Lache Seastrunk declares Heisman candidacy, Bruins shrug

In a bit of delicious candor, Baylor tailback Lache Seastrunk recently proclaimed himself the 2013 Heisman winner. From the Sporting News:

“I feel like there’s no back who can do what I do,” he told SN. “I know I’m the fastest back in the country. I know I’m the best back in the country. Nobody’s going to work harder.” …

“I’m going to win the Heisman. I’m going to win it in 2013. If I don’t, I’m going to get very close. I’m shooting for that goal. I will gladly say it.”

Seastrunk, a former five-star recruit and Oregon transfer, certainly could factor into the conversation next year. Through the Bears’ three-game winning streak to end the regular season, the sophomore averaged 166 yards. He has yet to receive more than 19 carries in a game. (He also has one of the best highlights of the season, scoring a 76-yard TD against Oklahoma State after cramping at midfield.) Still, loudly proclaiming a Heisman win is a bit uncouth, albeit amusing. If the Bruins are using the proclamation as bulletin board material, they aren’t really letting on. Here are some reactions from players. Continue reading

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McDonald out for Holiday Bowl, violation of team policy

Starting safety Tevin McDonald did not make the Holiday Bowl trip due to a violation of team policy, head coach Jim Mora said Saturday. The Bruins are practicing at San Diego State leading up to Thursday’s 6:45 p.m. kickoff against Baylor, which kicks off at 6:45 p.m.

The redshirt sophomore is arguably the team’s best defensive back, and is second on the roster with 79 tackles. He leads the team with nine pass breakups and 10 passes defensed, also returning an interception for 50 yards against Houston. As a freshman, he tied the school’s single-game record with three picks against Cal.

“It’s big,” safety Andrew Abbott said of McDonald’s absence. “He’s a big player on our secondary and on our team.”

Added defensive end Datone Jones: “He’s a great player, but someone’s going to have to fill his void. He’ll be really missed, but we’ll have to go on without him.”

Mora said the team will likely fill the void by committee. Senior safety-turned-linebacker Dalton Hilliard will be available after missing the Pac-12 Championship with a shoulder injury, and should see increased time on the field.

True freshman Randall Goforth, who has four starts this year, will likely play a major role as well. Abbott gave him plenty of praise, saying that his confidence has stood out this season. The senior recalled a red zone play against Stanford in the title match that had Goforth matched up alone against All-American tight end Zach Ertz. Continue reading

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Abbott finalist for Burlsworth Trophy

A low-profile, but interesting award given to the nation’s best player who started his career as a walk-on. You can also vote for Andrew Abbott, which counts for five percent during each round. Finalists will be announced on Nov. 27, and the winner on Dec. 3.

Pac-12 All-Academic teams were also released yesterday. Jeff Locke (3.70, Economics) made first team for the third time, and was joined by freshman center Jake Brendel (3.60, Math/Applied Sciences). Steve Manfro (3.20, undeclared) was the Bruins’ lone representative on the second team. As announced in June, UCLA ranked third in academic progress rate among conference members.

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Report Card – DB

Defensive Backs

Grade: A-
High Marks: UCLA’s starting wide receivers barely had any room to breathe, and the offense struggled both short and deep.

Low Marks: Freshman cornerback Andrew Abbott was flagged for pass interference twice and the defensive backs had a tough time taking down some of UCLA’s bigger targets, such as Joseph Fauria and Nate Chandler.

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