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Spaulding Report: UCLA Football's Ka'imi Fairbairn Lou Groza Semifinalist

The Bruins are headed to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday. They got in one practice this morning before heading to the plane. Here is the latest.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

First in some really great news, Ka'imi Fairbairn is a Lou Groza Award semifinalist.

After having struggles in past years, Ka'imi has come back strong this year, capping his growth with a record breaking 60 yard field goal against Berkeley a couple of weeks ago. According to Jack Wang, Ka'imi is one of 20 semifinalists for the award which is given to the top kicker in college football and has:

hit 13 of 14 field goals, giving him a 92.9 percent conversion rate that ranks the best among kickers with double-digit attempts. UConn’s Bobby Puyol (92.3), Western Kentucky’s Garrett Schwettman (91.7) and Stanford’s Conrad Ukropina are the only others above 90 percent.

Four finalists will be named on November 24th. Congratulations and keep it up Ka'imi!

As we know the Bruins have been needing to be very creative in selecting, combining, and positioning players on defense this year. Coach Mora didn't want to give out too much information about who would be playing where when asked "Who plays?", however he did talk about some other players and their development and what using different LBs as the Mike LB:

It changes everything because if you have a different Mike, you tend to have a different Jack inside. People say, 'well he's an inside linebacker' but there's two different positions. Its like saying he's an offensive lineman, there's a tackle, a guard and a center. Or saying he's a wide receiver, there's an inside guy and an outside guy.  The complexity of playing the position changes.  We have to keep reassembling the puzzle every week and get the pieces to fit.  If you want to look at the bright side, a lot of guys are getting a lot of experience. Down the line it will help us. And I see us moving in that direction.

He talked about the importance of Kenny Clark, especially with all the transition that has been happening. Mora says Kenny's been the anchor for the defense. On the offensive side of the ball, Mora says that Soso Jamabo has gained about 10 pounds and is much more solid than when he came in. Soso is adjusting to the college game and is playing with more aggression and is hitting "the hole with more intensity and certainty". He says Soso is still working on getting his pad level down, which isn't easy for a guy who is 6'3". Jordan Lasley is showing great focus this year. Mora says he is being used at multiple positions and that Lasley is capable of handling that. Mora also speaks to the growth and toughness of Devin Fuller and the development of Matt Mengel who "got over the hump" last week.

As far as Oregon State is concerned, Mora talked about their mobility and acknowledged that this is something the Bruins have struggled with this year. He says the weather will be different than anything the team has played in, but that both teams will be playing in it, so it shouldn't be a factor. Instead "it comes back to UCLA and our coaches and our players executing the way we know how."

Thanks to Ed Lewis for the complete video.

The O.C. Register's Joey Kaufman took a look at Josh Rosen's numbers this year and is impressed. We know that Josh broke the single game completion record against Berkeley with 34 completions, a record formally held by Brett Hundley and Richard Brehaut at 33. Beyond that:

Through eight games, he has thrown for 2,229 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and on Monday was named one of 17 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the nation’s top quarterback. He’s the first true freshman to receive the distinction since 2009...

He currently sits 13 touchdowns shy of the FBS record for touchdown passes in a season by a true freshman, a mark set by Nevada’s David Neill in 1998...

Some of Rosen’s best work has come in the past two weeks, throwing for 661 yards and four touchdowns without an interception against Cal and Colorado.

I would love to see Josh get to air it out a bit this Saturday, but we will see what the guy currently in charge of the offense has up his sleeves for this game. It will also be interesting to see if the defense has a game plan this week for a mobile quarterback.

Have a good trip Bruins and here's to a great game this weekend on both sides of the ball.

Go Bruins!