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Spaulding Report: For UCLA Football To Stop Stanford, the Bruins Must Stop Christian McCaffrey

It's Stanford week, Bruins. If you're in Southern California, get to the Rose Bowl. If you're not, text your buddies and watch with fellow Bruins. If you're on the coaching staff, try to figure out how to stop Christian McCaffrey.

Stanford gets the ball to Christian McCaffrey a lot.
Stanford gets the ball to Christian McCaffrey a lot.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I've got some good news, and some bad news. The good news is that to beat Stanford you really only have to worry about one guy. The bad news is that guy is Christian McCaffrey, would-be Heisman Trophy winner if voters on the East Coast didn't have mean mothers that wouldn't let them stay up past their bedtimes.

"In my opinion, it's not even arguable that he's the top player in college football," Jim Mora told reporters on Monday.

Last year when the Bruins traveled up to Palo Alto, McCaffrey rushed 243 yards for four touchdowns, returned a kickoff 96 yards, and notched a total of 369 all-purpose yards.

"He's so good at so many things," junior defensive lineman Matt Dickerson said. "He's a fast runner. He has great eyes as a running back, great eyes as a wide receiver."

McCaffrey did so much for the Cardinal last year that it seemed like all Stanford did was give the ball to #5. But after two games of this season, McCaffrey is actually responsible for a larger portion of Stanford's production than in 2015.

In 2015, McCaffrey accounted for 64.5% of all Stanford's rushing, 21.8% of all receiving yards, 75.9% of return yards, and 22.4% of their touchdowns. This season? He's already accruing 72.8% of all Stanford rushing yards, 40.9% of all receiving yards, 86.8% of return yards, and 66.6% of their touchdowns.

"He can do so many things so well. Carrying the ball out of the backfield, whether its inside or outside. Catching the ball out of the backfield. They split him out and they use him as a receiver, as a return guy," Mora said. "He's dynamic. He's elusive. He's tough to tackle. He's got great physical and mental toughness."

It's not much of a stretch to say that--because the Cardinal rely on him to such a great extent for their production--if you stop McCaffrey, you stop Stanford.

"He has to be a tremendous focus," Mora said. "He can't be all of the focus, but he has to be the main focus,"

But how do you stop him?

"Really just do our jobs, believe in our coaches, have trust in our teammates," Dickerson answered. "Do what we always have been doing."

"It's just imperative that upfront that we are very, very patient and disciplined in terms of our gap control," Mora said.

And maybe not let him run out of the backfield and up the sideline totally undefended for a 56-yard touchdown pass, amiright? (Love you, Clay Helton!)

Make Josh Fun Again

Remember fun Josh? The guy who had a hot tub in his dorm room, wore a F*ck Trump hat, grew an ugly mustache, and rode around campus on a scooter? He was nowhere to be found after the BYU game on Saturday night, taking questions from underneath a paltry thunder cloud that rained on nobody else.

His Charlie Brown attitude prompted some questions from the media on Monday.

"If you are your own worst critic, that's the toughest critic you can be, and Josh is very tough on himself," Mora said. "And I appreciate that. I also want him to relax sometimes, and enjoy the process, and enjoy the moment."

Josh has noticeably regressed a bit this season, likely because he's adapting to a new offense and his supporting cast is letting him down. But maybe he's overthinking things, too.

"Josh is the ultimate competitor," center Scott Quessenberry said. "He puts the ultimate pressure on himself to be great."

Perhaps, he needs to stop trying to be the best quarterback in the country and just work on getting a little bit better every day.

"It's going to be hard at any level to complete every single pass, make every single read exactly the way it's supposed to be made, because those guys on the other side of the ball have something to do with it as well," Mora said. "So you don't want to say, it's okay to make mistakes, but you just have to learn to play the game and move from moment to moment."

So, maybe just have some damn fun while you're out there, Josh. And hey, you'll always at least be better than Charlie Brown. That guy sucked at football.

Check out more from Head Coach Jim Mora, Scott Quessenberry, Bolu Olorunfunmi, Matt Dickerson, and Cameron Griffin below. All videos are courtesy of Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News.

HC Jim Mora:

OL Scott Quessenberry:

RB Bolu Olorunfunmi:

FB Cameron Griffin:

DE Matt Dickerson: