UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich talks about the Bruins’ development, as well as facing Arizona State’s D.J. Foster and Mike Bercovici.
UCLA will lose safety Randall Goforth for the season to shoulder injuries, leaving the Bruins without one of their four returning starters.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Goforth will have the first of two shoulder surgeries this week. The junior had separated his left shoulder during preseason training camp, then separated his right shoulder in UCLA’s 42-35 win over Memphis on Sept. 6.
Since Goforth played in fewer than three contests, he should be eligible for a medical hardship waiver if he sits out the rest of the season. Continue reading
Pac-12 Networks made UCLA the focus of its docu-series “The Drive” this season, and Mora has pointed out numerous times that the film crew has been very unobtrusive in their day-to-day work.
That hasn’t prevented the Bruins from ribbing one another when one of them is featured. The half-hour weekly show usually begins with an individual feature, and the latest subject was center Jake Brendel — a Harley-riding Dallas-area native whose maturity was played up as the show recapped UCLA’s 20-17 win against Texas.
“It’s never good to be that one guy,” Brendel said. “At the same time, it’s something that someone’s got to do. So I guess I’ll take the hit on that one.”
Brett Hundley’s status remains unclear for UCLA’s Thursday night game at Arizona State, but the star quarterback appears to be making some progress.
The redshirt junior dressed for practice again on Sunday. He entered without anything covering his injured left elbow, but was spotted with a brace over it later.
After vowing not to reveal any injury updates until the 7 p.m. kickoff in Tempe, head coach Jim Mora deferred to the team’s medical staff when asked about Hundley.
“All of our players that are out, what we try to do is try to make the best decision for them based on the knowledge that we have,” Mora said. “We depend on our doctors to give us good information. We’ve got the best doctors in America, in my opinion.”
“If they clear him and they say that he can play, just like everybody else, we’ll play him.”
No. 11 UCLA Bruins (3-0) vs. No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils (3-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT, Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, Ariz.)
TV: FOX Sports 1 (Tim Brando, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft)
Radio: AM 570 / SIRIUS 108 (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)
Coach: Remember when Todd Graham looked like the biggest turncoat in college football?
A little more than a year ago, ESPN’s anonymous poll of 92 college football players found that 14 percent said Graham was the last coach they’d want to play for — beating out Lane Kiffin by three percent.
But Graham only needed two seasons to win a Pac-12 South title, endearing himself to the Arizona State fan base and pushing his messy departure from Pitt deeper into the newspaper archives. ASU has compensated him handsomely for that success — paying him around $800,000 in performance bonuses for the 2013 season.
QB Mike Bercovici, Jr., 6-1, 200 — 9/17, 79 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 7 carries, 12 rushing yards
– Once considered Brock Osweiler’s heir apparent until Taylor Kelly won out, Bercovici finally gets his chance to start in the wake of Kelly’s foot injury. He’s not the same type of running threat as Kelly (ASU’s second-leading rusher at 19 carries for 168 yards) but Bercovici has a strong arm and has been in the program for years.
RB D.J. Foster, Jr., 5-11, 205 — 54 carries, 510 rushing yards, 5 TD, 11 catches, 139 receiving yards, 1 TD
– Looks like a workhorse back capable of racking up yards after contact. Averages 216.3 all-purpose yards per game, good for second in the country and one spot ahead of Georgia’s Heisman candidate Todd Gurley. Continue reading
» Greg Bedard looks at the NFL stock of Marcus Mariota, who “may project as the best dual-threat quarterback ever to come out of college.”
» How exactly did Boston College rack up 452 rushing yards against USC?
» Mike Leach’s morning path to his office requires a hike through a garbanzo bean field, which is somehow not surprising at all.
Jerry Neuheisel played the game of his life last Saturday at AT&T Stadium, leading a dramatic 20-17 comeback win against Texas and being carried off the field by his teammates.
With the health of Brett Hundley’s left elbow still a bit unclear, UCLA’s backup quarterback could take the field again at Arizona State next Thursday.
So when he stood in front of reporters on Wednesday, this was one of the first questions he heard: Do you go into this week thinking ‘I’m going to be the guy’? Well, he said, that’s how he and all backup quarterbacks prepare week in and week out — and if they didn’t, they probably wouldn’t do very well as starters. Continue reading
Jim Mora is going to keep Arizona State guessing.
With a week to go until his team visits the Sun Devils at 7 p.m. next Thursday, the UCLA head coach declined to offer any information on quarterback Brett Hundley — or the status of any other injured Bruins. Hundley injured his left elbow during the first quarter of UCLA’s 20-17 win against Texas last Saturday, but was seen entering practice on Wednesday.
A few weeks ago, Mora said that the team had picked a backup quarterback (that he declined to name publicly). On Wednesday, he tried to back off from even that statement. He praised Jerry Neuheisel’s performance against the Longhorns — one in which the redshirt sophomore threw a game-winning 33-yard touchdown pass — but did not commit to him as the next one on the depth chart.
“Just because Jerry went in that game doesn’t mean that’s our backup quarterback,” Mora said. “We’ve never determined who’s No. 2, 3, 4. We’ve got a whole bunch of guys. Next time someone has to go in, it could be Asiantii (Woulard). Heck, Asiantii might start the Arizona State game. Who knows?”
Mora did say he was sure that new JUCO transfer defensive end Takkarist McKinley will play at ASU, and could contribute 10 to 15 snaps.
UCLA’s 2015 schedule was announced on Tuesday night when the Pac-12 released the full conference slate.
Here’s a look at the full schedule:
Sept. 5 — Virginia
Sept. 12 — at UNLV
Sept. 19 — BYU
Sept. 26 — at Arizona
Oct. 3 — Arizona State
Oct. 10 — BYE
Oct. 15 — at Stanford (Thurs.)
Oct. 22 — California (Thurs.)
Oct. 31 — Colorado
Nov. 7 — at Oregon State
Nov. 14 — Washington State
Nov. 21 — at Utah
Nov. 28 — at USC
Note: Presumably to keep the status of Brett Hundley’s injured left elbow under wraps, UCLA has shut down access almost entirely this bye week. Not only are practices closed, but the practice times have not been released.
Q: Did the running game and OL have a breakthrough against Texas which may bode well for upcoming games, or was Texas just gassed at that point?
A: I think it was a legitimate step forward for the offensive line and running back Paul Perkins. UCLA only had a slight edge in time of possession (31:12 to Texas’ 28:48), so I don’t think the Longhorns defense was particularly worn down. Texas’ offense actually held a significant 10:56 to 4:04 edge in the second quarter, then came out of halftime to give up that 58-yard run to Perkins that set up the Bruins’ first touchdown.
But left tackle Malcolm Bunche injured his left foot; he reentered the game, but was seen on crutches afterward. Conor McDermott would likely start in Bunche’s place if needed.
Q: What do you think is going to happen with Asiantii Woulard? Jerry Neuheisel seems to have gotten a firm grip on the backup quarterback spot and Josh Rosen is coming in. Unless he makes a leap soon, is he the odd man out?
A: That’s going to be the big question heading into spring. Right now, Woulard isn’t in an ideal spot. I think Woulard will at least stick around and compete for the starting spot through spring. If he loses out, he could decide to stick around anyway, change positions or transfer — but it’s a bit early to say at this point.
Q: Do you think maybe UCLA has been playing with too much restraint and not enough heart through the first three games and Neuheisel the Younger stepping in uncorked their emotions? Continue reading