Sunday, October 14, 2012
Upon further review: Utah rewind
By Peter Yoon
LOS ANGELES -- Brett Hundley had a career-high 15 rushing attempts during the UCLA Bruins' 21-14 victory over Utah on Saturday, a surprising number considering how the first one went.
On the first play of the game from scrimmage, Hundley took off and fell awkwardly as he got caught in between a dive and a slide after a one-yard gain. The next play, he threw a quick pass out of bounds and then called an unusual timeout.
It turned out he tweaked his knee and needed a minute to recover.
"It just didn't feel right for a second," Hundley said. "It just felt weird at the moment so I was like, oh, snap, so I called a timeout to get back into it. It felt really fine after that. They just checked it out and I did a couple of drop backs and a couple of plants and they threw me back in there."
Hundley went on to match his career high with 68 yards rushing, including three runs of 12 or more yards. He had 32 yards in four carries during a 14-play, 66-yard scoring drove in the third quarter that put UCLA up, 21-7.
"He made a major step in my mind in terms of demonstrating his mobility as a quarterback," coach Jim Mora said. "Those of us that have been at practice have seen it a lot, but he just tucked it and ran when he saw an opportunity to do that."
Hundley has been touted as a dual-threat quarterback since his arrival and raised the expectations sky high when he took his first collegiate snap and ran 72 yards for a touchdown in the season opener against Rice.
He has dealt with a sore ankle since Week 2 against Nebraska and had only 51 yards in 44 carries the last four games before breaking out against Utah.
"They did a good job out there and covered our receivers," Hundley said. "If nothing is there, I'm just going to take off running and using the legs. When things are there, I'm going to take off and if the throws are there, I'm going to throw the ball. It felt really comfortable though."
His ability to run certainly won't feel comfortable for opposing defensive coordinators, though.
"I know how tough it is when you have to defend a quarterback that is effective throwing the ball and running it himself," Mora said. "We want to encourage him to do that when it's appropriate, but it's got to be the right time. (Saturday) I think he did it at the right times."
Man in the middle: Jordan Zumwalt, a starter at outside linebacker most of the season, had a solid game playing at middle linebacker with four tackles. Mora said he would move Zumwalt back and forth based on matchups.
He'll be inside against more traditional offenses and outside against spread attacks.
"I think it depends on who we're playing and what style of offense we're facing," Mora said. "It's good to have some flexibility in terms of who we can use where on defense."
Bye week plans: UCLA has a bye this week and will not play again until Oct. 27 at Arizona State. The team will practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as usual, but Mora said he would use the week to let some guys recharge and give extra work to players who need it.
The bye week will "allow some guys to heal up a little bit," Mora said. "A guy like Johnathan Franklin who takes quite a beating week in and week out because of the way he plays. Allows us to get our young guys some good quality work during practice. It will allow us as coaches a little extra time to prepare for Arizona State."
Mora said the week also will give some of the younger players a chance to relax a bit. School started three weeks ago at UCLA, so some of the players are still getting used to managing their time.
"I think it comes at the right time for us," Mora said. "I think it gives our guys a chance to catch their breath a little bit and I think it's going to help them in school. When you've got so many freshmen contributing like we do, and they've got so much on their plate, it can get a little bit overwhelming for them.
"I think it's good for us to take a break right now from the emotional part of football. We're still going to go out and work hard and try to get better, but we don't have to get emotionally prepared for a game for another week and I think it's good for these guys."
Corner the market: Cornerbacks Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price have come under some scrutiny because of poor play in recent weeks, but had a solid game against Utah, Mora said.
"We eliminated the deep ball to the outside and they tackled well," Mora said. "I thought they played very solid."
Mora ramped up the competition at the cornerback spots last week in practice to light a fire under his seniors. They each had two tackles and a pass breakup and, perhaps most important after a flag-filled season so far, no penalties.
"They had a good week of practice and they are veteran guys," Mora said. "They are seniors, they took the challenge, took the bit and they performed well."
Injury update: Right tackle Simon Goines left the Utah game in the fourth quarter because of a knee injury, but Mora said he would be fine. He originally said Goines might need an MRI exam, but said Sunday "I don't believe he needed one."