Buffaloes running scared? CAPTION THIS …

The photo was sent to me on Twitter by @UCLAfootballGAL and thought it was pretty neat. So how ’bout we start a little contest with photos and call it “Caption This” and the funniest caption will get some kind of reward whether it’s a special Q&A or something. I’ll leave that up to you.

WINNING CAPTION: Follow me to the sports bar. I don’t get the Pac-12 Network either!
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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Thursday Report: UCLA coach Jim Mora talks about Jeff Baca’s possible return Saturday, Jordan Zumwalt not flying with team and Colorado’s QB.


Hat Tip: BruinSportsReport publisher Edward Lewis

Opening remarks:
I’m like a dang broken record when I come over here. I’ve been trying to think about something different to say to start it out, but it was a good week of practice. They responded well to the challenge of fighting back from a loss. We got a practice tomorrow morning. We’ll just walk through some stuff. A lot of mental stuff to do. These guys now have to go to their first classes of the year. Think the first class is at 9. We’ll see how they adjust to that. It looks like Jeff’s gonna be good to go. I don’t mind reporting that. I don’t mind you guys reporting that either. He was really up beat yesterday. I’ve never seen a smile that big on his face. He came out today. He looked good. He did well. Hopefully they got his headaches under control and he can help us. It’s just good to have a veteran guy like that on our offensive line with the youth that we have. As soon as he gets in there, it’s like (sigh of relief) for the other guys. You want to get to the point where that doesn’t take place, but right now it’s taking place so it’s good to have him back. Jordan Zumwalt is out. He will not make the trip and he will not play. As some of you probably know he got in a scooter accident. He had a pretty wicked gash over his left eye and he can’t put his helmet on yet. So we’re not going to take him on the trip. Other than that we’re in pretty good shape, health wise. Excited to go and put last week behind us and move on.

On whether Zumwalt needed stitches:
He needed a lot of stitches. He had it done here at UCLA Medical Center. They called a plastic surgeon in and they just did a tremendous job on it. Really, he can’t put a helmet on. It reached up enough into his forehead where if he put a helmet on it wouldn’t be good. So he’s got the week off. We’re very hopeful and confident he’ll be back next week.

On how Zumwalt’s absence affect the linebacker position:
The thing that helps us is that Damien Holmes has versatility. He can play inside and outside. You’ll see more of Ryan Hofmeister this week. He’s ready to go. The thing you miss when Jordan’s not out there is his energy. He plays with maniacle effort all the time. But somebody else has to do that, that’s what we’re trying to preach.

On the history of players involved in scooter accidents and any possibility of outlawing them:
I thought about that. I was at the hospital Sunday with Jordan and his family and a bunch of our players. It’s ironic. I’m sitting in the emergency room waiting to see a kid that just got in a scooter accident and five of our kids pull up on scooters. A lot of our athletes and a lot of our students rely on those to get around because parking is such a premium. There’s a lot of demand for these kids to be on time, and I don’t know that i can do that. I think a parent can do that, I think a school can put that in, but I don’t know that it’s the right thing to do. What’s important is they wear helmet. That their helmets are buckled. Jordan had his helmet on. He had his helmet buckled so it didn’t fly off when there was collision. I’m not a big fan of motorcycles and scooters, but it’s kind of the way these kids that live a mile off campus get around. I thought about it but I’m not ready to make that move yet. I pray every day those kids are safe and healthy.

On whether Zumwalt was being reckless:
No. It wasn’t his fault. He was not being reckless. It was just an accident that happened. It happened right here off of campus. I don’t know that anyone was cited. I don’t know the details of what transpired. I know what happened with the version that I got. I didn’t get both sides of the story. But it didn’t sound like he was being reckless at all. He was just going to get some breakfast. Thank goodness he had his helmet on and had it buckled.

On importance of having a good showing after a loss:
It’s critical. I really do. For us as a football team to show ourselves first of all that we can handle adversity. For our fan base to restore any faith that we may have lost by losing on Saturday. Just to get our momentum back. It’s very important. It’ll be tough. It’s tough to win on the road, but it doesn’t matter. We have to go do it. I like the challenge. I think it’s great this early in our development to see where we are and see how we handle it. See if we have the mental toughness.

On balancing with not overstating the case:
Really, when you talk to the team you just make it about yourselves, playing to our standard. We always prepare for the opponent: we run their plays, we run their defense. But when we go in and talk in meetings we’re essentially trying to elevate our standard of play. So we try to keep the focus on us and the way we’re playing rather than the opponent and where we’re playing and what the game means in terms of rankings or bouncing back, things like that. I think if we can do that we can develop some consistencies. The emphasis is we need to play good football, execute and play with great effort.

