Ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the UCLA Bruins in Los Angeles, we sat down with Bruin Nation Managing Editor Joe Piechowski and staff writer Melissa Castro to talk Rosen, UCLA’s porous rush defense and Jim Mora’s future.
Max Madden: Obviously the rush defense has been a disaster thus far, what has been the problem and what are the Bruins doing to try and fix it?
Joe Piechowski: The team just can’t stop the run. Whatever the coaches have done to try to fix it hasn’t worked so far and there’s no indication that it will work in the future.
Melissa Castro: At this point in the season I don’t think anything can be done. The coaches are going to have to have a hard look at themselves. The program in general is going to need to take a hard look at themselves.
MM: Josh Rosen has dealt with a couple different injuries this year, most recently a concussion. How confident are Bruins fans that he will be at 100 percent come Saturday?
JP: Well, Jim Mora noted that he only had one more part of the concussion protocol to clear in order to be cleared to play. Assuming that happens and there’s no reason not to assume that, he should play.
MC: It’s 50-50 right now for me. It’s great news to hear he only has one part of the protocol to pass.
MM: Receiving corps health is another issue for the Bruins, who are your favorite guys you think can make an impact with an increased role?
JP: You can’t just replace the production of Darren Andrews with one guy. Christian Pabico and Theo Howard.
MM: Who are some defensive playmakers that get slept on because of all the noise about the poor run defense?
JP: Kenny Young has been our top linebacker while freshman Jaelan Phillips has had a big impact on the defensive line.
MM: Jim Mora is 45-29 during his six years in Los Angeles, but only won four games last year and is closing in on a similar number with three contests to go in this season. Where is the fan base's confidence in Mora at this moment?
JP: I would say that I think the fan base’s confidence in Mora got left in a Chinese jail this week except I think it was lost long before then. I mean even the last holdouts have him as a dead man walking at this point.
MC: Honestly, I don’t have high confidence in Mora anymore.. I feel they have at least one more win in them, but maybe that is even pushing it.
MM: What's your score prediction?
JP: I don’t know what the final score will be, but this is going to be a high scoring game and the last team to score will win.
MC: I’m not sure but I would like to believe this is the game where the Bruins will turn things around. Even if it is too late.