What does UCLA think of Virginia quarterback Matt Johns?

A year ago, UCLA’s defense was on pace to shut the Virginia offense out of the end zone completely — until Matt Johns subbed in at quarterback.

After three defensive touchdowns gave the Bruins a 21-3 lead, it was Johns who led back-to-back touchdown drives in his first career appearance, bringing his team to within four points in the third quarter.

“I grabbed him by the arm and asked him, ‘Are you ready for this?'” Cavaliers coach Mike London recalled. “And he grabbed me by my arm and he said, ‘I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life.'”

Johns finished 13 of 22 for 154 yards and two scores, while then-starter Greyson Lambert had 112 yards and two interceptions on 16-of-23 passing. The pair split time through the rest of the season, but Lambert eventually transferred to Georgia and won the starting job there.

UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, outside linebacker Deon Hollins, and safety Randall Goforth each share their thoughts on Johns in the video above.

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Center Jake Brendel returns as one of UCLA’s six captains in 2015

UCLA has announced its team captains for the 2015 season, and unsurprisingly, center Jake Brendel is one of the six.

The redshirt senior was a captain in each of the past two seasons, and has started in 39 of 40 possible games in his career — only missing the 2014 season opener at Virginia with a sprained knee. Offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch called Brendel “the glue that holds not just the offensive line, but the whole offense together.”

Running back Paul Perkins was voted by his teammates as a captain for the first time, as were cornerback Fabian Moreau, defensive tackle Kenny Clark, and linebacker Cameron Judge.

Fullback Taylor Lagace is serving as a captain for the second straight season.

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Caleb Benenoch thinks UCLA has the nation’s best offensive tackles

UCLA’s offensive line has given up 128 sacks over the last three seasons, but that doesn’t mean that the unit is hurting for confidence.

Just ask offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch, who said the line has made a 180-degree turn since the start of last season, when it gave up five sacks against Virginia. When the two teams kick off again this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl, Benenoch will be lining up on the other side of left tackle Conor McDermott — who didn’t move into the starting lineup until halfway through last season.

Asked how he and McDermott stack up against other tackles, Benenoch didn’t hesitate: “How good are we? We’re the best in the country. It’s simple.”

Benenoch was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention as a sophomore. McDermott earn any postseason accolades, but is arguably the Bruins’ best offensive lineman.

Neither one was among Phil Steele’s preseason All-American selections, which go four teams deep. Fourth-year starting center Jake Brendel was UCLA’s lone offensive representative on the list.

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UCLA suspends cornerback Ishmael Adams after arrest

UCLA has suspended cornerback Ishmael Adams indefinitely following the player’s arrest this weekend on suspicion of robbery.

Head coach Jim Mora announced the decision on Tuesday afternoon, several hours after Adams posted $100,000 bail and was released from jail. The redshirt junior will not play in the Bruins’ season opener against Virginia on Saturday, and does not have his first court date until Sept. 22.

Mora said that he and his staff emphasize that players have a responsibility “to represent the highest ideals and moral values,” and that their position on the team puts them under greater scrutiny. Continue reading

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