Friday Links: Another view on UCLA football

Oregon State rundown: Sneak peek at UCLA The Oregonian

Mike Riley calls Beavers ‘professional practicers’ The Oregonian

Is kicking game a concern for Oregon State? The Oregonian

Oregon State rundown: Defense can’t give up big plays vs. UCLA The Oregonian

Mike Riley says matchup with UCLA tough across the board The Oregonian

Mazzone brings balance to Bruins Eugene Register-Guard

UCLA coach Jim Mora already creating own L.A. story USA Today

Franklin stumping for success as change comes to UCLA

Rose Bowl renovation price tag continues to climb Pasadena Star-News

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ICYMI: Kevin Prince takes on teaching role at UCLA

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You can tell by Kevin Prince’s sideline demeanor that he’s a class act.

He’s not a backup quarterback with arms folded in a huff and a pout stained on his face.

On the contrary, Prince can be found talking to redshirt freshman Brett Hundley, who took his job as UCLA’s starting quarterback, early and often during games and practices and team meetings. Prince gives him advice, but he tries not to bog him down with too much information. He wants him to concentrate on being calm.

Helping Hundley is not painstaking. It’s not done begrudgingly. Prince does so because someone did it for him, too.

“For me, I’ve come full circle,” Prince said. “I was in Brett’s position as a freshman. I took the job from Kevin Craft when he was a senior. What Kevin did for me was so helpful in terms of helping me with my comfort level and doing the best he could to help.

“I think Brett deserves the job. He’s the right guy. He’s the starter, and I’m trying to emulate Kevin Craft and what he did. Pay it forward.”

Things are going well for UCLA in Jim Mora’s first year. The Bruins are 3-0 and host Oregon State in UCLA’s Pacific-12 Conference opener. This will be their third consecutive game at the Rose Bowl.

Prince is a 22-year-old, fifth-year senior, and he’s seen it all at UCLA. From injuries to a quarterback carousel, coaching changes, good play and poor play, the Crespi High product has withstood much. Things are getting good for UCLA now.

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UCLA QB Brett Hundley joined Max & Marcellus on ESPN Radio 710 this afternoon. If you haven’t heard it, you must. The last four minutes are hilarious.

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Max and Marcellus is one of my favorite radio shows. I listen to them after the Mason and Ireland show on my two-hour drive home from UCLA practice almost every day, and I catch Jim Rome and Colin Cowherd on my two-hour morning drive to UCLA. I didn’t catch Hundley this afternoon but I’m glad I found the podcast. It’s one of the funniest interviews you’ll ever hear, and you can tell Hundley had a lot of fun, too. I’ve posted the link for you to listen, but I’ve also transcribed for my friends who would rather read.

Here’s the introduction they gave Hundley:

Imagine you’re a quarterback at UCLA right now. Undefeated. Living in Westwood. Wow, ressurecting a program.The man under center for your UCLA Bruins. No one ever wants to talk to the UCLA quarterback but suddenly UCLA has a real quarterback. A UCLA quarterback hasn’t been interviewed in a public forum in like 15 years, since Troy Aikman.

Finally, the interview begins:

Tell me about the team you’re under center right now:
“We’re keeping our head down and doing what we’re coached to do. We’re a tough-minded team. We’re out here to win some games.”

How did you feel about not playing last year?
“I think everything happens for a reason. Last year I probably still had a little bit more to learn about the college game and still trying to learn everything coming off the injury.”

Were you frustrated by it last year?
“Not really. Ah, yeah I guess actually at first I probably was a little frustrated coming in, but i knew there was a reason behind everything. I wasn’t too frusted. There were some moments where I would have liked to be on the field just to give it a shot to see what the college game is like but I’m gald I got the redshirt year and glad I’m coming in as a freshman.”

Rick Neuheisel recruited you, he’s gone, now Jim Mora is in. What’s the difference?
“Both coaches bring different aspect to the game. Coach Mora is a hard-nosed coach. Hes’ going to get it his way, and he’s a great coach at it for that, and so is coach Neuheisel. Both of them have great techniques when it comes to coaching. Coach Mora just came in and made sure we were focused on everything that we needed to do.”

You talk about the mental toughness. How has that translated in game situations?
“That’s translated a lot. I think it’s a lot better now. If we get in a down situation we don’t just drop from it. We stay level headed and know we can turn any situation into a positive as long as we stay grinding and working.”

USC just lost to Stanford. Not trying to look forward, but what do you think about that USC’s team?
“USC’s a great team. I know they had a tough loss versus Stanford, but right now we’re going to take one game at a time. But when it does come it’s going to be a big game. Every year no matter what the teams have done it’s a huge game. So, I really can’t wait. That’s one of the biggest rivalries in college football.”

Marcellus: Man, I thought Jim Mora was the coach, you sound like you play for Belichick:

Brett: Yeah I know, I know, I know. (laughs).

Max: You were just talking about real locker-room talk versus PC talk. Does that go for college too, Marcellus?

Marcellus: That goes for college, too.

