AssistINTROS: Eric Yarber Pt. 2

Throughout the week, I’ll be bringing you some of the opening words from the new UCLA assistant coaches. A very energetic group, with a common purpose. We’ll start with new UCLA wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, who came to the Bruins from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

JG: How worried are you about your depth?

EY: “In this offense, four guys are going to start, but the backups are going to have to be just as good as them. They’ll be starters themselves. We’ll play so fast, we can’t have a drop off. Those guys have to play at a consistent level and be just as good, fundamentally.”

JG: You talk about instilling confidence, and that’s something that has been sorely lacking, particularly at the wide receiver spot…
EY: “It’s a lot of it, confidence in their abilities. I put them in a situation that everything is game-like, everything is fast. Fast, fast, fast. Then I put them in an environment where they have success. That breeds confidence. I show them it’s working. All these drills we do, let me show you how it carries over into the game.

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AssistINTROS: Eric Yarber

Throughout the week, I’ll be bringing you some of the opening words from the new UCLA assistant coaches. A very energetic group, with a common purpose. We’ll start with new UCLA wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, who came to the Bruins from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jon Gold: How do you approach working with a new group of kids, getting them to trust you?
Eric Yarber: “First and foremost, these kids, I genuinely care about them and when they know you genuinely care, when they trust you, they’ll go through the wall. First and foremost, I want them to know that. I want them to be successful on the field, in the classroom, in society. I start from there. Start with care, then trust, and then some of my NFL background, some of the guys I’ve coached, the proof is in the pudding. They’ll buy into some of the things I’ll be teaching. It has some credibility.”

JG: What have you seen out of the guys you inherit, which isn’t a big group?
EY: Well Devin Lucien didn’t play last year, so I haven’t seen much of him on film. You’ve got Shaq Evans, who played some, looks good on film. Ricky Marvray, who played some; Jerry Johnson who played before last year, doesn’t have a lot of playing film. I like what I see, though. I like the athleticism that we have.”
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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.

Thanks
Jon

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Bruins lost in the Fogg in 65-63 loss at Arizona

TUCSON, ARIZ. –

Tyler Lamb was a step behind and Anthony Stover was a second late. The two UCLA sophomores simply looked lost.

In a Fogg, you could say.

Arizona’s Kyle Fogg drained a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left among mass UCLA confusion to give the Wildcats a six-point cushion, and they eventually closed out the Bruins with a 65-63 win at the McKale Center in front of 14,724.

UCLA guard Jerime Anderson – who matched Fogg’s game-high 20 points – had a chance to tie the game with a second left, but his jump shot clanked off the rim.

It was the Bruins’ fifth road loss by less than three points in 2012.

“This one is very tough,” a sullen Anderson said after the game. “I don’t know if this is the toughest loss we’ve taken all year…but it’s up there.”

Particularly after wrestling the lead away from Arizona midway through the second half and maintaining a slight advantage until roughly four minutes remained.

If not for Fogg, the Bruins might have been in the clear.

Playing to a packed house on Senior Night, the rivalry’s biggest recent barometer turned it on just as UCLA did.

Fogg – who has averaged 20 points in the Wildcats’ four wins over the Bruins since 2009 and just nine points in three losses – scored 11 of Arizona’s 15 points during UCLA’s second-half run, never letting the Wildcats fall behind by more than four.
His free throw with 4:06 left gave Arizona a 54-53 lead and the Wildcats never trailed again.

“As he goes, they go,” Anderson said. “He started getting it going in the second half, getting to the free-throw line, then he started to find some comfortability, hit some threes. He’s a good player, he’s always been a good player.”
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Some Howland press conference notes

* UCLA head coach Ben Howland said today during a conference call that Tyler Lamb would be back in the starting lineup against Arizona. Norman Powell got the start in Lamb’s place against Arizona State after Lamb missed an academic appointment.

* Howland also said that Joshua Smith hurt his back and is unsure of his status for Arizona:
“Josh actually did a good job for us last night. I’m not sure how bad it is, but he tweaked his back today during practice. I don’t know if it’s a muscle spasm or what.”

* Howland on Anthony Stover:
“Anthony played with real good energy. Did a good job with us defensively. He’s enthusiastic. Plays real hard when he gets in there.”

* Howland on Travis Wear’s 20-point performance against Arizona:
“He scored inside. He did a good job scoring using his height advantage inside. We got it to him inside and he got some second shots, but he scored well close to the basket.”

* Howland on why it’s so difficult to play at Arizona:
“No. 1 it’s packed – they do a great job supporting their team. It’s a college town, so it’s the only show in town and they all show up in Tucson to support their Wildcats. All started with Lute Olson and what he built here and it’s years of consistency in terms of being a good team and a good program.”

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UCLA takes care of Sun Devils, 66-57

TEMPE –

For much of UCLA’s Thursday night matchup at Arizona State, the Bruins simply could not stick a fork in the Sun Devils.

UCLA pushed and prodded and Arizona State scratched and clawed.

Ultimately, Lazeric Jones and Joshua Smith finally put the Sun Devils away and the Bruins sauntered to a 66-57 win in front of 5,477 at Wells Fargo Arena.

Jones led all scorers with 20 points in 8-of-15 shooting, taking the game over as the Briuns found Arizona State a tough out. Jones had 13 points in the second half, including 2-of-3 3-pointers, as he finally listed to Ben Howland’s prodding.

Howland said he spoke with Jones about shooting more often, especially after an eight-attempt performance in the Bruins’ three-point loss at St. John’s last Saturday.

“We can’t win without him taking more shot attempts,” Howland said. “Being more aggressive to look to score, especially from three. He was passing up threes to drive to guarded shots. You’re open, you’re a good shooter, you worked your tail off to become a good shooter in the offseason, don’t pass up the threes.”

Jones took over in the second half because, for a while, it did not look like anyone else wanted to.

UCLA went into halftime up just 25-24 on the lowly Sun Devils, done in by Arizona State’s methodical pace. The Sun Devils appeared willing to keep it a low-scoring game for as long as possible, particularly with Smith out of the game with two early first-half fouls.

Smith had eight of his 10 points in 11 second-half minutes, deftly weaving around an Arizona State zone defense that could not find an answer for his size.

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UCLA leads 25-24 at the half

Offensive basketball took a hiatus in the first half of UCLA’s matchup with Arizona State on Thursday night in Tempe.

The Bruins lead the Sun Devils 25-24, with both teams attempting just 25 shots, UCLA making 11 and ASU making 10.

Neither team gained any real momentum, the largest lead for UCLA just six points late in the half.

Perhaps the most interesting news so far has been the Bruins’ rotation, which has changed up a bit. Sophomore guard Norman Powell got his first start, though he struggled with two turnovers and no poitns in 14 minutes. Anthony Stover played nine first-half minutes as Joshua Smith battled foul trouble.

Lazeric Jones leads UCLA with seven points and David Wear added six for the Bruins.

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