Engaging the Enemy: UCLA

Mike Singer, CUSportsNation.com
CU Sports Nation

To learn more about Colorado's upcoming opponent, we caught up with BruinSportsReport.com publisher Edward Lewis. Check out our Q&A with him below!

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1. With UCLA off to a 2-2 start this season, are Bruins' fans calling for Jim Mora's job? What is the pulse of the fan base?

Edward Lewis: "The roars for Mora’s job are certainly growing louder, though I think most fans understand he’s still owed around $3.4 million per year until 2022, meaning his buyout is certainly north of $10 million should UCLA want to get rid of him.

"So, with Mora likely not going anywhere no matter how UCLA finishes this season, the new scapegoat has become defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. His schemes just haven’t worked for the Bruins, even for a large portion of last year when current NFL starters Takk McKinley, Eddie Vanderdoes and Jayon Brown were roaming the turf.

"Either way, UCLA fans want to see drastic changes defensively. Whether that’s cutting coaches or changing schemes, there’s a massive portion of the fan base that understands allowing more than 500 yards per game is not good and an overhaul is needed."

2. Is this UCLA team as simple as the offense is really good and the defense is really bad?

EL: "Honestly, yes. This offense has a chance to be historic. Josh Rosen might genuinely be the greatest football player this school has ever seen. Receivers Darren Andrews, Caleb Wilson, Jordan Lasley and Theo Howard are all stars and All Pac-12 caliber players. The offensive line has really gelled and is protecting Rosen well and appears to be getting stronger in the running game.

"On the flip side, this defense has a chance to be historic as well, but for the wrong reasons. They’re giving up 524.8 yards per game (!!!), and we’re talking about giving those totals up to 'whatever' offenses like Memphis, Stanford and Hawaii.

"Rosen is good enough to make up for a lot of UCLA’s defensive woes (see Texas A&M and nearly Memphis), but as long as this defense remains terrible, UCLA is staring down a 6-6 season."

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3. Josh Rosen's statistics have been pretty impressive season (16 TD's, 4 INT's). What are you seeing from Rosen this season? Is he living up to the hype?

EL: "He’s unbelievable. His lone weakness is every once in a while, particularly in games where UCLA needs a first down or touchdown, he forces passes and turns over the football. But outside of that, you’ll be almost certainly looking at the No. 1 pick in next spring’s NFL draft. He can make every throw on the football field, and when he’s not required to lift UCLA’s god awful defense, he can be nearly perfect (see his 22-for-25 game against Hawaii)."

4. Who are same guys on UCLA's roster that Colorado fans should know about?

EL: "Offensively, outside of Rosen, Wilson and Andrews are the studs. They’re Rosen’s favorite targets and at least one of them has caught a touchdown in every game for UCLA so far. Soso Jamabo also had a heck of a game versus Stanford, providing hope that maybe UCLA has finally found a lead back for its stumbling running game.

D"efensively, there isn’t much, particularly if five-star freshman Jaelan Phillips can’t play again this week. Some of the defensive backs, like Adarius Pickett and Darnay Holmes, have Sunday potential. But that front seven is about as bad as you’ll see in the high FBS level."

5. What is your score prediction and why?

EL: "I don’t think UCLA is a good football team. Without Rosen, I’m not sure they’d be bowl eligible. That being said, the talent – especially offensively – should be just too much for Colorado to overcome. I think UCLA will be pretty upset after their performance last week against Stanford as well.

"I think I’ll go UCLA 39, Colorado 31."

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