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Spaulding Roundup: Coaches Ulbrich, Klemm, and Mazzone Address UCLA's Issues

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After practice today, Offensive Coordinator Mazzone, Offensive Line Coach Klemm, and Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich faced the media, discussing UCLA's issues against Utah and how they are preparing for Oregon. Plus a few added bites from around the Bruin-verse.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Today Coaches Jeff Ulbrich, Noel Mazzone, and Adrian Klemm met with the media after practice. Here's what the each had to say (sans editorializing).

First, on defense Coach Jeff Ulbrich:

  • On the last drive: "obviously we would have like to have played better, no doubt... We have to learn from it....They all want to be that guy....I felt it in a good way....Guys abandoned their responsibility....Not because they were trying to be selfish but just because they wanted to be the guy to stop it....Be your best when your best is required"....He is relying more on the fundamentals (my word), especially in critical situations. He says the scheme was to have a lot of guys in the box. It came down to execution. "Guys just lost their mind, they wanted it so badly." At the same time, I could always do something different... It's always on everyone's shoulders." He adds he could have mixed things up a little more and that they like it when he does that.
  • On Mariota: What concerns him? What doesn't? He can extend plays. He can find the guys that get open late in the play. "It's a perfect game for where we're at right now...obviously we're very disappointed with what happened in the game....We want a worthy opponent and that's defininitely what they are." " We have to be great at containing this kid."  The D gets to face this kind of quarterback on a daily basis in Brett Hundley and that has hopefully prepared them.
  • He responds that the injuries on Oregon's O-line will might create some opportunities for the pass rush, but he says their guys are getting better every week. He said our players were really close at least 9 times to get a sack.
  • On Oregon's passing the ball more: they're going to give you what you give them. They run a spread and you don't think of a running game coming out of the spread. It still makes Ulbrich sick that they ran over 240 yards on them last year. [Just to clarify it was actually 325 yards, ugh!]
  • On Deon Hollins: Coach Ulbrich says he (coach) needs to be better at rolling guys more. He says the tempo doesn't allow people to sub. He wants to keep Deon fresher. Does Deon get too aggressive? "He has an exceptional get-off." There needs to be a balance but..."we don't want him to lose his edge." Part of it is having improved situational awareness.

Next, on the offensive line and it's struggles to this point, Coach Adrian Klemm:

Thanks to Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register for making the Ulbrich and Klemm videos available.

Notes:

  • On 10 sacks: He says the coaches are addressing the issue in many ways and have addressed it a number of times. He says it obviously starts with the offensive line and there are some things they can do differently in terms of technique as well as focus and carrying things over from practice to the games. Klemm says sometimes the guys get down when they're not succeeding and it is difficult for them to come out of that, that things kind of "snowballed" against Utah. He says that our tackles had been really solid and he wants them to remember who they are and how they've been. They came in early with the coaches to go over the tape. He says that Noel put together "a really good game plan" and that "we just need to go out there and execute". He offered some more details, but he speaks really fast and the noise in the background made it difficult for me to dissect. He also said you could see at the end of the game what can happen when they got it rolling.
  • On Kenny Lacy: He did a pretty good job of "answering the call" against ASU. He is getting better. He talked about how Utah sent everyone and sent a free guy and how that was difficult for them to handle.
  • On switching Malcolm Bunche and Caleb Benenoch from guard to tackle: he thought that until this game they had done well. They had been the strength of the team. But they did have problems this game and it was in crucial situations. He also says it is difficult to find good tackles in the country with all the spreads that are being run. He says he hears people complaining about having one freshman or when someone gets injured on the line and kind of laughs about those complaints. He says this has been common over here. "It is out of necessity" that they are playing tackle, not out of "messing around". Klemm says he teaches and takes pride in helping them to develop. "They are kids" and he has to get them comfortable out there with reps and by watching film. When asked about Simon Goines, Klemm said they have to focus on the players they have and that Malcolm and Caleb have been working really hard and getting better each week, despite the set-back last week.
  • Klemm is working on helping them get their confidence back this week.

David Woods from BRO provides us with the video of Coach Mazzone's take on what is happening on offense (not behind firewall):

Here is a summary of Mazzone's comments:

  • On sacks: "Poor techniques and just getting beat on one on one blocks. It wasn't a pressure situation", like it was with ASU. There is a need to do a better job on the ends. The inside guys have been doing a really good job. When there are issues on the edge it does factor in the next game, but "you didn't know that's going to happen" before the game. He was surprised: "but it surprised me like it surprised probably you guys." It hadn't been a problem (the edges). "It's like one of those deals like after the fact." We had a play in there for the situation but it hadn't been an issue. Mazzone refers to a Jets example. He'll add something to the package in case this happens again. "That makes sense doesn't it?"
  • On the receiving corps: Eldridge Massington and Jordan Payton have played well. Thomas Duarte kind of got lost. (I can't tell if he means Duarte got lost, or he wasn't being found?) Mazzone is really happy with the receivers play and with Brett Hundley's play. On the run, he says they've always worked hard to get the run going, but sometimes we got a little conservative (referring to this last game). Brett comes out and takes things on his shoulders. He brought us back. "He did a great job on the two-minute." You would like to obviously not have to go through "the sack deal, which is crazy". Says many of the previous games' sacks were coverage sacks. He felt they had been making really good progress regarding sacks until this last game.
  • Touchdowns from long plays are fun. It's hard when every play you draw up has to be a touchdown play. It's fun for the outside guys, Devin Fuller, Payton, TD, Massington and allows them to create the explosive plays.
  • About extending drives: He doesn't really think about how many plays it takes. He just wants to score.
  • Paul Perkins was sick on Saturday and has done a good job "grinding out tough yards for us". He'd like to see Perkins take that next step and get more big plays by turning 5 and 10 yard gains into longer gains.

Here are some more direct quotes:


On the injury front, we are starting to hear about Simon Goines again:

Let's hope that these sightings are good news and mean Simon and Alex will be back soon. Also,

Let's hope this is something minor.

A few other things:

"Take off those red pants", Jordan Payton brought a Trojan to practice today:

One of the really great things about Saturday's game was the play of Marcus Rios. As you know, Marcus had a life threatening experience two years ago. Saturday he made a significant impact for the Bruins with six solo tackles. He played the nickel and was really happy to be out there for significant minutes. From Everett Cook:

With what I went through and stuff, it felt good to be back on the field with my team and my brothers," Rios said after the game Saturday.

Jason Fray spotted some statistics that are worth some conversation. Two, in particular, demonstrate that the concern people are having about the defense have real merit:

UCLA ranks No. 114 nationally in third-down conversions allowed per contest. Teams have averaged 7.6 third-down conversions a game through the first five. Last year, UCLA allowed only 5.2 a game...

UCLA ranks No. 85 in total defense. The unit allows 429.0 yards per game and 5.27 yards per play. Although the 4-2-5 alignment appears to play with a "bend-but-don't-break" approach, generating pressure on the opposing signal-callers has been a major problem.


So we will see on Saturday how the Bruins have adjusted and as far as I am concerned, I am really looking forward to de-feathering those Ducks.

Go Bruins!