UCLA football 2015 season preview: UNLV Rebels

UCLA Bruins at UNLV Rebels
Saturday, Sept. 12 | Sam Boyd Stadium
7:30 p.m. PT, CBS Sports Network

The skinny: The optimist might say that UNLV made one of the offseason’s most daring moves. The cynic might say that the Rebels are throwing anything against the wall to see if it sticks.

High school experience can be an invaluable foundation to a coaching career. Baylor’s Art Briles bounced around Texas high schools for two decades before his first college job. Auburn’s Gus Malzahn did the same in Arkansas for almost 15 years. Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze was once best known for being Michael Oher’s coach at Briarcrest Christian in Memphis.

But none of them jumped directly from preps to become the head coach of an FBS program. On that path, UNLV’s Tony Sanchez is preceded by just three others: Todd Dodge (North Texas), Gerry Faust (Notre Dame), and Bob Commings (Iowa). That trio combined for a 54-100-1 record at those respective schools. Dodge, who was with the Mean Green from 2007-10, is the only one who was still coaching by the time most of today’s college players were born.

Still, Sanchez has an advantage that those three other men didn’t: He is extraordinarily well connected, particularly with a moneyed crowd that poured resources into making Bishop Gorman a powerhouse prep program. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: FCC approval of AT&T—DirecTV merger could help Pac-12 Networks

» The FCC announced on Friday that it has approved AT&T’s takeover of DirecTV, a move that could clear the way for the Pac-12 Networks to appear on the satellite provider. The breakdown in negotiations between DirecTV and the Pac-12 has been arguably the biggest blemish on the resume of commissioner Larry Scott.

Bay Area News Group columnist Jon Wilner examined the issue earlier this week.

» Each Division I school will receive $18.9 million from the NCAA to fund cost-of-attendance-based scholarships and other projects.

» USC’s Adoree’ Jackson wants to win the Heisman and an Olympic gold medal.

» Oregonian columnist John Canzano no longer believes in Dana Altman — and according to emails he obtained, the Oregon administration may not either. Continue reading

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Four-star athlete Rahyme Johnson becomes UCLA’s first 2017 commit

There are still 194 days left until UCLA’s next group of recruits can sign their letters of intent, but Rahyme Johnson is already looking ahead.

With more than 500 days left until his own National Signing Day, the four-star athlete announced his commitment to the Bruins on Friday, becoming the first member of their 2017 class. He’s also ranked a three-star outside linebacker by Rivals.com, as well as one of the top 25 recruits in California.

Johnson has more of a receiver’s build right now at 6-foot-4, 196 pounds, but still has two seasons left at Los Angeles Salesian to fill out his frame.

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What does it take to succeed as a true freshman quarterback?

UCLA will likely turn to Josh Rosen this season, making the St. John Bosco product the latest true freshman to start at quarterback. (Scott Varley/Staff)

UCLA will likely turn to Josh Rosen this season, making the St. John Bosco product the latest true freshman to start at quarterback. (Scott Varley/Staff)

Josh Rosen will almost certainly be UCLA’s starting quarterback this season. How successful he’ll be as a true freshman is another question. To try and answer that, I asked a few players who had started games their first year on campus — from Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor to Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg.

The story is part of our college football preview package, which comes out in magazine form as part of all LANG newspaper editions this Sunday. You can check out some of that content online, including (too early) USC-UCLA predictions and games to watch each week.

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Three-star tight end Jordan Wilson commits to UCLA

UCLA has pulled a tight end recruit from 2,000 miles across the country.

On Wednesday morning, three-star prospect Jordan Wilson committed to the Bruins, picking them over several schools closer to his Nashville home — including Louisville and Missouri. He was also being recruited by some schools, including Oregon State, as a defensive end.

At around 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Wilson is easily the biggest pass-catcher verbally committed to UCLA’s 2016 class. He caught 21 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown as a junior, and was part of a Montgomery Bell Academy roster that won its first Division II-AA state title since 2007.

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