Jim Mora announces UCLA’s six captains for 2014

» UCLA voted on team captains last Thursday, and Jim Mora announced the picks Tuesday morning. Not a lot of surprises: on offense, quarterback Brett Hundley and center Jake Brendel; on defense, linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa; on special teams, linebacker Ryan Hofmeister and fullback Taylor Lagace.

» Mora was confident that Brendel, who is recovering from an MCL injury, will be ready to play in the Bruins’ Aug. 30 season opener at Virginia.

Cornerback Marcus Rios (migraines) is seeing a specialist today. He missed a number of practices in San Bernardino before returning late in the week for sideline work. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Adarius Pickett talks about switch to running back

True freshman Adarius Pickett switched from cornerback to become UCLA’s newest running back. What makes him different from the rest of the Bruin backfield?

“I like to run inside the tackles,” he said. “That’s where I find I’m best at. I know a lot of our running backs like running outside.”

Full story here.

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VIDEO: Alex Redmond explains changes to his hair and position

UCLA sophomore guard Alex Redmond has switched to center due to offensive line injuries, a shift that has forced him to read defenses and make calls.

“That’s my one tough spot,” Redmond said. “I’ll get up to the line tired as heck — our tempo’s so high this year — and I’m like, ‘All right, that guy over there, guys!’ and then snapping the ball and everything. It’s more responsibility, but it’s fun. I’m glad they trust me enough to put me at center.”

But the more pressing question — what’s with the haircut?

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What did we learn about UCLA in San Bernardino?

Eddie Vanderdoes knows how to make an exit. (@puntingiswinning)

Eddie Vanderdoes knows how to make an exit. (@puntingiswinning)

UCLA escaped the Inland Empire relatively unscathed. Most of its starters are healthy, as are the team’s myriad rotation players. The most notable players sidelined — center Jake Brendel (MCL) and receiver Devin Lucien (head) — are both expected to return soon.

Without a major shakeup anywhere on the depth chart, what did the Bruins learn from their annual two-week training camp at Cal State San Bernardino?

The defense will survive its losses Continue reading

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UCLA receives highest preseason AP poll ranking since 1998

Ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, UCLA will start the season with its highest preseason ranking since 1998.

Pegged as a dark horse candidate for the inaugural College Football Playoff, the Bruins matched the hype heaved on them 16 years ago, when voters also slotted them in as the country’s seventh-best team. They finished the year ranked No. 8 in the final AP poll, and were undefeated until season-ending losses at Miami and to Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl Game.

UCLA is ranked above USC — slotted at No. 15 — in the preseason poll for the second year in a row. Last season, UCLA opened at No. 21 while the Trojans were No. 24. The crosstown rivals finished the year ranked 16th and 19th.

Florida State is ranked No. 1, and received all but three first-place votes. Those went to Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma, ranked second, third and fourth, respectively.

See the full Associated Press preseason poll below: Continue reading

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