On Colorado quarterback Jordan Webb:
I watched him again last night, specifically to just watch him. He’s elusive. He throws well on the run to his left, which isn’t easy to do. He’s a guy that when he gets out of the pocket he remains a passer. Like, you’ll see quarterbacks as soon as they get out of the pocket they tuck the ball. So that’s an indication to your secondary that we can come out of coverage and pursue this quarterback. This guy keeps it in his hand and he keeps his eyes down the field and remain a threat to throw the ball. And that makes it hard, plus he’s accurate on the run. I saw him throw a couple across his body when he was moving to his left. He plays with a lot of confidence and he’s not easy to get down. He’s slippery back there.

On Webb, then, possibly running into Anthony Barr if he rolls to his left:
I would hope so. I would hope so. Anthony is a guy … You bring up his name. I don’t know if you guys notice it like we do. I’m sure you do. The guy’s playing tremendous. The level that he’s playing at considering his experience at that position is really amazing. He’s played four games at outside linebacker in his life. I think he told me two plays or two games at Loyola. He’s just doing some amazing things. You sit with him in meetings. He’s in the front all the time. He answers every question first. He knows every adjustment. He’s so committed. It’s really neat to see him grow the way he is.

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Daily News follows L.A. Times instituting new policy to no longer observe UCLA practice starting today.

UCLA coach Jim Mora on Wednesday morning – before the team finished warming up and well before the sun came up – threw the media out of practice because television crews apparently set up too close to Spaulding Field.

Mora grew angry and threw out television crews from ESPN and KTLA-Channel 5 before that same message was relayed to reporters working in the media room. Mora’s wrath extended to UCLA’s sports information staff, which also had to leave practice.

“We had some issues with our SID department,” Mora said when asked why the rest of the media was thrown out. “Today’s practice was closed because we didn’t have proper security.

“I’m not going to jeopardize what we’re doing as a football team because of the incompetence of some people.”

Mora’s move to close practice for the day comes on the heels of a growing feud between the media and Pac-12 coaches, many of whom have instituted a policy restricting writers from reporting on injuries, strategy and position changes observed in practice.

Mora, along with USC’s Lane Kiffin, Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, and Washington State’s Mike Leach, have instituted the policy. Just last week, Kiffin walked away from reporters 30 seconds into his post-practice interview after he was asked about a player’s return to practice from an injury. Not long before that, Kiffin banned a Los Angeles News Group reporter for reporting on a player’s pending surgery. The ban soon lifted.

Mora on Wednesday also said open practice to the media will resume today, but local media outlets made a preemptive strike. In an effort to uphold their journalistic integrity, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles News Group instituted their own policy to not have its reporters observe UCLA and USC practices and attend only post-practice interview availability with coaches and players.

Two weeks ago, when the topic of injury lists was a hot topic, Mora said he would be OK if it became mandated across the Pac-12 and other coaches said they would adhere, too. But Washington State’s Mike Leach has strongly voiced his opposition and told writers in Pullman, Wash., last week reporters seeking injury information “is journalism at its most pitiful level.”

Mora’s policy banning writers from reporting on injuries was instituted the week leading up to the Bruins’ season opener against Rice, but it never made headlines because reporters have adhered to the new policy.

Mora’s recent blowup caught national attention for all the wrong reasons, and it wasn’t the first time, either. He was caught in a firestorm the first week of fall camp when he made sensitive comments in a radio interview regarding UCLA’s safety on campus and said, “We don’t have murders a block from our campus.” Mora later apologized and said he was unaware of two students murdered a few blocks from USC earlier that spring.

And like anything that puts UCLA in a negative light, news of Mora’s displeasure with UCLA media personnel along with kicking out the rest of the media quickly spread across town, prompting Kiffin to open his post-practice interview by telling reporters, “I love my SID.”

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Wednesday Report: UCLA coach Jim Mora explains why he threw media out of practice, says open practices will resume Thursday.


Hat Tip: BruinSportsReport publisher Edward Lewis

UCLA coach Jim Mora
Opening remark:

Excellent practice this morning. I think they’re liking this practice. They might tell you differently when they have to get up at 5:30 but I think when it’s over it’s a good feeling. The energy has been really good at practice. They start classes tomorrow so I think that’ll change the dynamics of everything we’re doing a little bit, so we have to adjust to that. We have to preach to these kids to balance everything out, budget their time right. They have to manage classes, they have to manage studying, they have to manage football treatment, film, all that stuff.

On throwing the rest of the media out of practice:
We had some issues with our (sports information department).

On any worrying about lack of focus once classes start Thursday:
I worry about a lot of things. All we can do is keep impressing upon them to budget their time right and not procrastinate, do the things that you have to do in life. This is their training ground. They’ve gotta learn how to do it. I think we’re really fortunate here because we’re on a quarter system so we get four games in. They kind of had three games to adjust to the morning schedule before they had to go to classes, so I think that’ll help them.

