Jim Mora: No plans to redshirt UCLA’s new defensive linemen

UCLA head coach Jim Mora said Thursday that the team doesn’t plan to redshirt its three freshman defensive linemen: nose tackle Ainuu Taua, and defensive ends Matt Dickerson and Jacob Tuioti-Mariner.

All three were four-star recruits who were ranked among the top 35 Californian prospects in 2014.

“The plan is to play all three, and play them a lot,” Mora said. “In this conference, you have to be able to rotate guys through. They’re all good football players. That could change, but right now, we’re planning on playing them all.”

Mora also talked to reporters (VIDEO ABOVE) about the Bruins’ transition from training camp to game prep, the running back depth chart, and the development of Y-receiver Thomas Duarte.

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Mike Tuiasosopo: UCLA special teams has ‘unbelievable standard’

Assistant coach Mike Tuiasosopo walks past player stretches during spring practice on April 7, 2014. (Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Assistant coach Mike Tuiasosopo walks past player stretches during spring practice on April 7, 2014. (Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Officially, Mike Tuiasosopo is in charge of coaching UCLA’s outside linebackers and special teams. Practically speaking, the latter role is more muddled.

Back in April, head coach Jim Mora said that his newest assistant coach was “still feeling his way through special teams.” Under former linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, the Bruins became one of the best kick and punt return coverage units in college football. Tuiasosopo doesn’t have that type of resume.

According to Tuiasosopo himself, special teams is still coached by committee. Continue reading

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Denzel Washington visits UCLA football practice

UCLA receiver Devin Lucien, after taking a picture with actor Denzel Washington.

UCLA receiver Devin Lucien, after taking a picture with actor Denzel Washington.

How’s this for star power?

Denzel Washington visited UCLA’s practice on Wednesday afternoon, and took pictures with several wide-eyed players afterward. During an off-day from training camp last week, the Bruins got an exclusive screening of his new movie “The Equalizer,” which will be released on Sept. 26.

Last season, hip-hop mogul Diddy — whose son, Justin Combs, is a UCLA defensive back — visited a few practices with a multi-car entourage in tow.

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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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