Max: So what’s going on right now with our boy, the UCLA quarterback?

Marcellus: What he’s really saying as soon as SC lost he said, ‘We’re going to smoke them foos this year. That’s what they get for getting 50 on us last year. They can’t even beat Stanford, them nerds.’ That’s what they’re saying over there at UCLA right now.

Max: Is that true yes or no, Brett Hundley?

Brett: Man, I have no comment (laughing).

Ah, that’s my guy! But Brett Hundley you can’t do it by yourself. Talk about your running back Johnathan Franklin:
“Man, my big brother. That’s the man right there. He’s doing his thing out there. God has blessed him with some amazing ability and he’s able to use it. And this line is doing a great job. We have a lot of freshman on this line.”

Can you name your starting five linemen?
“We have Torian (White), left tackle; Xavier (Su’a-Filo), left guard; Jake Brendel, center; (Jeff) Baca, right guard; and Simon (Goines), true freshamn, tackle. Man I have to know them, they’re the ones protecting me so I have to show them some love.”

If you’re football player, what is the pitch that Neuheisel comes in to your living room with that convinces you to sign on the dotted line? How do you wind up at UCLA if you’re a serious football player?
“When he came in he told me he wanted to change UCLA and what happened there previously. All the players wanted to make a change for the better. That’s what I bought into, and talking to the players, that’s one of the reasons that got me here. They all wanted a change, they wanted to be somebody, a big team in college football.

You get to UCLA, you know about the success or lack thereof on the field, and you also get introduced to the culture. What was the one thing that you would tell a someone that’s a confidant of yours, and said, until we change this we wont’ win.
“That’s a hard one. That’s a good question. I can’t say there was anything to change. We just needed to execute the things that needed to be executed. We all just had to do our job and we could have done something.”

You have Oregon State. They beat Wisconsin. Those boys are big. What have you seen on film on Oregon State?
“They’re big and fast. Their D-line is across the board pretty strong, fast and big. And their secondary is really good too. It’s going to be a big challenge for this offense. We just have to come out and execute. We go against big time opponents every week. And Nebraska also had a good defense. When it’s all said and done, football is football, and you just have to come out and play.”

I like the dropping of Nebraska because it’s a little reminder you already beat a ranked team. How long before we wake up and we see in the newspaper and online that UCLA is ranked ahead of USC in the AP poll? It’s only six slots dividing you right now.
“I don’t know. we just have to keep winning one game at a time and hopefully eventually we get up there and past them.”

Marcellus: Man, you pushed him into the Belichick corner. You better stop.

Max: Ok, what’s your favorite movie that you’ve seen recently?

Brett: That’s a good question. I’m telling you we don’t have time to watch …

Max: OK, what’s your favorite TV show?

Brett: Man, we don’t have time for TV. We be watching film. … It’s either ESPN, NFL Network or …

Max: OK, when you got named the starting quarterback did you trade up girlfriends?

Brett: I’m a single man, I’m a single man. Let’s get that straight.

Max: Did you break up with your girlfriend at the time when you got named starting quarterback?

Hundley: Nah, I’ve been a single man since the whole time I’ve been here.

Max: Oh, now you are smart. Round of applause, round of applause.

Marcellus: Damn, I knew UCLA was a good school but they’re teaching well up there.

Max: Whats’ your major, Brett?

Brett: Economics and African-American studies.

Marcellus: Hmmm. How to make black peole money, huh?

Max: He learned that black people never made any money so far.

Marcellus: Whatchu talking about, Obama is the President now.

Max: It’s not like he was rich before he became President.

Marcellus: So what? He is now.

Max: Yeah he will be now, that’s right.

Marcellus: Damn right. … Alright, Brett. I need to know this. This year, right now, is this team for real and should everybody start flocking to Pasadena?

Brett: This team is for real. We’re coming to do some big things this year. We can’t let anybody get in our way. Every week we have to come out and win some games, but this year is different. We have to come out and do some big things.

Can you go undefeated?
“Yeah we can. we have a big opporutnity. Yeah, we can.”

Max: Man I like this kid. We got something out of this kid, finally.

Marcellus: I like you, Brett.

Max: Alright, Brett. We’re going to be checking in with you from time to time. Don’t you give us your high hat as you guys continue to roll.

Brett: Nah, I won’t (laughing)

Marcellus: Keep your pager on, as they say.

Max: There he is ladies and gentlemen, a real quarterback at UCLA right now. Got them undefeated. Got a big game coming up. Oregon State with the win over Wisconsin. Brett Hundley reminds you they already beat ranked Nebraska. Got a good quarterback at UCLA. It’s been a minute.

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Thursday Pracitce: UCLA coach Jim Mora talks about Jeff Baca’s possible return for Saturday’s game.

UCLA coach Jim Mora was in a good talkative mood after Thursday’s practice, giving reporters a rare injury update on lineman Jeff Baca. Mora also was asked about the team’s use of sideline placards, their meaning and the team’s focus this week.

