Video: Chris Smith, Jaylen Hands, Alex Olesinski after UCLA’s 96-68 win over South Carolina State

Freshman Chris Smith and Jaylen Hands and redshirt sophomore Alex Olesinski talk about the second-half defensive effort against South Carolina State, preparing for another tough road trip to Kansas City and how the team was able to use its size advantage against the Bulldogs on Friday.

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Weekly Q&A: USC answers

UCLA walk-on Sam Handler tries to prevent the USC marching band from stabbing logo at midfield in 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/SCNG)

Brett Hundley was 3-0 against USC based mainly on his running ability. Is Sam Darnold a bigger threat to UCLA than Ronald Jones? Does UCLA play the beef on defense to counter Jones with more playing time for Lokeni Tailoa and Mossi Johnson over Jaleel Wadood or do we want a faster lineup to defend Sam Darnold? Pick your poison?

UCLA has a lot of difficult decisions to make on defense because it really does seem like a “pick your poison” type of game. But this week, Rick Wade and Tom Bradley said they’re going to gamble on Sam Darnold. The defensive end and the defensive coordinator both said the key in this game (and any game) is to stop the run and force the team into a passing situation. So that’s what the Bruins will try to do.

I think Ronald Jones is probably the bigger threat to the Bruins. It was his 60-yard touchdown run on third-and-1 in the second half that signaled the beginning of the end of UCLA in last year’s game at the Rose Bowl. His opportunities could be huge facing a defense as bad as UCLA’s.

I like the physicality with which Mossi Johnson plays, but if Jaleel Wadood is healthy, I expect them to go back to him. For Wadood’s mistakes, the coaching staff still trusts him. I don’t expect them to put Lokeni Toailoa in on defense much, if at all, because his playing time forces Kenny Young out of the middle linebacker spot. We’ve gone over that already here. Continue reading “Weekly Q&A: USC answers” »

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Pac-12 releases 2018 football schedule

UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips (15) reacts after sacking Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond not pictured) in the fourth quarter during a NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. UCLA Bruins won 45-44. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

The Pac-12 released the 2018 football schedule on Thursday with UCLA getting a bye in week four, two Friday conference games and a regular-season finale matchup with Stanford at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA’s biggest nonconference game is at Oklahoma on Sept. 8, the first game in a home-and-home series. It will be the first meeting of the two schools since UCLA’s upset over then-No. 21 Oklahoma at the Rose Bowl in 2005. After a season opener against Cincinnati at home on Sept. 1, the Bruins finish the nonconference slate with Fresno State on Sept. 15 at the Rose Bowl. The Bulldogs, currently in their first year under former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, are in first place in the Mountain West West Division.

UCLA gets an early bye right after the nonconference season and start Pac-12 play on a Friday at Colorado on Sept. 28. The Bruins last played the Buffaloes in Boulder also on a short week after a bye (in 2016 on a Thursday) and lost 20-10 with backup quarterback Mike Fafaul.

UCLA has back-to-back road games in early November, visiting Oregon on Nov. 3 and Arizona State on Nov. 10 before finishing the regular season with home games against USC on Nov. 17 and Stanford on Nov. 24.

UCLA’s 2018 schedule (home games in bold):

Sat., Sept. 1: Cincinnati at UCLA
Sat., Sept. 8: UCLA at Oklahoma
Sat., Sept. 15: Fresno State at UCLA
Sat., Sept. 22: BYE
Fri., Sept. 28: UCLA at Colorado
Sat ., Oct. 6: Washington at UCLA
Sat., Oct. 13: UCLA at California
Sat., Oct. 20: Arizona at UCLA
Fri., Oct. 26: Utah at UCLA
Sat., Nov. 3: UCLA at Oregon
Sat. Nov. 10: UCLA at Arizona State
Sat., Nov. 17: USC at UCLA
Sat., Nov. 24: Stanford at UCLA

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UCLA links: Short-handed Bruins survive in overtime

UCLA center Thomas Welsh #40 drives to the hoop against Central Arkansas forward Tanner Schmit #22. UCLAwon 106-101 in overtime. (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Steve Alford walked into the media room at Pauley Pavilion at 11 a.m. on Wednesday as part of a press conference to address the fates of the three freshmen who were arrested in China for shoplifting last week. Twelve hours, three indefinite suspensions and a 106-101 overtime victory against Central Arkansas later, the UCLA men’s basketball head coach walked out of the media room again after commending the Bruins for surviving the scrappy Southland Conference team in UCLA’s home opener.

“It’s not about excuses, it’s about there’s a game today, there’s a practice today, and we gotta get better. That sounds great, but it’s not always easy,” Alford said. “That’s why I appreciate what they’ve done.”

More from UCLA’s win over Central Arkansas, which was the first opponent to score more than 100 points against the Bruins since 2004.

Other links from a busy Wednesday in Westwood:

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