On keeping a special eye on the freshmen:
You know what, having been in summer school that help a little bit. It’s not like they haven’t been in classes. They just haven’t had to budget their time between classes and the football. They had the workouts but they didn’t have practice and games. We have to keep an eye on them, but our academic support staff is unbelievable. I think they’ve done it. I haven’t. Maybe I’m more worried than I should be.

On any concern that throwing media out of practice inflames feud between reporters and coaches elsewhere:
Our practices are open. Our practices will be open tomorrow. Today’s practice was closed because we didn’t have proper security. I’m not going to jeopardize what we’re doing as a football team because of the incompetence of some people.

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Tuesday Report: UCLA coach Jim Mora and QB Brett Hundley after the first early morning practice.

UCLA coach Jim Mora
Opening remark:

It was good to get out here going early. The energy was good. I thought they were really focused in. I just liked the enthusiasm, energy and focus. So, good preparation for Colorado. Good start.

On altitude in Colorado:
I don’t think it really matters. You get in there at 5:30 and the game’s at 4 you’re there less than 24 hours. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I lived there for six years. It never bothered me. I was 6-years-old.

On playing Denver while in the NFL:
All the time. It never was an issue. It never was a problem.

On Kenny Orjioke:
Just great effort in practice. He’s been doing a lot of service team. Just really been doing a good job making it hard on people. What we’re doing is looking for competition every day. We’ll put guys in position and say, ‘OK, whoever practices better this week … ‘ A lot of times with these young guys is gonna be the guy that plays and gets his chance on special teams, and Kenny consistently over the last couple weeks has been that guy. So we gave him a chance and he did a good job on Saturday so he’s earned another chance. He’s a big good looking kid. He runs fast. He’s very, very smart. He’ll do some good things for us.

On expanding Orjioke’s role:
We don’t want to limit what he can do. Right now, he takes his work during practice with the scout team, giving us looks this week for Colorado. You never wanna limit what a kid can do, and the last couple weeks he’s come on, so we’re encouraged by that.

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Adding insult to injury? Oregon State’s Mike Riley treats In-N-Out to celebrate upset win over UCLA.


Above: Oregon State coach Mike Riley stands in front of In-N-Out (Photo: @Coach_Riley)

By now most of you have heard about Oregon State coach Mike Riley living up to his promise of treating his players In-N-Out provided after the Beavers beat UCLA, 27-20. Riley wasn’t kidding, of course, and took to Twitter to post the photo you see above. Riley ordered about 200-plus double-doubles with friends. If I was Riley I’d go baller status, pull out the black card and upgrade the order to include a milkshake and animal style fries. You hear it every time an out-of-towner visits California: first meal, In-N-Out. David Beckham did it, and the first meal that Mila Kunis had after she completed filming “Black Swan” was, you guessed it, In-N-Out. I was a little disappointed when some of the Oregon State beat writers bashed In-N-Out when I overheard them in the press box after the game debating where to grab dinner. Someone even wondered what a Four-by-Four was. As a lifelong Californian I probably should have stepped in and schooled them on the finer things in life. When we were in San Bernardino for fall camp, Edward Lewis and I paid a visit to Five Guys. Good burgers, but nowhere near In-N-Out’s quality. And to anyone who disagrees answer me this: Why is there always a long drive-thru line and a long wait when dining in? I rest my case.

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Notes: Career-best numbers for Hundley, Evans.

Leftover notes from Oregon State-UCLA:

-UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley became the first-ever UCLA QB to throw for at least 300 yards in three straight games. The only other freshmen with three 300-yard plus passing games in one season are Tommy Maddox (1990) and Kevin Prince (2009).

-Hundley’s 372 passing yards are the most for a Bruin since Drew Olson threw for 510 against Arizona State in 2005. They also are the second-most in a single game for a UCLA freshman since Tommy Maddox’s 353 yards against USC in 1990.

-Hundley’s 404 yards of total offense are the most for a Bruin since Olson’s 510 against Arizona State and the fifth-most for one game in school history. It’s also the second most in a single game for a UCLA freshman since Maddox’s performance against USC in 1990.

-Hundley’s 65-yard touchdown pass to Shaquelle Evans is a career long. It’s also Evans’ longest catch and touchdown reception.

-Evans’ 148 yards receiving marked his first career 100-yard receiving game.

-Jerry Johnson had a career-high five receptions for 75 yards.

-Darius Bell’s 34-yard and 29-yard receptions are the longest two catches of his career.

-Jordan Payton caught his first career reception in the first quarter. Took the game’s hardest hit, too.

-Stan McKay recorded his first career interception.

-Anthony Barr forced his second fumble of the season and has a team-best five sacks in his first year ever playing defense for the Bruins.

-Seali’i Epenesa forced the first fumble of his career.

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