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Spaulding Roundup: Brendel Close, Kendricks Praises D, Hundley & Payton talk Trust

After practice, reporters spoke with Eric Kendricks about Saturday's defense and Brett Hundley and Jordan Payton talk about their trust in each other and about Saturday's offense.

Good hands Jordan had career high game Saturday against UVA
Good hands Jordan had career high game Saturday against UVA
Stephen Dunn

The UCLA Football team has a lot to work on this week, especially on offense. Yesterday, the players and coaches watched tape and, according to Jordan Payton, began fixing things.

Let's start with the defense that did get off to a good start Saturday. Eric Kendricks had 16 tackles, forced a fumble (which resulted in a td), and had a pick-six. He was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week. But despite his effort, according to Jack Wang at InsideSocal, Kendricks wasn't satisfied with his performance:

I left a lot of stuff on the field, I can improve every week. I made a lot of little rookie mistakes. … If you watch the film, you’d see that I made some key mistakes in the pass game as far as drops and stuff like that, so I’m gonna get back to it.

Eric goes on to give a lot of insight to the defensive play on Saturday and what he has seen that is different from last year (video courtesy of Jack Wang):

Some of the most interesting things from Eric:
  • When Kendricks watched the film he could see that he made many mistakes that he normally wouldn't make.  Reporter said, maybe you could have had 25 tackles.  Eric's response, or maybe a sack.
  • On the difference in Myles Jack, who had 13 tackles, from last year: he's "salty in the run gap".  Eric said everyone is really gap sound this year and doing their job.
  • On the Kenny's: Kenny Clark, not everyone has a nose tackle that gets eight tackles. And Freshman Kenny Young, played really well according to Eric with just a few mistakes.  When asked if Young is relying on EK, he said he's "on his own - solid".
  • As for the d outscoring the o:  "It was surprising, but at the same time it wasn't surprising, because I know how hard these guys have been working"
  • You could see EK is happy to be playing with Owa who he says is "tackling the mesh" and was in the back field on every play and got a lot of touches on the QB.  The whole d-line played exceptionally well on pass rushing, EK said, and the proof is in the film, not in the stats.  EK praised Deon Hollins for "holding the point extremely well" which I imagine is really difficult to do when you're "flying to the ball with his hair on fire".
  • I love this guy!
Owamagbe Odighizuwa also discussed the schemes that were successful in creating turnovers.  From Jack Wang:
Once we got them moving one way, we came back under another way and four guys were in (Lambert’s) face," Odighizuwa said. "He had to make a decision: ‘Either I get sacked by four guys, or I throw the ball now.’ He so happened to throw it right into Eric Kendricks’ hands.
And for getting to be on the field again, Owa is very happy about it:

Now to the offensive side of the ball.  Brett Hundley took some questions and even when pushed, did not throw the o-line or anyone else under the bus.  He also says that the Cavalier defense played the way they anticipated.  [Thought bubble to Mazzne: so why weren't plays called that could take advantage of what they knew was coming?].  Sorry.  Back to Brett. Incredibly this was the first game where Brett took snaps from someone not named Jake Brendel, which is pretty amazing.  And even though Scott Quessenberry and others had played the positions in practice, Hundley says of practice: "it's not like taking live bullets".  (Video provided by Ryan Kartje, OC Register)

As you can see Brett also talked about what was going through his head on his TD.  He saw they were playing zero coverage and they left a gap, so he just took off.  He also talked about the trust he and Jordan Payton have developed and he trusts that he can throw to him even in traffic. Jordan Payton in the video below says the same thing about the the clutch 3rd and 8 play: Hundley to Payton.  Jordan agrees that the play was huge: "everyone keeps telling me it was a nice catch but catching the ball it's just something you're supposed to do".   He continues that he and Brett have 100% trust in each other, that they have both matured and have a good understanding of each other.

Video courtesy of Ryan Kartje, OC Register.

Jordan who had a career high day (8 receptions for 98 yards) talks about the many mental errors he saw in the tape, "guys anxious to do a lot of things...not doing everything fundamentally sound".  The receiver crew hasn't been dropping balls in practice, so when asked about it Jordan says it is part a "first game vibe".  He was not surprised by the UVA's secondary, he had already said they would be good.  About his own development Jordan says he is just going now, not thinking, that he just goes and that that is helping him this year.  As for the difference in the second half, Jordan says they just started trusting the system and stopped trying to do too much. Jordan agrees with Coach Mora, that Brett was more calm then he's ever seen Brett out there. Chris Foster notes that the bar is now set for the offense to score as many td's as the defense to which Jordan laughs and says they've been hearing about it.

On the injury front, per Jack Wang, Coach Mora said Jake Brendel is "very, very close" to returning, Myles Jack who tweaked his ankle should practice fully on Tuesday, and Simon Goines will begin practicing this week.