head coaches their jobs.

Anyways, going back to the main topic of discussion for this post, I don't have a problem with coaches trying out young talent. What I am having a hard time here understanding is how coaches are showing willingness to take chances with willingness to take chances with potential and talent in some position compared to others.