Weekly Q&A: Oregon answers

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How would you assess the morale of the team? Kenny Young seemed to indicate at the Arizona postgame press conference that some of his teammates are not fully committed.

This is a critical week for the team. With a 3-3 record and two very hard road games coming up (at Washington then at Utah on a short week), this Oregon game could be a tipping point. If the Bruins win, it’ll keep them barely above water. If they lose, it could be the beginning of a three-game losing streak that will completely cap-size the season. Like the year’s hopes, I believe the team’s morale might be on unsteady ground.

I’m neither in meetings nor on the field for practice, but something that struck me this week was hearing Jim Mora say of his defense, “We have to move away from being fragile and move into being confident.” Perhaps the team follows that same mentality. I think the team goes into each game with confidence then once one bad thing happens, its morale is shattered. An example Mora referenced would be the 45-yard touchdown run by Khalil Tate on the fourth play of the game that erased two weeks of good practices. Developing that mental fortitude is a hard, but necessary task that the Bruins seem to be struggling with, especially on defense. Continue reading “Weekly Q&A: Oregon answers” »

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UCLA men’s basketball ranked 18th in preseason coaches poll

Head coach Steve Alford (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

The UCLA men’s basketball team checked in at No. 18 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll released Thursday.

Arizona, the media’s preseason pick to win the Pac-12, led the three Pac-12 schools in the coaches poll by checking in at No. 5, followed by USC at No. 11. Oregon also received 12 votes.

After advancing to the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years, the Bruins lost four starters. Center Thomas Welsh is the lone returning starter while point guard Aaron Holiday returns as the team’s leading scorer. UCLA will lean on its highly touted freshman class that includes McDonald’s All-Americans Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands.

The Bruins open their season on Nov. 10 against Georgia Tech in Shanghai at 8:30 p.m. PT on ESPN.

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UCLA links: Gary Beban celebrates 50th anniversary of Heisman Trophy win

UCLA great Gary Beban, left, seen being interviewed by former Bruins QB Wayne Cook in 2015, will be honored during Saturday’s game against Oregon at the Rose Bowl. (Photo by Don Liebig/ASUCLA Photography)

It’s been 50 years since Gary Beban won the Heisman Trophy and a lot has changed about college football from the Heisman ceremony that now includes a live TV broadcast and three finalists to the multi-million-dollar training facilities programs around the country boast. But as time wears on, Beban still believes the same values that won him the 1967 Heisman Trophy hold true in today’s game.

“The facilities have changed,” Beban said. “But I think it still takes the same characteristics and skills and coaching to produce a consistent winner.”

Beban will return to the Rose Bowl on Saturday when he will be honored during the game for the 50th anniversary of his Heisman Trophy.

The first 20,000 fans to enter the stadium wearing blue will receive a special edition Gary Beban Collector’s Coin and he will be signing autographs before the game in the Fan Zone from 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

More on Beban and the Heisman’s enduring quality

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Kris Wilkes named to Julius Erving Award Watch List

Kris Wilkes is one of two McDonald’s All-Americans in UCLA’s freshman class this season. (Photo by Don Liebig/UCLA Photography)

Freshman Kris Wilkes was named to the Julius Erving Award Watch List on Wednesday, putting him in a group of 20 players initially vying for the award honoring the nation’s top small forward.

The 6-foot-8 freshman from Indianapolis was Indiana’s “Mr. Basketball” after his senior year during which he averaged 22.1 points and 7 rebounds at North Central High. He was a McDonald’s All-American and the nation’s No. 17 recruit in his high school class, according to Scout.com.

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