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WSU vs. UCLA: Previewing the game with Bruins Nation

We had questions. They gave us answers.

Valero Alamo Bowl - Kansas State v UCLA Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With WSU-UCLA coming up in now just a matter of hours, here’s one of your final chances to get an in-depth look at the Bruins. We reached out to our SB Nation comrades at Bruins Nation for a closer look at the Cougars’ homecoming opponent.

Here are their thoughts.

CougCenter: After another season that seems to not really be living up to expectations, how are you feeling about the direction of the program under Jim Mora?

AnteatersandBruins: I was feeling a lot better six weeks ago! Now, not so much. I feel let down in most aspects. No conference championship, no top tier bowl in five years under Mora. These are the things we thought were coming this year. A lot of good things have happened, but most of the success has been short lived or mediocre.

Joe Piechowski: I wasn’t happy after the loss to Southern Cal last season, but the departure on Noel Mazzone and his son Taylor made me feel a lot better about the direction of the program. I would have felt even better had Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm been given his walking papers, too, but, like Meat Loaf, I accepted that two out of three ain’t bad. Now, I’m feeling like the biggest problem stayed behind...and it shows. UCLA’s Pass Blocking Efficiency is 128th in the country. That’s awful. And, yet, Adrian Klemm who was hit with a “show-cause” order by the NCAA for recruiting violations is somehow still employed by UCLA. The guy shouldn’t have a job.

The fact that Jim Mora allows Klemm to still have a job shows that the program is going in the wrong direction.

CC: Just how far did your stomach crawl up into your throat when Josh Rosen took that second brutal hit at the end of the game? And assuming Mike Fafaul starts in place of Rosen, what does he bring to the table?

AnteatersandBruins: Childbirth was less painful. Faufaul supposedly brings five years of experience to the table, but he plays like a deer caught in headlights. I see us handing the ball off a lot, but we also have no run game, so who the heck knows what is going to happen.

Joe Piechowski: In August, I called Fafaul “the most important guy on the UCLA roster” because he would be the guy coming in if Rosen got hurt. I’m not going to assume that Fafaul will start if Rosen can’t go. Something in my gut says we could see one of the three freshmen QBs on the roster make the start if Rosen can’t. For what it’s worth, I wrote that in August too.

CC: What’s been behind the problems on the offensive line?

AnteatersandBruins: Adrian Klemm. The line was fantastic last year while he was suspended.

Joe Piechowski: Yup, it’s Klemm. Let me explain. This is the fifth season that Mora’s been in Westwood. The offensive line has been bad almost the entire time and Klemm has been the offensive line coach the entire time. True, they did allow fewer sacks last year than in years past, but when you’ve given up more sacks than almost any other team in the country as was the case in 2014, there’s nowhere to go but up. As recently as a few days ago, Mora wasn’t putting all or even most of the blame on the offensive line, at least not publicly. Yet, Mora still continues to employ Adrian Klemm as his line coach. It’s so bad that I’m starting to wonder what blackmail material Klemm has on Mora.

CC: If one guy on offense was going to pop up and make WSU’s life miserable, who would you peg as most likely to do that?

AnteatersandBruins: We’ve had a pretty abysmal year on offense. Dropped passes and a vanishing run game make it hard to answer this question. We’ve had mild success with Darren Andrews, so hopefully he’ll have a big game this week.

Joe Piechowski: Austin Roberts who has shown some flashes of brilliance.

CC: Same question, defense this time.

AnteatersandBruins: Randall Goforth. At times, I’ve seen him pick up two and three blocks by himself in a single play.

Joe Piechowski: The entire defense. Take your pick. It could be Takkarist McKinley, Deon Hollines or Eddie Vanderdoes on the defensive line. Or Jayon Brown at linebacker. Or anyone in the secondary. The defense has been the team’s salvation this year.

CC: Are you feeling bullish or bearish on the Bruins’ chances on Saturday night in the cold and rain of Pullman?

AnteatersandBruins: I’m always rooting for my Bruins until the very end.

Joe Piechowski: Well, I’m Bruinish, not bearish or bullish. But, that doesn’t mean I’m expecting a UCLA victory at this point. Not after what the Cougars did to Stanford recently. Anyone who is expecting a Bruin win is full of, well, a word similar to bullish.