UCLA football coach Jim L. Mora Mora immediately knew linebacker Isaiah Bowens suffered a serious injury to his right knee earlier this week, so much so that he didn’t even want to watch the replay of the helmet crashing into it.

“I couldn’t even watch the video,” Mora admitted.

And with good reason.

Turns out Bowens suffered a season-ending ACL injury to the knee that will require surgery and a long rehabilitation.

“It’s a bad deal,” Mora said Saturday. “That’s a big loss for us and you just feel for the kid. He was making progress and working hard and it’s tough that had to happen.

“It’s part of the game, but it’s a part you don’t like.”


With three practices left, including the scrimmage, Mora and his staff continues to monitor the quarterback battle headlined by Richard Brehaut, Kevin Prince and Brett Hundley.

And while progress is being made by all the candidates, Mora is in no rush to indicate a winner or even indicate who may be nudging ahead of whom.

“Not that I’m willing to talk about,” Mora said. “Not yet.”

As far as a timetable on making a decision, Mora is not ready yet share any sort of contingency plan.

“I’ll announce it when it’s appropriate to announce it, when it becomes apparent,” Mora said.


Running back Malcolm Jones suffered a ding to his head during Saturday’s scrimmage session but seemed fine afterward.

“You never want to minimize those thinks but I think he’ll be fine,” Mora said.

Meanwhile, linebacker Eric Kendricks was held out of the scrimmage with a sore shoulder and Tevin McDonald was limited due to a hip pointer.

McDonald, incidentally, has caught the attention of Mora.

“That guy, I’ve been around a lot of safeties in my life – including his dad – and this kid is an outstanding football player. Man is he good.”

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Hey Bruins fans this is Vinny Bonsignore I was out at UCLA practice today. Lot of good things going on out here, you can definitely sense a new level of excitement and a new level of focus under the new staff.

Crazy to think some of these kids are learning their fourth new offense and defense, but that is the reality this spring.

It’s probably a good thing most of these guys are used to the process of absorbing new systems, but you have to think they are ready to just settle in on a definite plan on both sides of the ball rather than continually changing things.

Nothing new on the quarterback battle, with Coach Jim L. Mora basically saying everyone is advancing, everyone is improving and everyone is beginning to settle in. And that includes T.J. Fafaul, T.J. Millweard and Jerry Neuheisel, the three newcomers who seem to be keeping pace thus far.

That said, it’s pretty obvious Kevin Prince, Richard Brehaut and Brett Hundley are the primary players in this battle.

Brehaut told me today he loves the new offense being installed, which for him is actually an old offense as he ran it in high school. He says it is an offense that best suits his skill set and he is excited to be going back to a system he is comfortable with.

Also, Mora had some really good things to say about freshman cornerback Marcus Rios, who had a great practice today.

Here are some notes from today:

No doubt the Bruins are making wholesale changes going from Rick Neuheisel to Mora Jr. And if you count back a few years they are essentially installing their fourth new offense and defense over the last five seasons.

“You get used to it, just learning on the fly,” Brehaut said.

Now imagine being Mora Jr., who has essentially only known the NFL during his 20-plus-year career and professional football’s 24/7 devotion to the game.

It’s a whole new ballgame in college, where rules and school commitments limit the time he can spend with his players and slow down the pace in which he can install his offenses and defense.

It’s an adjustment Mora is working through.

“There’s a learning curve in this whole thing for me as well kids,” Mora admits. “The level I came from, there was no school no study table no tutoring.”

Here, with the understanding that school comes first Mora understand less is sometimes more when it comes to the volume of information he throws at his players.

And five practices into his first spring he is trying to pace himself.

“You have to measure yourself and be judicious in what you install and when you install it,” Mora said. “As coaches we all kind of want to be the next guru, the smartest guy to come up with the latest and greatest. But sometimes you do your players a real disservice if you do that. You’ve got to pace it.”


By all rights true freshman cornerback Marcus Rios should be in high school preparing for graduation.

Instead, as an early enrollee his is going through his first spring as a Division-1 college player.

But five practices in, he is already making a move.

“I thought today was by far his best day,” Mora said. “He flashed, he made some plays….today he made a breakthrough and I hope he feels good about it because he deserves it.”

And it’s a far cry from where Rios was just a few days ago when Mora described his as a deer in the headlights,

“But if you can imagine he should be preparing for his senior prom,” Mora said. “And I think the last two or three days he’s made an adjustment.”

Darius bell (WR/quad) Cassius Marsh (DE/ slight ankle) Johnathan Franklin (RB/bruised knee) and Jerry Rice (WR/collarbone) were all held out of practice.


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UCLA center Joshua Smith is a no-go against Arizona tonight at the Honda Center in Anaheim after taking a knee to the head in practice Wednesday. UCLA did not reveal the injury until just before tip off.

Smith’s status for Saturday’s game against Arizona State is unknown.

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UCLA coaching update

Any work being done on the UCLA coaching search is either on the extreme down low or just on hold right now.

Former NFL coach Jim Mora Jr. remains a prime target, according to a source, and while he has been in contact with UCLA officials, not much was happening as of late Thursday.

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero was back in town Thursday after spending the last few days in New York, but if he’s making progress on finding a new football coach he’s keeping things low key.

SMU coach June Jones, who seemed to be in line for the Arizona State job before the Sun Devils abruptly called off talks, could be a fallback option at UCLA. However, a source indicated Thursday he was unaware if Guerrero had reached out to Jones.

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Looks like SMU coach June Jones is either staying put or considering options that no longer include Arizona State,

Our friend Doug Haller at the Tucson Citizen filed a report earlier about Arizona State ending talks with Jones late Wenesday.

Interestingly, the same situation happened Friday when Arizona State called off talks with Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, which led to UCLA moving in on Sumlin as its top choice only to have talks with Sumlin go nowhere.

I have heard Jones’ name linked to UCLA over the last few weeks, and if trhe Bruins are looking for someone to shake things up he is certainly someone capable of doing just that.

I’ll poke around and see if Jones becomes a viable target and get back to you.

Also, I am scheduled to speak to a very, very high-up source either later tonight or tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have something to report pretty soon on where the search might be,

Until then, here is the report on Jones from Arizona:

ASU broke off talks with Southern Methodist University coach June Jones late Wednesday afternoon, a final unexpected turn in a dizzying day of false reports from national and local media outlets saying the deal was done.

Where ASU’s search goes from here isn’t clear, but Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and San Francisco 49ers linebackers coach Jim Leavitt, former head coach at South Florida, could be possibilities. It’s unknown if Houston coach Kevin Sumlin — high on ASU’s list of candidates from the start — remains in the picture.

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