What to watch: No. 11 UCLA vs. Cal

As a first-year head coach last season, Jim Mora got a bit of a wake-up call when UCLA fell flat in a 43-17 loss at Cal — a performance for which he blames himself.

Mora still got his team to nine wins in a resurgent season. Sonny Dykes’ Berkeley debut won’t come close to that. Done in by both injuries and a relative inability to play defense, the Bears have become one of the worst teams in the Pac-12. Here’s how the two teams stack up for their 7:30 p.m. Saturday kickoff at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA offense vs. Cal defense

UCLA is averaging 48 points per game (fifth in the country), 561.8 yards (fourth) and a 58.33 percent third-down conversion rate (third). Cal is allowing 524.0 yards per game (123rd) and 45.0 points (124th). Continue reading

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UCLA 59, New Mexico State 13: Anthony Barr


New Mexico State quarterback King Davis III didn’t throw a single pass on his team’s first drive. Yet, the Aggies easily got three first downs, with tailback Brandon Betancourt running for four, six, five, eight, and seven yards, and Davis adding another seven.

“I think we were playing a little too aggressive,” UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr said. “We had a pretty good idea what they were going to. We recognized the formation and what the play-call was going to be, and we tried to jump the gun a little bit.”

The Bruins stuffed the drive soon after that, forcing punt to the 14-yard line. The Aggies finished with 21 first downs, far behind UCLA’s school-record 39.

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Anthony Barr eager to get his first sack


Still without a sack after two games, linebacker Anthony Barr smiled Wednesday when asked if he was frustrated.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I let a couple go last week. They’ll come. I just have to be patient and continue working. I think this week I’ll have a better opportunity.”

Part of reason has been UCLA’s game plan. The Bruins have been more concerned with containing quarterback runs in their first two games rather than. That should change this Saturday against New Mexico State, whose sprint offense has produced 794 passing yards to 306 rushing yards. Continue reading

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Anthony Barr named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week

After a career-high 11 tackles in a 41-21 win at Nebraska, Anthony Barr was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. In addition to logging two of those tackles for loss, the All-American was credited with three forced fumbles.

Oddly, Barr still has not recorded a sack after finishing the 2012 season second in the country with 13.5. Continue reading

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Linebacker Anthony Barr: ‘You can’t keep me off the field’


Linebacker Anthony Barr returned to practice this week from an undisclosed head injury, saying Tuesday that he’s felt 100 percent for “some time now.”

Although he did not disclose the exact nature of his injury beyond being “dinged up,” it’s something he thinks football players probably go through often — even if it goes unspoken. “Players don’t like to talk about that stuff,” Barr said.

After sustaining the injury last week, the All-American linebacker vomited on the sideline before being led out of the facility. Still, he said he never doubted that his status for Saturday’s season opener against Nevada: “You’re not gonna keep me off the field.”

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Linebacker Anthony Barr expected to play in season opener

For the first time in nearly a week, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr dressed in shoulder pads, cleats and a helmet for practice.

After suffering an undisclosed head injury during live drills last Tuesday, the Bruins’ All-American had been sidelined, appearing at practice only as an observer. Head coach Jim Mora did not talk in detail about Barr, but said he expects the star defender to play in Saturday’s 7 p.m. season opener against Nevada.

“He’s good to go,” Mora said.

The rest of what Mora called his first and last injury report of the season: Continue reading

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Anthony Barr still sidelined

Linebacker Anthony Barr returned to practice Thursday afternoon, but did not participate two days after suffering an undisclosed head injury. The All-American wore a jersey, wearing shorts without full pads or cleats. He walked to the locker room midway through the session, returning to the field in less than an hour.

After colliding with a teammate Tuesday night, Barr was led to the sideline by a trainer. He vomited on the turf before being taken out of the facility. He was not present at UCLA’s Wednesday practice. Continue reading

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Bruins mum on Anthony Barr’s injury

Roughly 16 hours after he took a blow to the head, Anthony Barr walked back toward UCLA’s locker room.

Still recovering from an undisclosed injury, he swiped his entrance card and swung open the gray doors. A few dozen feet away, the Bruins’ Wednesday afternoon practice neared its end without him.

“He’s fine,” head coach Jim Mora said. “He’s doing great. He’s good.”

When asked if Barr — who vomited on Spaulding Field Tuesday night — had suffered a concussion, Mora stuck to the script: “He’s doing great.”

“That’s my standard answer. You can just keep asking, and I’ll just keep saying ‘He’s fine.’ … My job is to try and protect against our opponents getting information that can help them win. When it comes to who’s playing where and what strategic things we’re doing, it’s better I play it close to the vest.” Continue reading

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