Nothing brings a team together like a 1,800 mile road trip and a 9:00 a.m. Saturday kickoff. That’s what the UCLA Bruins are looking at this week as they travel to Memphis, Tennessee to face the Tigers. The Bruins are coming off a relatively easy win on Saturday against the University of Hawaii. The 1-0 Memphis Tigers did not play last week as their game against UCF was canceled due to Hurricane Irma. The Tigers flew into Orlando last Thursday evening and and by 11:45 p.m. CT that same evening, the Tigers were back in the air heading back to Memphis.
This week has been relatively quiet in terms of interviews, but I’ll highlight and share the Tuesday interviews with my offensive Co-MVP after two games, coach Jedd Fisch, Caleb Wilson, Tom Bradley and Krys Barnes. We’ll wrap it up with three interviews from Wednesday with Coach Mora, Josh Rosen, and Darren Andrews.
Coach Fisch started his interview discussing the thing that I have seen as one of the keys to the season so far, offensive play calling. Coach Fisch discussed that each week is a new week, and a new plan against a new defense. Fisch did highlight the efficient manner in which the offense has been operating the last six quarters of football. Fisch shared his thoughts on the trick plays so far this year, and his feelings on Josh Rosen’s play on the field. It was interesting to hear what Coach Fisch thinks Rosen has improved upon since spring ball. Lastly, he shares his thoughts on the RB situation, and his comments on who is going to see the majority of carries should shock nobody.
Next, Coach Bradley shared his thoughts about the play of the defense against Hawaii, and the fact that he felt there were four plays that hurt his defense on Saturday. He answered a question about the history of his defenses through the years and if he has observed trends of improvement as the year progresses. Bradley shared the “next man up” philosophy when talking about the loss of Josh Woods for part of Saturday’s game, and he also shared his thoughts on the huge game by Krys Barnes against Hawaii.
Caleb Wilson was up next, and the trick play was definitely part of the conversation. Wilson talked about the Bruins leaving a day early to get used to the time change. Wilson shared his thoughts on his effectiveness as a blocker so far this year, and what exactly has been the key to the team’s success in the last six quarters of football.
The last interview on Tuesday was with sophomore linebacker Krys Barnes. How exciting for Barnes to be a surprise focus of interviews this week after his Saturday 12 tackle performance, 7 of them solo. Barnes talked about the emotions of getting the game experience last week and what he needs to improve on. Barnes also highlighted the impact his work on special teams last year had on preparing him for this year.
We’ll start with Jim Mora, and coach seemed to be in a little bit better of a mood than his usual press conferences. Mora even expanded in a rather polite way his belief on sharing information about injuries and why he doesn’t do it. Mora actually covers a lot of ground for an interesting interview.
The Legend, Josh Rosen is next, and he shared his thoughts on what kind of expectations he set for his return this year and whether the 11 month layoff helped him. He also talked about his thoughts around his current level of play.
Darren Andrews shared his thoughts on his three TD game on Saturday, and what is more important to him, TD’s, yardage, or receptions? Andrews also shared his thoughts on Rosen.
This week is all about preparation and coming together as a team. Coaches often feel like games and cross-country trips like these are great team building times. Mora specifically spoke about this in his interview. Mora has his faults, but his belief and obligation that he seems to embrace to build productive and well-rounded men has never been a question for me. Now make this 1,800 mile trip productive on the field as well.