Opening remark:
We had a good week, and I think our guys had a good week. I like where they’re at mentally. In the next 48 hours we have to zoom our focus on what we have to do to get a win on Saturday. I think Jeff (Baca) will probably play. That’ll be a good thing for us. We’re pretty healthy so …

Looks like you’re experimenting with placards:
Oh yea did you see the placards? It’s like a puzzle. You know what, you see more and more teams doing that. If it can help us with our substitution and speed up our operation we’re going to do it. You’ll see a little bit of that on Saturday. I don’t know what they mean. It’s hidden under a vale of secrecy. They won’t let me know, but I think it’ll help our operation offensively.

Has there been concerns about that?
No, we’re just trying to get it better. There hasn’t been concerns but we just want to make it better, so that’s what we’re doing.

So who knows?
Noel (Mazzone) knows. No, I know. The quarterbacks know. It’s funny. You look at those pictures (and ask) ‘Where’d you guys find these pictures and what do they mean?’ But you get a group of graduate assistants in a room a little bit punch strung from spending 80 hours at work that week and it’s 11 o’clock at night … We’ll see how it works. I think it should help us.

So where did they find them and what do they mean?
I don’t know where they found those pictures. I haven’t had a chance to ask those guys.

So what do they mean?
They signify different things. (draws laughs)

Such as?
(laughs) … No, really. Here’s what they signify, and I think it’s interesting. I see teams doing that in college signify things like what personnel group we’re in. or formation or a play or even a sequence of plays. maybe a snap count at times. just different things like that. We’ll see if it works. if it doesn’t work the way we want it to work we feel good not using it. But if it can help us speed a little bit and help our communication then it’s a good thing. We should do a twitter contest each week and see who can figure out in the stands and figure out what the placards mean. And if someone can figure out four of the five or three of the four or two of the three whichever we have the week maybe they can shadow you for a day. (Reporter: Or a contest to get a picture on there). Oh, there you go. That would be pretty neat.

Can you talk about focus for the team, it’s kind of human nature to be satisfied with being 3-0. Did you seen any of that this week?
I don’t, and that’s encouraging. And I think the reason why is Oregon State got their attention very quickly when we turned on the film. They go beat Wisconsin, play great defense. That gets your attention. It being a Pac-12 opener that gets your attention. I sense excitement more than anything, and maybe a greater focus than they’ve had the last few weeks.

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Pac-12 to DirecTV: “We find (your) position baffling.”

There are two sides to every story. And then there’s the truth, right? The Pac-12, I believe, has been the most vocal in the bout pitting the two giants, who at the end of the day are simply fighting for the best way to reach deeper into your pockets. But I digress … On Tuesday, the Pac-12 Conference posted a letter on its website taking another jab at DirecTV, urging fans to call the provider and ask that they carry the network, or simply switch. At the end of the day, regardless of whichever position taken by DirecTV or the Pac-12, it’s the fan that comes out losing. You didn’t get to watch the Houston-UCLA game at home or at a decent bar, and if you did catch it at a bar I can bet you had to search high and low before you found one that actually carried the Pac-12 Network. The Pac-12 encourages fans to find another provider, but the mere idea of switching can bring on a headache in itself. First you have to research the best package for you, you have to think about up-front costs and not to mention the waiting game and setting up appointments for the provider of your choosing. It’s a headache I’m glad I don’t have to think about, but what say you? Who’s side are you on, and do you care at this point as we approach Week 4?

An excerpt:

We find DirecTV’s position baffling. First, the deal we’ve offered DirecTV is fundamentally similar to the deal that has already been accepted by DISH, four of the largest cable companies in the country and more than 40 others. How can a deal that works for all those companies be “unaffordable” for DirecTV, the largest satellite TV provider in the country and the company that built its brand offering every subscriber the “all the sports they crave”?

CLICK HERE to read the letter in its entirety.

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ICYMI: UCLA coach Jim Mora says he’s OK if Pac-12 institutes injury report. Wazzu’s Mike Leach refuses.

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Pac-12 mulls injury reporting The Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard

Washington A.D. would advocate conference-wide injury reporting The Seattle Times

Pac-12 football coaches buzz about injury reports The (Wash.) Spokesman-Review

By Miguel A. Melendez

The subject of injury reports has become a hot topic since USC’s controversial move last week to ban a Daily News reporter after he wrote about an injury that USC deemed to be a violation of its media policy barring reporters from reporting on injuries.

The ban was lifted, but that didn’t stop Washington coach Steve Sarkisian from instituting a similar policy banning writers from reporting on injuries suffered at practice and information that gives away strategy.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott spoke with reporters at halftime of the USC-Stanford game and said he is mulling over the idea on whether they’ll implement a conference-wide mandate for schools to release injury reports.

UCLA coach Jim Mora was asked about Scott’s comments.

“I think whatever they ask us to do we’ll do,” Mora said. “I think teams will conform to that. I think if it’s across the board and everyone is held to the same standard with it, I don’t have a problem with it at all.”

UCLA, USC, Washington and Oregon are among Pac-12 schools that have placed a media policy barring reporters from dispatching reports on injuries and strategy from practice.

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