UCLA game day links: Must-win home stand

UCLA head coach Steve Alford questions a call during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez)

Steve Alford lifts his hand to indicate the direction he thought his team was trending.

Up, his hand points.

That was the direction the Bruins were going before they hit a three-game skid. Now they’re spiraling downward.

Defense and toughness have slipped during the slump, Alford said, and as UCLA begins a crucial three-game home stand Thursday against Cal, the Bruins are desperate for a turnaround to set up the final second half of the conference season.

“They’re valuable lessons for our team to learn that it only takes one game to end up being two games that now it’s three games that it’s happened for us,” Alford said. “We’ve got three losses in those games and we’ve had slippage in toughness and defense in all three of those games.”

UCLA’s game against Cal tips off at 7:30 p.m. PT on Thursday. It will be televised on FS1 with radio on AM 570.

Links to preview the game

Servite WR Delon Hurt flips to UCLA from Utah

Less than one week after backing off a verbal commitment to Utah, Servite receiver Delon Hurt flipped his pledge to UCLA.

The three-star recruit announced his commitment to UCLA on Wednesday, boosting Chip Kelly’s 2018 recruiting class to 15 after the Bruins also received a verbal pledge from junior college safety/linebacker Je’Vari Anderson on Wednesday.

Hurt had 59 catches for 909 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior at Servite, but committed to Utah in December as a defensive back. The 6-foot, 190-pound prospect told 247 Sports he recently got an offer from UCLA assistant coach Jimmie Dougherty as a wide receiver, which prompted him to re-think his Utah commitment after not signing his National Letter of Intent with the Utes during last month’s early signing period.

Jedd Fisch hired by Rams

UCLA interim coach Jedd Fisch talks to his players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against California, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

UCLA will not have an official offensive coordinator on its new staff under Chip Kelly, and its old one will not have to venture too far for his new job.

After one year at UCLA, former offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has been hired as a senior offensive analyst for the Rams, the team announced Wednesday.

Fisch will be working with his eighth team in the past 11 seasons, but for the first time in almost a decade, the 41-year-old assistant and his family don’t have to move across state lines to start his new job.

He has previously talked about his friendship with Rams head coach Sean McVay. Fisch was reportedly in contention for the offensive coordinator job at Missouri before the Tigers hired Derek Dooley.

Fisch, who took over as interim head coach after Jim Mora was fired, was popular among UCLA players for his energetic personality and attention to detail.