While we’re waiting for tonight’s game to start, let’s take a look at some of the news about UCLA Football from the second half of this week.
One question that Bruin fans might be asking is “Why isn’t Josh Rosen being talked about as a Heisman Trophy contender?” Ben Bolch of the LA Times looks to answer that question.
Essentially, it comes down to one thing: UCLA’s 3-2 record.
Ten players who won the award have been on teams with three losses, including USC’s Marcus Allen in 1981.
But it’s a steep dropoff from there. No Heisman winner has played for a team with four losses since Oklahoma’s Steve Owens in 1969, and only one player — Notre Dame’s Paul Hornung, in 1956 — won the award while playing on a team with a losing record.
To be sure, there’s nothing that helps a Heisman candidacy out more than winning. So far, Rosen has been picking his team up just about every week. But, in order for Rosen to have any chance of winning the Heisman Trophy this season, his team needs to start picking him up by making plays that help UCLA win more frequently in the second half of the season.
Bolch did ask Coach Mora about this on after practice on Wednesday. Mora responded by saying:
If we win and Josh keeps playing like he’s playing, then he’s going to vault right into the discussion. But when we go to Memphis and we go to Stanford and we don’t win, no matter how well he plays, the looming thing is, well, their defense didn’t play well, they can’t stop the run and they lost and that overshadows what we’re doing offensively and what Josh is accomplishing as an individual.
Josh Rosen also spoke about it after practice on Wednesday. Rosen said:
I would give up all the hype to be 5-0. There’s nothing compared to the year in high school where we went 16-0 at St. John Bosco and I would give anything to have that again. Anything.
Here’s Rosen full post-practice interview, also courtesy of Thuc Nhi Nguyen.
Meanwhile, Thuc Nhi took a look earlier in the week at this weekend’s family feud between the Holmes brothers. Of course, Bruin fans are familiar with freshman Darnay, but it turns out his older brother Darick, Jr. is a redshirt sophomore receiver for the Wildcats.
Could we see Darick and Darnay facing off against each other? It’s certainly a possibility, but it probably isn’t very likely considering that Darick isn’t listed anywhere on the Wildcat depth chart for this week.
Speaking of the defense, Scott White spoke after practice Wednesday about containing the Arizona quarterbacks. White also defended the play of his linebackers.
I think there’s a narrative out there that every issue that goes on with our defense is because of the linebackers, and I don’t agree with that. It’s a collective thing....They've been solid, you know. Have they been great? I don't know, but they've been pretty solid all year long.
Here’s Coach White’s full post-practice interview, again courtesy of Thuc Nhi Nguyen.
Finally, as a last tidbit this afternoon, let’s look north to Corvallis, Oregon. Earlier this week, Gary Andersen voluntarily resigned as head coach at Oregon State and cornerback coach Cory Hall was named interim head coach. That means that Oregon State Athletic Director Scott Barnes will now be looking to hire a new football coach for next season.
Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman takes a look at potential hires for the Beavers and there’s one name on Feldman’s list which looks familiar — Bruins Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch. Feldman says Fisch’s stock is an “trending upward.” He writes:
The 41-year-old who has learned under Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh and Steve Spurrier has put a jolt into the Bruins’ offense since taking over this season, helping quarterback Josh Rosen pilot the country’s No. 1 passing offense. The Bruins also rank sixth nationally in total offense (they were 91st last season) and have improved to 24th in third-down offense after ranking 103rd in 2016.
While all of that is true, Feldman basically included just about every Pac-12 assistant who’s side of the ball is playing well.
Here’s a thought. Maybe Barnes should hire Jim Mora from UCLA. It would mean that Dan Guerrero would have to hire a new coach and, while that’s not ideal, it’s time for a change in Westwood.