I talked to two of the preeminent UCLA personalities on the Internet to learn more about the direction of Bruins football.
1. What are your thoughts on the overall start by the Bruins in the Jim Mora era? Overachieved, underachieved, or right on track?
Punting Is Winning: Bruins are right on track. Let's face the facts; we had a very easy schedule to start the season. After UCLA pulled away from Rice in the season opener in front of tens possibly hundreds of hostile Owl fans in attendance, Bruins have stayed within the course of my wins and loss projection. I thought our speed on defense will keep Nebraska in check to pull off the upset and we did. I also thought we would get demolished at Cal because well, we always get demolished at Berkeley and we did. However, the meat of the season is starting this week and where Bruins go from now on will tell us a lot more on which direction this football team is heading under Jim L Mora.
Carlos Sandoval, Go Joe Bruin: UCLA's meeting expectations. That's all I got for you. They're not overwhelming in their success but they're not consistently embarrassing in their failure, although some of those moments exist, admittedly. This team isn't underachieving but they sure as hell are not overachieving. At the same time, though, doesn't the fact that UCLA's meeting expectations mean that UCLA is overachieving, by UCLA standards?
2. How much of an upgrade has Brett Hundley been compared to previous UCLA quarterbacks? What does he need to improve?
Punting Is Winning: Brett Hundley has been nicknamed 'The Savior' but that nickname has been given out to every UCLA quarterback since Drew Olson, so take that for what it's worth. While Brett is having a great statistical year so far and is no doubt an upgrade over Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut, I tend to feel as though his mobility has been tremendously overrated and can be improved. I also would like to see Brett let go of the ball and take some risks to improve his quarterbacking skills in these last few remaining games. Right now Hundley is playing the position safe to a fault where I do not feel as though he is growing as a quarterback. Listen, Cade McNown was an interception machine during his first two years as a UCLA QB, but as the games progressed on you saw him grow into a leader on the field and mature as something more than a decent mobile signal caller. I feel like Brett needs to do the same.
Carlos Sandoval, Go Joe Bruin: Upgrading from Kevin Prince, Richard Brehaut and Kevin Craft isn't hard. That said, Brett Hundley's been exactly what we expected him to be so far. He's had his freshman moments (see: Houston, Cal) but he's also had flashes of brilliance that convey to you signs that this kid will be contending for a Heisman, if not next year, the year after that (see: Utah, Nebraska). He's going to hit a wall soon, though, because UCLA's schedule gets crazy tough (with the exception of Washington State), so Bruins fans shouldn't get all wacky -- as they are wont to do sometimes -- if he struggles down the stretch.