With three more days until Brett Hundley leads our Bruin football team to his third possible victory over Southern Cal, UCLA's offensive and defensive coordinators were singing the praises of some of the Trogan players. We have been hearing focus, confidence, and thoughtful reflection from our players all week. They really seem to be approaching this with the right mentality. The Coordinators did not stray from that path even as many of the questions seemed to be about this week's opponent.
Offensive Coordinator Mazzone starts with a little quib about this being coach speak day and not keeping up with sports news. He then goes on to talk about the challenge Southern Cal's defense will be present. Coach Mazzone switches the conversation back to the Bruins and how his focus is on preparing his guys and on what his guys are doing. When asked, Mazzone praises defensive lineman Williams saying that he is one of the conference's best lineman, he plays angry and then says our guys will need a little anger too. Mazzone says he does not know how the opponent's d will come after them, blitzing or not, and that they need to be prepared for everything. Mazzone agrees that you can see Kennedy Polamalu's imprint on the running back group, especially in the pass protection role which allows him to call more pass plays and Brett to run through his progressions. Mazzone continues the focus on UCLA:
In all honesty, we just kind of come out every week and worry about us. It's about the process of becoming a good football team and we're still in that process... this week is another challenge for us to see how far we've come.
Mazzone does a good job of talking about Brett Hundley and how in that position you always get better. "Brett's won a lot of football games for us here", all quarterbacks vacillate from week to week, even those that have been playing a long time like "the Paytons and the Toms". The full interview:
Thank you Ryan Kartje, OC Register for the video.
Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich is asked a lot of questions about Southern Cal's offense and says diversifying the defense will be one of the keys in meeting the challenge the opponent's offense presents. UCLA's defense will get a new look this week going up against a well executed hybrid of a pro style and spread offense. Coach Ulbrich says they have not seen any others like it this season.
Coach Ulbrich is then asked about some of Southern Cal's weapons. With regards to the quarterback, he says Kessler can move on to his 3rd and 4th reads, executes well, and agrees that he can get the ball out quickly. He also praises running back Allen for his patience, his vision, and notes that he will be playing on Sundays. Because of Allen's ability, gap discipline will be extra important this week and Ulbrich thinks the defense has been showing a true commitment to doing their jobs and maintaining their gaps. He is asked about getting pressure on the quarterback and says that Kessler has been able to go through so many progressions in large part because of their success running the ball. Since Southern Cal is committed to the run game play action is always "valid" which slows down the ability to pass rush, even on third downs. Ulbrich says the Bruins have to stop the run in order to earn the right to affectively rush the passer. Ulbrich praises the work of their young offensive line and has seen them improve, especially in the Berkeley game. When asked about the opponent's wide receiver Agholor, Ulbrich says the Bruins will have to mix up the coverages and adjust if things are not working. He is excited for our defensive backs who get to take on this challenge, adding that this is why you play the game. Our defensive backs have gotten a lot of help this week going up against Jordan Lasley "who is going to be a stud!" "The sucker comes out and competes his butt off everyday...He makes it easier for our guys on Saturday." Coach Ulbrich believes the defense is playing with confidence and will do their jobs on Saturday. The full video:
Thank you Ryan Kartje, OC Register for the video.
I guess that is about all that Southern Cal is going to get on the Bruins preparations for the game as there seems to be added security around Spaulding:
Hit @UCLAFootball practice this am.Impressed they had security in parking lot overlooking practice field. Rivalry spy prevention #USCvsUCLA
Hit @UCLAFootball practice this am.Impressed they had security in parking lot overlooking practice field. Rivalry spy prevention #USCvsUCLA— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) November 19, 2014
I'd bet my life that the dude with the sledgehammer is a trogan. How are we going to going to keep eyes off practice once the hotel is built Chancellor Block? Just asking.
While driving to the Staples Center last night, I was excited to hear Gary Beban come on the Petros and Money show. The Heisman Trophy winner who "once a year lowers himself" (not Beban's words), to be on their show talks about what it was like back in the day when there was only one game a week on television and when exposure for Heisman candidates was at a minimum. Gary Beban expresses his view of the current uniforms, loving the baby blues (wouldn't be seen wearing anything else), the magic carpet ride Tommy Prothro was on, and why Prothro didn't go for a third touchdown in the last four minutes against Southern Cal in 1965. About playing it cool like the current Bruins are, Beban said when he was playing this game was a "season of its own". He makes a point about how important this week was when he was there and that this game was why players went to one of the two schools. As for this year's game, Beban says it all depends on which UCLA team shows up.
Ishmael Adams was also interviewed on Monday, but as Petros says, he gave them nothing. Once again, Ish showing Bruin discipline while being fun to listen to.
Chris Foster has a article about how Jordan Lasley's physicality is helping prepare UCLA's d-backs. Foxsports discusses why UCLA could crash the College Football Playoff if the Bruins run the table. The Salt Lake Tribune takes a look at how the Pac-12 South Is not the SEC West, but it's close.
There seems to be another competition going on between the two schools this week to see which school's students can conserve the most water. In The Thirst is Real: UCLA vs. USC competitioin, students are asked to pledge to reduce water. With the flooding on our campus this year, I think the Bruins will be more motivated than usual to do the right thing.
That's it for now, and as always...