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Jim Mora concerned about UCLA QB Brett Hundley's confidence


What's wrong with UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley?

The redshirt sophomore has looked like anything but a franchise NFL signal-caller in losses at Stanford and Oregon , the worst two-week stretch in his college career by far after going 37-of-58 passing for 256 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions.

There are plenty of possible explanations for Hundley's struggles. The defenses of the Cardinal and Ducks are loaded with future pros. The young and reconfigured offensive line struggled to protect Hundley in difficult circumstances against talented fronts. The absence of top running back Jordon James denied UCLA the balance it seeks on offense.

Head coach Jim Mora expressed concern for where Hundley's confidence is at after taking seven sacks and numerous other hits.

"I'm not going to dance around it," Mora told the Daily News. "I do (worry). When you absorb the offensive line losses that we've absorbed, and you're a quarterback, whether you want it to or not, it has an effect on you."

For Hundley, it is as much about trusting in those around him as it is trusting in himself.

"If you're going to be a great quarterback you've got to deal with what you've got," Hundley told reporters. "And to take that next step with me as a quarterback, no matter who is out on the field, I've got to trust who is on the field and I've got to play my position to the best of my ability."

A game against Colorado this Saturday should allow Hundley to get back on track. The Buffaloes are allowing 49.75 points and 624 yards per game in Pac-12 play, and James (463 yards, five touchdowns this season) could return from his ankle injury.

But Hundley will have to do his part by connecting on passes down the field. Hundley's longest completion at Oregon was 11 yards, after posting a long of 26 yards against Stanford. Hundley has only two completions of longer than 40 yards this season, none longer than 44 yards. Even the much-maligned passing offense at crosstown rival USC has completions of 80, 63 and 62 yards.

Hundley's struggles with his accuracy have turned UCLA into a sideline-to-sideline offense, which was easy for sound-tackling defenses like Oregon and Stanford to hold in check. The predictable playcalling has offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone hearing about it from everyone, including his own mother.

Said Mazzone: "My mom calls me all the time, 'You throw too many of those swing passes! Throw it down the field!'"

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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