UCLA football 2017 schedule preview: Washington

Chris Petersen led Washington to the College Football Playoff in his third year as the program’s head coach. (Ted S. Warren AP)

UCLA at Washington
Saturday, Oct. 28 | Husky Stadium

Jim Mora once said the head coaching job at Washington was his “dream job.” In 2014, the UCLA head coach passed on the chance to return to his alma mater, which cleared the way for Chris Petersen to take the job. Three years later, Petersen’s Huskies are coming off a College Football Playoff berth and their first conference title in 16 years.

The Huskies (12-2, 8-1 Pac-12 last year) reached the Pac-12’s pinnacle and now are fighting to stay there. UW’s success cost the team four early entrants in the 2017 NFL Draft, including star wide receiver John Ross (ninth overall pick) and second-round defensive backs Budda Baker and Sidney Jones, and two assistant coaches, who were hired by NFL teams.

“To me, it is much harder to stay up near the top than get there,” Petersen told the Seattle Times. “These guys don’t know that, but I do. So that’ll be the next step.

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Josh Rosen named to Walter Camp Award Watch List

UCLA Bruins’ quarterback Josh Rosen fires a pass during the second half against Stanford Cardinal at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena on Saturday, September 24, 2016. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Josh Rosen added his third preseason watch list honor Friday as he was named to the Walter Camp Award Watch List.

Of the 40 players on the list for the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s player of the year, 15 are quarterbacks, including last year’s winner, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. Alabama leads the country with four, followed by three from Ohio State.

Rosen’s three watch-list nominations are tied with linebacker Kenny Young for the most for a UCLA player this year. In all, Bruins appeared on 10 watch lists.

A list of the Bruins included on watch lists:

  • Josh Rosen (Maxwell — best college player; O’Brien — best quarterback; Walter Camp — Player of the Year)
  • Kenny Young (Bednarik — best defensive player; Butkus — best linebacker; Wuerffel — best community servant)
  • Scott Quessenberry (Rimington — best center; Outland — best interior lineman)
  • Austin Roberts (Mackey — best tight end)
  • Jaleel Wadood (Thorpe — best defensive back)
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UCLA football 2017 schedule preview: Oregon

First-year Oregon head coach Willie Taggart greets fans at a men’s basketball game. (Photo: Chris Pietsch, AP Photo)

Oregon at UCLA
Saturday, Oct. 21 | Rose Bowl

Willie Taggart is the first Oregon head coach hired from outside the program since 1976. The transition was a tough one.

In the first three months of the former South Florida head coach’s Oregon tenure, one of his new assistants resigned, another jumped ship for a different Pac-12 school and a strength coach was suspended after several players were hospitalized after intense offseason workouts.

When spring practice finally opened April, Taggart started the process of resurrecting the Ducks (4-8, 2-7 Pac-12 last year) after the team’s sudden fall from grace. In remaking a program only three years removed from a College Football Playoff berth, the 40-year-old head coach and his staff quickly gained the trust of his players.

“They all click on the same page,” sophomore linebacker Bryson Young told The Oregonian of said of the new staff. “I can compare it to last year where it just seemed like everybody was in their separate worlds. (Now) when we go into our individual meetings and then go into our group (meeting), everybody is saying the same thing. They’re all on the same page, which is really good for us as a defense because then we’re all on the same page.”

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UCLA football 2017 schedule preview: Arizona

Brandon Dawkins (13) will battle Khalil Tate for Arizona’s starting quarterback job. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

UCLA at Arizona
Saturday, Oct. 14 | Arizona Stadium

Arizona fell from first in the Pac-12 South in 2014 to fifth in one year, then slid one rung lower in 2016, bottoming out with only one conference win.

The Wildcats (3-9, 1-8 Pac-12 last year) continued to struggle defensively in 2016, but were also had one of the most anemic offenses in the league. Despite leading the conference in rushing, Arizona was the Pac-12’s lowest-scoring team with only 24.8 points.

An unsettled quarterback competition and more shuffling on the defensive coaching staff leave the Wildcats with a lot of questions heading into the season.

“We’ve just got so many unknown guys that I think have the talent and are going to be good enough to win with, but until they do it in a game, you don’t really know,” head coach Rich Rodriguez told the Arizona Daily Star. “I feel good about their attitude. I think we’ve got a bunch of guys who love football. There’s no question we’ll be better.”

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UCLA links: Josh Rosen named to O’Brien Award Watch List

UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) during the UCLA football Spring Showcase on Saturday, April 29, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

UCLA’s Josh Rosen is one of four Pac-12 quarterbacks named to the watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, which honors the nation’s top quarterback.

The SEC had the most nominations for a single conference with six, and the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 each had four on the 30-man watch list. USC’s Sam Darnold, Washington’s Jake Browning and Washington State’s Luke Falk were also named to this year’s watch list.

Before a shoulder injury derailed his sophomore season, Rosen was the first true freshman to be named a semifinalist for the O’Brien Award since USC’s Matt Barkley in 2009. Troy Aikman won UCLA’s only O’Brien Award in 1988.

A list of the Bruins included on watch lists so far:

  • Josh Rosen (Maxwell — best college playerl O’Brien — best quarterback)
  • Kenny Young (Bednarik — best defensive player; Butkus — best linebacker; Wuerffel — best community servant)
  • Scott Quessenberry (Rimington — best center; Outland — best interior lineman)
  • Austin Roberts (Mackey — best tight end)
  • Jaleel Wadood (Thorpe — best defensive back)

Other links:

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