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Q&A with Go Joe Bruin: How is UCLA responding to interim HC Jedd Fisch?

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Let’s learn all about the Bruins in this bear-based battle for a bowl berth.

Arizona State v UCLA Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The California Golden Bears are celebrating Black Friday with a road game against the UCLA Bruins. Both teams are fighting for their sixth win and the Bruins are also playing under the leadership of interim head coach Jedd Fisch—who’s been in charge for less than a week.

To get a feel for how things are going down in Westwood, we reached out to Mike Regalado of Go Joe Bruin.


1. Which player on offense should Cal fans know about?

Go Joe Bruin (GJB): Obviously, Josh Rosen. He is amazing to watch. Poetry in motion. Around him you have to watch for WR Jordan Lasley—who was suspended for several games, but in the last two, he has played with a purpose. Last week against USC, he had 204 receiving yards. That’s rare for a Bruin receiver. In the backfield, you have to keep an eye on RB Bolu Olorunfunmi who can not only bowl through defenders, but has the speed to take the ball downfield in a hurry.

2. Which player on defense should Cal fans know about?

GJB: It’s thin because of injuries, but DE Jaelan Phillips has been coming on strong as a defensive end and arguably the best player on the line. He’s also a true freshman. LB Kenny Young is the heart and soul of the D and has been playing with a purpose the last few games. In the secondary, there are a lot: Jaleel Wadood, Nate Meadors, Adarius Pickett, Octavius Spencer, Mossi Johnson... needles to say, they’re deep.

3. Who's one under-the-radar or X-factor player who could swing this game for UCLA?

GJB: RB Soso Jamabo. The former 5-star hasn’t played much in the last few games, but against USC he had one of the best games of his career and if Cal’s D isn’t prepared, he has the potential to run all over them.

Texas A&M v UCLA
The UCLA defense and Jaelan Phillps will be critical if the Bruins want to win.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

4. What does UCLA need to do to win the game?

GJB: They need to play with the same aggressive defense they did against USC. It was the most complete game and the Bruins were very efficient. The offense should have no problem putting points on the board, so if the defense can limit points, that will be a “W”.

5. What does Cal need to do to win the game?

GJB: Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run. UCLA did well defending the run against USC, but I am cautiously optimistic and don’t think it will be consistent.

6. How do you see the game going?

GJB: I have a feeling that with the loss of their head coach and bowl eligibility on the line, the Bruins will play with a bit more fire—especially those playing their last game in the Rose Bowl for Senior Day.

7. UCLA has one of the worst run defenses in the nation. Is this a defensive line issue? A tackling issue for the LBs? A result of some other deficiency?

GJB: Losses to the NFL and a massive amount of injuries does not help, but it basically comes down to fundamentals. Coaching and development have been an issue. The Bruins have talent, but that talent is not translating to success.

UCLA v USC
Let’s hope Rosen’s day leaves him looking like this.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

8. What did Arizona and Washington do to shut down Josh Rosen's passing game? What went wrong for ASU and USC when defending UCLA's passing game?

GJB: Against Arizona, Rosen was just off. Against Washington, he played with a concussion. Against ASU, he came back from his concussion and showed his flare. Against USC, we saw the ultimate display of Rosen’s abilities.

9. So... you guys have some big news going on with the football program. Was Jim Mora's dismissal surprising at this point in the season? What is the fanbase's reaction?

GJB: It was surprising only because of the timing. People weren’t sure if he would be fired this off-season, which the athletic department tends to do (after the regular season/before bowl games), so having one game remain on the schedule without Mora was a shock. Most fans are happy because the athletic department finally made a huge decision. And if the next coach is one whom many have wanted, then you’re going to see a very happy fan base.

10. Who do you think is the most-likely person who will be the next head coach at UCLA? Which coach is your ideal—but still realistic—choice?

GJB: Honestly, Chip Kelly seems like a near perfect fit. And unlike previous hires, the AD landing a big hire like Kelly could legitimately happen.

11. How has the team responded to interim head coach Jedd Fisch? Has Fisch brought any radical changes?

GJB: Fisch has been a huge part of UCLA’s offensive success this season. The guys love him and should do well in his temporary role.

12. Whom do you most want to punch in the face?

GJB: Tyler Durden.


Our thanks to Mike Regalado for discussing UCLA with us. Please check out Go Joe Bruin for the best UCLA coverage on the interwebs—until the FCC kills net neutrality and restricts our access to them, of course.

Poll

How do you see the game going?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Big Cal win
    (37 votes)
  • 54%
    Close Cal win
    (116 votes)
  • 17%
    Close UCLA win
    (37 votes)
  • 10%
    Big UCLA win
    (23 votes)
213 votes total Vote Now