By the numbers countdown to kickoff: 9 days

Eddie Vanderdoes (47) talks with Kenny Young (42) at practice. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Eddie Vanderdoes (47) talks with Kenny Young (42) at practice. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Countdown the days to UCLA’s season-opener against Texas A&M with key stats facing the Bruins this year.

10 receiving touchdowns scored by Thomas Duarte last year, which led the team

9 RETURNING STARTERS ON DEFENSE

UCLA sent two big stars on defense to the NFL, but the Bruins are set to reload quickly with nine returning starters.

Eddie Vanderdoes replaces first-round pick Kenny Clark in the starting lineup after a season-ending knee injury last year. Vanderdoes had never missed a game in his college career prior to his injury and made 19 combined starts during his first two years with the Bruins.

Cameron Judge is set to take a starting outside linebacker role opposite Jayon Brown. Judge, a senior, played in 12 games last season and made one start while Myles Jack left school early to prepare for the NFL Draft and recover from a meniscus injury.

Deon Hollins started 12 games last season as an outside linebacker in UCLA’s 3-4 front, but with the team’s switch to a 4-3, defensive end Matt Dickerson worked mostly with the No. 1 unit during training camp. Dickerson played in every game last year and made one start, against Washington State.

The Bruins could have 10 (or possibly 11) upperclassmen starting on defense:

  • Defensive line: Takkarist McKinley (Sr.), Eli Ankou (R-Sr.), Vanderdoes (R-Jr.), Dickerson (Jr.)
  • Linebackers: Brown (Sr.), Kenny Young (Jr.) or Isaako Savaiinaea (Sr.), Judge (Sr.)
  • Defensive backs: Fabian Moreau (Sr.), Randall Goforth (R-Sr.), Jaleel Wadood (Jr.), Marcus Rios (R-Sr.) or Nate Meadors (So.)

The group’s experience is “golden,” Vanderdoes said.

“That’s the biggest asset we have right now,” he continued. “We’ve been through everything. … We’ve experienced big losses, small losses, everything, so I don’t think anything can faze us at this point. We’ve seen it all, we’ve experienced it all. We know what it’s like.”

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Former UCLA coach Tommy Prothro to be inducted into Rose Bowl Hall of Fame

Former UCLA head coach Tommy Prothro led the Bruins to their first ever Rose Bowl victory, a 14-12 win over No. 1 Michigan State in 1966. Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics

Former UCLA head coach Tommy Prothro led the Bruins to their first ever Rose Bowl victory, a 14-12 win over No. 1 Michigan State in 1966. Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics

Former UCLA head football coach Tommy Prothro and sportswriter and UCLA alumnus Art Spander will be inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2016. The ceremony will take play on Jan. 1, 2017 outside of the Rose Bowl, one day before the Rose Bowl Game is played.

Prothro led the Bruins to their first ever Rose Bowl Game victory, dispatching then-No. 1 Michigan State in 1966. He played in the game as a quarterback for Duke in 1942 and coached Pac-12 teams in the storied bowl game (Oregon State, 1957, 1965; UCLA, 1966).

As a sports journalist, Spander has covered the last 53 consecutive Rose Bowls.

The Class of 2016 also includes Bobby Well (Minnesota) and Ricky Ervins (USC).

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UCLA practice links: Bruins shut out external expectations

Linebacker Jayon Brown. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Linebacker Jayon Brown. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Story on how UCLA is trying to stay away from any external expectations as the season draws nearer.

Notebook about freshmen Lokeni Toailoa, Boss Tagaloa and J.J. Molson

The first part of a countdown to kickoff series on the blog: 10 days until kickoff

Video interviews

Quick personnel notes from Wednesday’s practice

  • Jacob Tuioti-Mariner (appendicitis) was on the sideline. Wednesday was his first day of activity.
  • Deon Hollins switched his red no-contact jersey for a blue jersey, which is obviously a good sign as he’s working his way back from a concussion.
  • No sign of Cameron Griffin (concussion) at practice.
  • Alex Van Dyke and Ishmael Adams worked out on the sideline. Unsure for sure of the injuries. For what it’s worth, Van Dyke was sidelined for a few days with a groin injury during training camp in San Bernardino.
  • Marcus Rios (foot), Paco Perez (knee) and Marcus Moore (back) were also on the sideline.
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Video: J.J. Molson, Austin Kent, Johnny Den Bleyker

Kicker J.J. Molson talks about his mental preparation for Texas A&M.


Punter Austin Kent talks about his role in helping UCLA turn around its punting struggles.


Long snapper Johnny Den Bleyker talks about how he ended up as a long snapper and what it’s like working with two other freshman specialists.

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Video: Lokeni Toailoa and Boss Tagaloa

Linebacker Lokeni Toailoa talks about the freshman class, competing with Isaako Savaiinaea and Kenny Young at middle linebacker and the importance of enrolling early for spring.


Defensive lineman Boss Tagaloa talks about working with the senior defensive linemen, taking reps with the No. 1 group and how the freshman class is doing.

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