What goes into filming Pac-12 Networks’ ‘The Drive’?

The second season of “The Drive” premiered on Pac-12 Networks Wednesday night, focusing on UCLA’s training camp at Cal State San Bernardino earlier this month.

For the most part, the 26-minute episode was spent setting the scene for the Bruins’ season: Players get settle into their dorms, and hit the field while mic-ed up coaches bark instructions. Head coach Jim Mora gave a few inspirational speeches, and all was well.

One interesting scene was when cameras followed Mora on one of his runs in the San Bernardino hills. You could hear Mora trying to catch his breath as he waxed on about his coaching philosophy — making for an up-close slice of his daily routine. The Pac-12 Networks crew had noticed Mora jetting toward the trail after practices. When they asked about it, he told them, “You can shoot it, but I don’t think you can keep up.”

To make sure they didn’t fall behind the obsessively in-shape 52-year-old, “The Drive” needed three cameras: one at the bottom of the hills, one mid-way up the trail, and a GoPro strapped to show narrator Yogi Roth. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Linebacker Eric Kendricks scouts Virginia offense

Despite finishing last season as the nation’s No. 110 scoring offense, Virginia can at least take solace in its running back corps. Senior Kevin Parks returns as the program’s eighth-leading all-time rusher, and he has a pair of capable backups in Taquan Mizzell and Khalek Shepherd.

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks said the trio looks “shifty,” but stressed that he’ll be watching for hard, downhill runs.

“They’re going to take it to the perimeter a little bit,” Kendricks said. “They’ll have some lead guys pulling for them and stuff like that, but for the main part they’re going to get upfield.”

The senior co-captain also talked about Virginia’s quarterbacks, and what he looks for in opposing offensive lines.

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Five questions: Daily Progress’ Andrew Ramspacher talks Virginia

Leading up to UCLA’s season opener this Saturday at 9 a.m. PT, who better to scout the opponent than a Virginia beat writer? Andrew Ramspacher of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville took the time to answer five questions about the Cavaliers.

How hot is Mike London’s seat right now? Is there a rough performance bar he has to clear in order to keep his job?

You go 6-20 in your last 26 games, you have declining attendance (see an expected crowd in the mid-40,000s Saturday) and you struggle to handle the quarterback situation, your seat is obviously going to be hot. There’s no doubt Mike London is facing some serious heat this season. It’s his fifth year at UVa and the program has gone in the opposite direction after a 2011 campaign in which he took ACC Coach of the Year honors and guided the Cavaliers to eight wins and a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Virginia administration, despite multiple requests, has chosen to remain mum on the situation, not publicly stating a bar. But I would believe six wins would keep London for a sixth year. Continue reading

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Devin Lucien dedicates season to mother, diagnosed with breast cancer

At the end of his interview session on Tuesday, UCLA receiver Devin Lucien looked into the cameras and offered a heartfelt dedication to his mother, Trina Matthews — who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I’m trying to keep it down, but number one, I wanted to thank everybody for all their support when I was in the hospital,” Lucien said. “And I want to thank everybody for what they’ve been talking about my mom. You know, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, so — trying not to get soaked up — that’s been a lot. And this season is dedicated for moms, point blank.

“And that’s another reason for the (hair)do, because it’s really about to go down and people aren’t understanding — let me look at all the cameras when I say that.”

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Devin Lucien doesn’t care what Greyson Lambert thinks of UCLA defense

Maybe it’s because he’s never started a game before, but Virginia quarterback Greyson Lambert missed a memo.

Slated to start behind center against UCLA on Saturday, the redshirt sophomore laid down some Grade-A chalkboard material this week when asked about the Bruins — who return eight starters to a defense ranked 35th nationally in opponent scoring, and add a potential star in defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa after a year off due to hip surgeries.

“We’ve been going up guys on our defense every day in practice that are just as good, or better,” Lambert told the Daily Press on Monday. Continue reading

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Center Jake Brendel questionable for UCLA’s season opener

A UCLA offensive line that was projected to have experience and depth could be missing a crucial piece this weekend at Virginia.

Center Jake Brendel, a third-year starter, has been limited in practice since injuring his MCL two weeks ago during training camp at Cal State San Bernardino. The junior is a team co-captain who was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention last season.

Asked Tuesday about Brendel’s status for the Bruins’ 9 a.m. PT Saturday kickoff at Virginia, head coach Jim Mora said, “We’ll see.”

It’s a dramatic downgrade from the original diagnosis. Right after Brendel was carted off the field, Mora had expressed hope that the former Freshman All-American would only miss “a day or two.” Even last week, he sounded confident that Brendel would play.

If Brendel is unavailable, UCLA could move starting guard Alex Redmond to replace him. A Freshman All-American last year, Redmond has practiced a bit at center since Brendel’s injury. Backup center Scott Quessenberry could be an option if he recovers fully from a concussion suffered in training camp.

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Pac-12 links: USC’s Josh Shaw (doesn’t) save nephew from drowning

» USC cornerback Josh Shaw sprained his ankles saving his nephew from drowning during a family social on Saturday. Remarkably, Shaw leaped off second-story balcony when he saw the 7-year-old struggling, landing on the concrete before crawling into the pool.

UPDATE: Serious doubts about Shaw’s story have surfaced, and USC is investigating further.

» Anu Solomon officially became Arizona’s starting quarterback, marking the first time since freshmen became eligible in 1972 that the Wildcats will open the season with one behind center.

» A closer look at the running ability of Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly, whom Jim Mora called “tough as nails.” Continue reading

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Under Jim Mora, UCLA taking more pride in special teams

To try and figure out why UCLA has turned around its special teams so dramatically over the last two seasons, senior linebacker Ryan Hofmeister is a good person to ask.

After transferring from Riverside City College, Hofmeister redshirted the 2011 season and saw how the team looked in its final year under former head coach Rick Neuheisel. Last year, he became a second team All-Pac-12 selection on special teams. He was recently voted a team co-captain for the second straight season.

In 2011, the Bruins ranked 76th nationally in opposing punt returns (9.13 yards per game) and 105th in opposing kickoff returns (24.05). Continue reading

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