Seven Bruins on All-Pac-12 first and second teams

You can find the full list here, but let’s run through UCLA’s selections. (The awards are voted on by Pac-12 head coaches.)

First team: LB Anthony Barr, OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, P Jeff Locke
Second team: RB Johnathan Franklin, OL Jeff Baca, DL Datone Jones, David Allen on special teams
Honorable mentions: DB Andrew Abbott, OL Jake Brendel, WR Shaq Evans, TE Joseph Fauria, QB Brett Hundley, LB Eric Kendricks, DL Cassius Marsh, RS Damien Thigpen

Franklin didn’t make first team despite becoming UCLA’s new career leading rusher, but that’s what happens when you play in the same conference as Kenjon Barner. The big snub here is sophomore Eric Kendricks, who was only an honorable mention despite leading the Pac-12 with 127 tackles for 10.6 per game. ASU’s second-teamer Brandon Magee was second with 9.5 per game (104 overall), but he did have 6.5 sacks to Kendricks’ two.

Eric isn’t as explosive as his brother Mychal, who won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last year, but has a very solid all-around game. He’ll likely be good in the NFL, even if he doesn’t absolutely wreck guys weekly like Anthony Barr.

UCLA got left out of the big conference awards (listed below), but no real issues with any of these picks. Jim Mora had a very good argument for Coach of the Year, but had the tough luck of reviving a program during in a year Stanford upset Oregon without Andrew Luck. Besides, Mora has the chance for a last laugh on Friday.

Offensive Player of the Year: Marqise Lee, USC
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Will Sutton, Arizona State
Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Leonard Williams, USC
Coach of the Year: David Shaw, Stanford

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Bruins leave pads off to start week

UCLA took practice a little easier on Monday. Usually a day off from morning sessions, the compressed week had the Bruins out on the field off a short turnaround — albeit without pads.

“I wanted them to be sharp Friday night,” said head coach Jim Mora. “Wanted them to be healthy, wanted them to be at max efficiency.”

Added defensive end Datone Jones: “I’m pretty sure the team we’re playing against went light contact too. It would be dumb for anyone to come out, knowing we have a big, physical game coming up. Our bodies haven’t fully recovered. That’s a 48-hour period, and we’ll be back in full pads. It’s important so someone doesn’t get hurt.”

Mora played coy on injuries, saying both Simon Goines (knee) and Steven Manfro (ankle) will be “good” and “fine” for Friday.

“What other answer do you expect?” Mora said, laughing.

Manfro has just eight carries for 70 yards this year and has seen more time at receiver and punt return, but with Damien Thigpen out (ACL), the Bruins could use him to spell Johnathan Franklin.

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UCLA falls out of AP poll

The Bruins, No. 11 a day ago, are no longer ranked, an unsurprising development given that they did blow an 18-point, second-half lead against Cal Poly and ending the new Pauley Pavilion winning streak at three. They still somehow held on to 85 AP votes as well as a No. 24 spot in the Coaches Poll — an indication that voters either aren’t watching games or are supremely confident in UCLA’s ability to turn things around.

The drop also appears to be the steepest fall out of the AP poll since Missouri fell from No. 9 in 2011 — but the Tigers slowly dipped out over the course of an entire season rather than a single week.

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Cal Poly 70, UCLA 68: What now?

UCLA was supposed to be a resurgent program this year, but even after just the season’s first five games, most could tell the Bruins were a work in progress. That’s no excuse for losing to a middling Big West team, however — especially not after holding an 18-point lead in the second half.

Quick thoughts moving forward:

Zone defense: Ben Howland said he only wanted to use it “once in a blue moon” earlier this week, but he’ll likely change his mind after the mess that unfolded at Pauley Pavilion Sunday night. He attributed the lapses to lack of athleticism, youth and lack of focus. The first two aren’t easy fixes. The last is a big knock on the coach, who doesn’t have any excuses after reeling in a recruiting class that was ranked either first or second in the nation, depending on where you looked. Players admitted that the effort was lackluster on the backend, especially after the team went on a huge 21-6 run to open the second half.

Howland said in Brooklyn that he wanted to reserve defensive scheme switches to when the team is getting gashed, as it did against Georgia. If the man defense doesn’t become more effective soon, well … No. 25 San Diego State is coming up in less than a week.

Offensive identity: The team is still struggling to mesh together its many disparate pieces. Shabazz Muhammad look out of sorts to start the game, shooting just 3 of 8 in the first half and making just one more shot in the second. He shot 4 of 13 overall, but still finished with a team-high 15 points and 10 rebounds. He admitted he still needs time to find his way in the halfcourt attack, and expressed desire to run more transition basketball.

Kyle Anderson, who didn’t start the game as Howland tinkers with the lineup, took just two shots from the field and missed both. His one point came at the charity stripe, but he did add four assists, five boards, a block and two steals.

It’s a shame Jordan Adams hasn’t found more minutes in the backcourt logjam. He scored 13 points on 10 shots and nearly saved UCLA with a layup at 17 seconds.

A few telling quotes from the night (emphasis my own) …

From Ben Howland: “With 12 min to go, we had the ball up 18 and managed to lose the game.”

From Travis Wear: “We started making dumb plays.”

From Shabazz Muhammad: “It all comes down to rebounding. When it comes down to it, they got a lot of second chances. We got to buckle down and just want to rebound. We didn’t have any intensity out there on rebounding.”

… and “We didn’t play with heart at all on the defensive end.”

Extra note: Howland confirmed Lamb’s transfer was due to playing time. “He didn’t feel like he was going to be able to get the minutes that he wants. We support him and we wish him the very best.”

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Tyler Lamb announces intent to transfer

UCLA junior guard Tyler Lamb will transfer out after the fall quarter, the school announced Sunday morning. A local Mater Dei product, Lamb said he has not yet chosen a new collegiate destination.

Lamb is the latest example of a troubling trend within one of the country’s blue-blooded basketball programs: losing transfers. The more prominent departures include: Chace Stanback and Mike Moser, who averaged a combined 26.5 points and 14.9 rebounds for UNLV last season; Drew Gordon, who averaged 13.7 and 11.1 for New Mexico a year ago; and Matt Carlino, who became BYU’s staring point guard before recording a stat with UCLA.

“We are very sad to see Tyler leave our program,” head coach Ben Howland said in a statement. “He is a great kid, and we have really enjoyed having him play for UCLA. We fully support his decision, and we wish him all the best in the future.”

Lamb started in 32 of 33 games last year, averaging 9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists along the way. He was bumped out of the rotation this year by both health and new talent, playing in just one game after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in his left knee on Oct. 9. However, he wouldn’t have cracked the starting five even without the injury; the additions of Larry Drew II — who transferred from UNC — and freshmen Kyle Anderson, Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams left Lamb to watch his playing time wither as he recovered.

“I would like to thank the University, Coach Howland and his staff for the unparalleled opportunity to have been a part of UCLA’s program,” Lamb said in a statement. “However, I believe that it is in my best interest to find a new destination where I can continue to grow, both as a person and as a basketball player. I am eternally grateful to my coaches and teammates for everything they have given me, and I wish them the best going forward.”

He is also one of several Mater Dei players to leave their original programs. Two players from his high school class, Gary Franklin and Keala King, are already on new teams. Franklin transferred from Cal to Baylor in 2011, while ASU dismissed King in January.

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