For rivalry week, the Los Angeles Daily News published a number of features covering both sides. My biggest piece ran on Thanksgiving, looking at former UCLA linebacker Patrick Larimore and how he has dealt with his post-concussion symptoms since retiring from football:
Nearly four months have elapsed since his PR rep first reached out by email. Mismatching schedules delayed the interview, but so too did a bad stretch of post-concussion symptoms.
Asked if he’s feeling OK right now, Larimore smiles a little.
“What do you mean by OK?”
Although his health is a constant work-in-progress, the Bruins’ former defensive MVP has busied himself with creating MyHeadHurts.co, a shared space for brain injury victims of all kinds.
Some of the other stories we ran this week …
– An amusing rundown of the pros and cons of USC hiring Ed Orgeron as its full-time coach.
– USC quarterback Cody Kessler tries not to take anything for granted.
– UCLA tight end/receiver Thomas Duarte is proud of his Japanese/Mexican heritage.
– Lakers guards Jordan Farmar and Nick Young are great friends despite going to rival schools.
– A brief overview of the UCLA-USC rivalry and its most memorable moments, plus things to do before and after the game.
UCLA maintained its perfect record with a 95-79 win over Northwestern Friday night, closing out the Las Vegas Invitational.
Sophomore Kyle Anderson was named tournament MVP and nearly had his second career triple-double. The point guard finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, four steals and a block. He also made both his 3-point attempts, chipping in to the Bruins’ absurd 13-of-16 rate from downtown. Continue reading
No. 22 UCLA (8-3, 5-3) at No. 23 USC (9-3, 6-2)
Location: Coliseum, Nov. 30, 5 p.m.
TV: ABC (Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)
Last meeting: UCLA beat USC, 38-28, just the Bruins’ second rivalry win in 14 years. Anthony Barr ends Matt Barkley’s college career.
Key storylines: With conference implications out of the picture, USC and UCLA will be playing almost purely for pride. For coaches on both sides, however, the game will reshape the narrative of their respective seasons. Continue reading
– Running back Damien Thigpen (ankle) game-time decision for UCLA this Saturday. Head coach Jim Mora said he liked how tailbacks Jordon James (ankle) and Malcolm Jones (head) have looked in practice, however.
– Cornerback Fabian Moreau (hamstring) is also a game-time decision. If he doesn’t play, the team could slide Anthony Jefferson or Randall Goforth over from safety.
Q: Where does UCLA go from here? This is year two of a great start and poor finish.
A: The season’s not over yet, so you can’t exactly call it a poor finish off of one game. So far, UCLA is still on an upward trajectory under Jim Mora, making its way through what was a much tougher schedule. The Bruins aren’t in the Pac-12 title game, but the rest of the division has also improved. If the team loses its next two games though — then it gets a bit dicey.
Q: Where does Myles Jack fall on the LB/RB Venn diagram this weekend? Continue reading
The Pac-12 announced its all-academic teams today, which you can view in full here. The 11 UCLA players mentioned are listed below.
FB Phillip Ruhl, RS Jr., 3.37, Political Science
C Jake Brendel, RS So., 3.49, Economics (two-time mention)
QB Jerry Neuheisel, RS Fr., 3.56, undecided (special teams selection)
LB Aramide Olaniyan, RS Jr., 3.30, Political Science
Honorable mentions: FB Luke Gane, Rs. Jr.; LB Ryan Hofmeister, Rs. Jr.; LB Eric Kendricks, Rs. Jr.; LB Taylor Lagace, Rs. Fr.; LS Christopher Longo, Rs. So.; RB Steve Manfro, Rs. So.; RB Paul Perkins, Rs. Fr.
– If you sent Washington State athletic director Bill Moos a particularly nasty email last year, you might not be able to buy bowl tickets.
– Trying to earn home field advantage for the Pac-12 title game, Arizona State and Todd Graham are learning to deal with the limelight.