Building Something Special

UCLA’s special teams have been magnificent the last two weeks, both games featuring key punt returns – Taylor Embree’s 31-yard return against Houston, Josh Smith’ s 45-yard return against Texas – and impeccable coverage on punts, including a forced fumble by junior linebacker Sean Westgate (Oak Park) on a punt early in the second quarter against the Longhorns that led to a quick Bruin touchdown.

“When you play in big games, your kicking game has got to put you in a position to win,” special teams coach Frank Gansz said. “Josh had a big return that put us in good position, the turnovers were huge, the one in early in the game set up the touchdown. The kids take a tremendous amount of pride in special teams, and it starts at the top with Coach Neuheisel; he does a great job of emphasizing it and letting me do what I have to do to get these guys ready to play.”

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Weekly Q&A

Fire away with questions for this week’s Q&A. Please don’t post new questions on the answers section, because I don’t always check the comments. Save them for next week.


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Updated UCLA Hoops TV Schedule

From UCLA:

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA Athletic Department has announced the television coverage and game times for its 2010-11 men’s basketball schedule. It is highlighted by 27 televised games on four different networks, including the possibility of two more games to be televised as wild card selections.

The Bruins will make 19 appearances as part of the Pacific-10 Conference’s television package; 12 national telecasts on Fox Sports Net, two on CBS and six on ESPN. Non-conference highlights of the FSN schedule include the Dec. 18 Wooden Classic game versus BYU at Honda Center as well as 11 Pac-10 league contests. The ESPN selections include all four games of the 2010 Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. Additionally, the Bruins’ second game of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Nov. 16 (versus Pacific or Nevada) will be part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. ESPN will also showcase the UCLA at Kansas contest on Dec. 2 and the UCLA at Arizona game on Jan. 27. CBS has selected the St. John’s at UCLA game on Feb. 5 and the Stanford at UCLA contest on Jan. 22. UCLA has two additional opportunities for exposure when wild card selections will be announced on Feb. 21, 2010.

In addition to the Pac-10′s FSN package, seven more games will be televised locally as part of the Bruins’ package on Prime Ticket and FS West in Los Angeles.

While all but one game time (excluding wild card selections) has been set, the schedule is tentative and subject to change.
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Exclusive chat with Adonis Thomas

Adonis Thomas
has been to Los Angeles three times, but he’s never been on the UCLA campus.

He knows about the Southern California weather, he knows the food and the people. He’s eaten in L.A. and he’s met the people himself.

But this weekend, when he ventures to Westwood for an official visit as the No. 2-ranked small forward and No. 8-ranked overall player – one of three in the country still uncommitted – Thomas wants to really feel what UCLA is about.

“I’m familiar with the program, what they’ve produced, the tradition they have, but I really want to go to see the campus, see the enviornament, the players that are there,” Thomas said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “It gives them a chance to really show me what they have to offer. I want to see the academic side of the school, the style of play, what I can expect if I come here.
“This is my third time in LA, first on campus, so I have to really tune in on the visit.”
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Pac-10 Basketball TV Schedule released

The Pac-10 has released it’s 2010-11 TV Schedule, and UCLA will have 13 games televised at least:

12/18 UCLA v BYU, FSN 2:30
12/31 UCLA v. Washington, FSN 1 p.m.
1/9/11 UCLA at USC, FSN 7:30 p.m.
1/22/11 UCLA v. Stanford, CBS 11 a.m.
1/27/11 UCLA at Arizona, ESPN 6 p.m.
1/29/11 UCLA at ASU, FSN 12:30 p.m
2/2/11 UCLA v. USC, FSN, 8 p.m.
2/5/11 UCLA v. St. John’s, CBS 10 a.m.
2/12/11 UCLA v. Oregon State, 1 p.m.
2/17/11 UCLA at Stanford, FSN 7:30 p.m.
2/20/11 UCLA at Cal, FSN 7 p.m.
2/24/11 UCLA v. ASU, FSN 8 p.m.
2/26/11, UCLA v. Arizona, FSN 1 p.m.

Here’s a full list of the games

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Akeem Ayers named Lott Impact Player of the Week

From UCLA:

NEWPORT BEACH, Ca. – UCLA’s Akeem Ayers has been named the Lott
IMPACT Player of the Week.
Ayers, a 6-4, 252-pound redshirt junior from Los Angeles (Verbum Dei High), had an interception (returned for 13 yards), a forced fumble, a sack and another tackle for a loss in the Bruins’ big upset win over Texas, 34-12.
Ayers has two interceptions this season and six for his career. He is third on the Bruins in tackles with 29 and leads the team with tackles for loss with 5 .
A history major at UCLA, Ayers has been on the Directors Honor Roll.
He plays both linebacker and defensive end in the Bruins’ defensive scheme: “Playing both end and linebacker puts me more in a position where I can make plays all over the field,” he says.
UCLA will receive $1,000 for its general scholarship fund in recognition of Ayers’ achievement.

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UCLA named Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National TotW for win over Texas

DALLAS (FWAA) – With their 34-12 win at No. 7 Texas, the UCLA Bruins (2-2) are the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week for games of the weekend of Sept. 25.

The Bruins forced four first-half turnovers and Johnathan Franklin ran for 118 yards and a touchdown for UCLA. On the day, the Bruins ran for 264 yards against the nation’s No. 2 rush defense.

In winning their second straight game after an 0-2 start, the Bruins registered their first road win against a ranked opponent since 2001. It was Texas’ first home loss since 2007 and its worst home loss under coach Mack Brown.

“It is a huge thrill for our program to come in and play in this environment and play the way we did, and to go in there and feel like now we are maybe getting closer to being a program where we can be counted on and get back to our roots as a top program in the country,” UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said after the game.

Other Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Bowl National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Sept. 25 included:

Toledo (3-1): The Rockets won their third straight road game, upsetting Purdue, 31-20, in West Lafayette, Ind. Austin Dantin threw two touchdown passes and ran for two other scores for the Rockets.

The Football Writers Association of America has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the seventh season that the award has been sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor. Each remaining Monday during the 2010 college football regular season, the FWAA will name the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week.

Founded in 1971, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl has hosted six games that have decided the college football national championship, including three Bowl Championship Series title games. This season, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will host the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 10, 2011 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will be played on Jan. 1, 2011 in Glendale and the Insight Bowl will be played on Dec. 28, 2010 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

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Post-Texas honors

Sean Westgate was named Pac-10 defensive player of the week, and Ryan Taylor was named the conference’s Pac-10 offensive player of the week. It’s the first time an offensive lineman has won the award since an Oregon lineman won the award in 2003.

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