UCLA news and notes from Pac-12 Media Day

Some of the more relative notes from today:

* UCLA head coach Jim Mora said incoming freshman defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy has had a knee issue flare up and he required arthroscopic surgery on his left meniscus on Friday. Mora said he’d miss the first part of training camp, give or take a couple weeks.

* The Bruins are going after some Penn State players, though Mora could not name specifics. Some Nittany Lions have reached out with interested in UCLA. As this is a very fluid situation, Mora said he’s not sure what the timeline on any movement could be.

* Mora said that linebacker Mike Orloff (knee) has taken a medical retirement and confirmed that Wesley Flowers, Joe Roberts, Jared Koster and Anthony Thompson were no longer with the program. He also confirmed the grayshirts of both Lacy Westbrook – who, by the way, is out of the hospital and recovering from a recent health scare – and Eli Ankou.

* I asked Mora about the quarterback situation, does he know the guy and just needs to be convinced or he still needs to see more from all of them, and he answered pretty specifically that it’s more A than B. He has his guy.

* Also, Mora made it pretty clear that Dietrich Riley would not be returning this year, despite recent positive Tweets.

* Player movement notes: Dalton Hilliard is on defense and appears to be staying there, as does Anthony Barr, though Mora wants to see a lot from him.

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Mora on San Bernadino training camp

Jim Mora has made his stance firmly known.

No girlfriends. No friends. No family.

At least for two weeks.

The new UCLA head coach stressed discipline, accountability and toughness at his first Pac-12 Media Day on Tuesday as Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Studios. Step one – or two or three – in the process: bringing his team to San Bernardino for fall training camp.

“My thoughts were very simply that I wanted us to be in an environment where were somewhat isolated as a football team,” Mora said. “It’s important as we start this journey that we know each other very well. At the end of day in camp, some of these guys would be going back to their apartment. I don’t want that. If we’re talking to someone, I want it to be teammate or coach. I don’t want girlfriends there. I don’t want friends there. I don’t want parents there.”

Mora determined early that the program needed an attitude adjustment in order to find success, and a quick glance at the conference’s preseason media poll shows that the Bruins still have a lot of work.

UCLA was selected third in the Pac-12 South Division, two slots behind conference-favorite USC, though the Bruins picked up two first-place votes.

Perhaps a trip to San Bernardino will move them up the rankings.

“Coach has pretty much instilled being accountable to ourselves and our teammates,” said sophomore safety Tevin McDonald, who represented UCLA at Media Day along with senior running back Johnathan Franklin. “That’s something we might have been lacking over the years. We’re trying to be reliable teammates. Be there. Be able to be counted on every Saturday.”

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Pac-12 Media Poll released

NIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – USC is the favorite to win the 2012 Pac-12 Conference football title in a preseason poll of media members who cover the league. The Trojans were listed in the top spot in the South Division by 117 of the 123 voters participating in the poll, collecting 729 points. 102 of those pollsters tabbed the Trojans to come out on top in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Utah was picked to finish second in the South Division, collecting one first-place vote in the balloting for the division race. Arizona State claimed three of the other five first-place votes, with each of those members of the media casting a vote for the Sun Devils to capture the Pac-12 title.

Oregon was picked to win the North Division, garnering 732 points and 117 first place votes, while Stanford, which tallied five of the other six first place votes, was pegged to finish second in this year’s poll. California, predicted by the voters to finish fourth in the North Division, claimed the remaining first place vote.

The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 28 of 51 previous polls, including 11 of the last 12. Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):

NORTH DIVISION
1. Oregon (117) 732
2. Stanford (5) 533
3. Washington 502
4. California (1) 382
5. Washington State 228
6. Oregon State 205

SOUTH DIVISION
1. USC (117) 729
2. Utah (1) 514
3. UCLA (2) 435
4. Arizona 385
5. Arizona State (3) 353
6. Colorado 164
PAC-12 TITLE GAME CHAMPION: USC (102 votes)
Others receiving votes: Oregon (18), Arizona State (3)

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Pac-12 Media Day here

Hey guys and girls,

The start of the season is upon us, as breakfast has been served and it’s time for Pac-12 football media out here at Universal Studios.

The themes of the day:

A third of the conference has new coaching staffs, including UCLA.

Offensive firepower is a little unknown this year as plenty of talent has left the conference the last couple years – where will the stars come from?

What does Jim Mora think about his program’s summer training?

What else do you guys want to know?

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