» Brett Hundley led UCLA with 748 rushing yards last season, but head coach Jim Mora emphasized at Pac-12 Media Days that his quarterback is — first and foremost — a passer.
“I say that about Brett because people have a tendency at times to see an African-American quarterback and say he’s a runner,” Mora said. “And I hate that stereotype. I always have. I coached Mike Vick. I believe we stereotype those guys started with that, and I don’t want that to happen with Brett.
“I’m going to make sure it doesn’t. It shouldn’t. The guy’s a passer, man, but he can run.”
» Mora smiled when asked about the weather in San Bernardino, where UCLA will start training camp on Aug. 4: “I hope it’s hot. I would just like us to be in triple digits. As long as we’re in triple digits, I’ll be happy.”
Unlike last summer, UCLA will not go down to San Diego for a three-day pre-camp session with Navy SEALs. Mora said the experience helped his team later in the season — particularly when it needed to bond together through the death of receiver Nick Pasquale — but didn’t want to dull the impact by repeating it too often.
» What does two-way superstar Myles Jack have in store for his sophomore season? Not even his teammates are sure.
“I’m excited,” said linebacker Eric Kendricks. “I don’t even know what to expect. He put on 15 (pounds) of muscle. He’s gotten so much stronger. He’s been working hard. That’s all you can ask of a guy. He doesn’t let any of this hype, this circle of fame get to his head.”
» After losing last season due to multiple hip surgeries, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa hasn’t just changed on the field. just b One of the stars of UCLA’s spring game, the former five-star recruit heads into his senior season looking much more relaxed.
“You see him this offseason, he’s just different,” Mora said. “He’s happy, smiling more. He’s engaged. He works his tail off. Owa in the past has sometimes a little bit of a loner. Now he’s around his teammates all the time.”
“It’s not unusual for me — I follow most of these guys on Instagram — to see a picture of Owa and a couple freshmen. They may be receivers or defensive backs. I think he’s really embraced them in this last year. I hope it’s reflected in the way he plays.”
» As most coaches and players did the past two days, Jim Mora lifted up the Pac-12 as the zenith of collegiate quarterbacking.
“I don’t think there is a conference that’s close in terms of the quality of quarterbacks,” He said. “And that’s not to say they’re all going to go be great NFL players, but they’re great college football players. Every week you get ready to play a Pac-12 quarterback, and there is a trait that they have that is unique, that is difficult to defend. And I have great respect for the quarterbacks in this conference.”
» Like so many other college stars these days, Brett Hundley said he took an insurance policy out in case he gets injured this season.
» At the Manning Passing Academy two weeks ago, Hundley roomed with Missouri’s Maty Mauk, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion and Florida State’s Jameis Winston.
No, Hundley said — he and Winston did not talk about what it takes to win a Heisman.
» After starting three true freshman on the offensive line for half of last season, Mora thinks the Bruins should be able to run more effectively. Even without All-American guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, a second-round draft pick, the group should benefit from more experience and the addition of graduate transfer Malcolm Bunche.
“My personality, I’d like to be able to just pound it at people,” Mora said. “We’re getting closer to where we can do that.”
» Not counting the early enrollees NaJee Toran and Zach Whitley, Mora mentioned these freshmen as potential standouts: receiver Alex Van Dyke, defensive back Jaleel Wadood, running back Nathan Starks, defensive end Matt Dickerson and linebacker Kenny Young.
Hundley talked a bit more about Van Dyke, a four-star recruit: “He’s good. I like him a lot. He’s a student of the game. You can tell from day one. He texted me — he’s the first one to come up to me and ask me if I’m ever in the film room.”
As he’s done since spring, Hundley also gave another nod to redshirt freshman Eldridge Massington as a potential breakout receiver.