We've spent so much time analyzing last week's loss to Utah that one very important detail has been forgotten: The loss to Utah now means that this week's game (and every week going forward) is now a MUST WIN game.
Let me say this as clearly as possible. There is NO margin for error.
Today, we're going to turn back the clock on our Offensive Coordinator Mazzne. How far back should we go? We're going to all the way back to Mazzne's first public statements to UCLA fans at the National Signing Day event in 2012.
"It finally hit me a couple of years ago. I came to a realization that I am really a good offensive coach...coordinator...when I have a really good quarterback." - N. Mazzne, UCLA NSD event 2012
With apologies for the overall fuzziness of the video, here's the video from that event. The quote starts at the 38 second mark.
Now, we all know that Mora thinks that Brett Hundley is "special." He has proven to be a really good quarterback. That means, that it is up to Mazzne to call the game of his life tomorrow and prove how good of an offensive coordinator he is, at least, this week.
(Note: For the record, of the two "really good" quarterbacks Mazzne recruited that year, neither one is playing quarterback at UCLA. Devin Fuller was obviously moved to WR and TJ Millweard transferred to Kansas.)
It is up to Mazzne and Klemm to have worked together to create a protection scheme that gives Hundley the time to throw and be, well, Brett Hundley. It is up to them to have crafted a game plan that takes advantage of the deficiencies in the Duck defense.
Make no mistake. There are definite deficiencies in the Duck defense. But, that's another story. For now, let's take another look at Klemm. As pointed out by Bruin Bro's fanshot, Ryan Kartje of the OC Register has a great article that takes Klemm to task for the play of the offensive line.
Kartje points out that Klemm can potentially take home $823,000 this season alone. It positions Klemm "to potentially earn nearly $100,000 more annually than UCLA's next-highest-paid assistant...." And, who is that next highest paid assistant? Of course, it's Mazzne. That means the UCLA has more than $1.5 million invested into these two guys.
No wonder season ticket prices went through the roof this year.
So what has Klemm done to earn such a huge payday? Kartje quotes Coach Mora:
He's too important to what we're doing here. He's too good of a coach, too good of a recruiter. I wasn't going to let go of him.
Too good of a coach? Really? Let's see how true that is. When he took over as Offensive Line coach at SMU, he improved their pass blocking some. They went from 105th in the country in sacks to 85th over three years. In his first season, UCLA went from 81st (under Neuheisel) to 123rd which was second to last. Only Washington State allowed more sacks that year. Ouch.
In 2013, UCLA tied for 109th, better but still worse than under Neuheisel. This year, they are 124th of 128 so far having allowed 22 sacks in just 5 games. In fact, under Klemm, sacks have increased 60% in just 2 1/2 seasons compared to the previous 3 seasons. From '09-'11, UCLA allowed 84 sacks in 39 games. That's 2.15 sacks per game and 514 yards lost. Since 2012, UCLA has allowed 110 sacks in 32 games. That's 3.44 sacks per game and 636 yards lost.
When you consider the pummelling Kevin Craft took in those years, it's a miracle that Brett Hundley didn't get hurt until he hurt his elbow against Texas.
Klemm's final quote in Kartje's article is this:
There will come a time one day when I'll have the opportunity to look at this line and these guys will be seniors and they'll be dominant. And the next year, you bring in another guy who has been there.
I have a better idea. How about next year we bring in a guy from a school that throws the ball a lot and whose team averages fewer than a sack per game?
In the meantime, we are stuck with both Mora, Mazzne and Klemm. So, what are we to do?
We start by recognizing that tomorrow is a MUST WIN game. The loser is almost certainly out of the Playoff Picture. Failure is not an option. We do not stand by wringing our hands if Oregon wins. We demand accountability.
Mora may conveniently have forgotten how he felt after last year's loss. We haven't. Mazzne may have forgotten how he claimed to be "a really good offensive coordinator when he has a really good quarterback." We haven't. Klemm's fat contract may have "made [him] want to do better." So far, he hasn't and we will not forget about the size of that paycheck.
After last week's loss, this week is definitely the most important game of the season, because whomever loses it will definitely end up falling short of their goal: a National Championship.