VIDEO: Safety Anthony Jefferson prepares for his final season


Safety Anthony Jefferson talked about this year’s UCLA secondary, as well as his status as the group’s elder statesman.

“I’m an old guy now, man,” he said. “It’s my last year. My job is to make sure these guys are all up to speed, making sure their heads are were it needs to be.”

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VIDEO: Safety Anthony Jefferson talks UW offense


UCLA safety Anthony Jefferson talked a bit about Washington’s offense after practice this week.

“They like to stretch the ball vertically, down the field,” he said. “That’s one thing we always have to protect, the deep ball. But they major in it.”

Washington quarterback Keith Price has 41 passing plays of at least 20 yards this season, tied for third in the Pac-12 with Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

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Injury report: Left tackle Simon Goines to return in reserve role

Left tackle Simon Goines will be available against Arizona in a reserve role this Saturday, UCLA coach Jim Mora said. The sophomore injured his right MCL, and was still limping noticeably as he entered practice without pads Tuesday.

Starting running back Jordon James is also expected to play, practicing in full pads. The junior had missed three full games, and took six carries last Saturday before reaggravating his ankle injury. Continue reading

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Anthony Jefferson recalls Kodi Whitfield’s 30-yard touchdown

Kodi Whitfield’s 30-yard touchdown yesterday didn’t just give Stanford a 10-3 lead in the third quarter. The one-handed grab in double coverage locked down the top spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10, and established a strong case as the catch of the year.

“It was a phenomenal catch,” Cardinal linebacker Trent Murphy said. “Once I saw it up in the air, I started jogging out for the PAT because I knew he was coming down with it. We trust those guys to make those plays.”

UCLA safety Anthony Jefferson saw the play differently. Continue reading

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Safety Anthony Jefferson confident in secondary


Safety Anthony Jefferson was pleased with his secondary’s performance in its 34-27 win over Utah, pointing out the unit’s physicality at the point of the ball. He wasn’t aware the Bruins had collected six interceptions until a while after the game, however.

“We’ve been a confident secondary,” said Jefferson, who had two picks. “I just think it’s another game. … We have to go out with the same mindset, the same mentality. If the ball’s in the air, we have to be ballhawks.”

He and his teammates will have plenty of chances on Saturday. Cal throws 55.0 times per game, first in the Pac-12 and second in the country.

“I think it’ll be another good challenge for us,” Jefferson said.

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UCLA 34, Utah 27: Safety Anthony Jefferson


Safety Anthony Jefferson grabbed the first two interceptions of his career Thursday night against Utah’s Travis Wilson, whose 44 pass attempts were the most UCLA has seen this season. “I think it was a great test for us,” Jefferson said. “Utah’s a great football team. They came out, took their shots early, and I think we made our plays.”

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Inexperienced UCLA secondary eager to start season

He’s eager to watch them play.

No matter that the group returns only five games’ worth of combined starting experience, or the idea that most regard the unit as the team’s weakest link. Jim Mora is ready to see his UCLA secondary take on Nevada Saturday night — even if, he joked, he has to peek through his fingers.

“I want them to just be able to play free and not worry,” said the Bruins’ head coach. “Be able to cut it loose and let their skills take over. I think they’ve worked hard enough on the mental part that they know what’s going on, they know the adjustments.

“I don’t want to see them play hesitant.”

After weeks of hitting their own teammates — first in San Bernardino, then back at home in Westwood — the Bruins are itching to finally get on the field against some different uniforms. That may go double for the defensive backfield. Continue reading

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Friday night notes: Eddie Vanderdoes commands double teams

Half a day after his first extended practice, Eddie Vanderdoes started turning heads.

Still working his way back from a tight back, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive end commanded regular double teams — quickly backing up his ranking as the No. 21 recruit in the country. Even when going up against starting offensive linemen Caleb Benenoch and Torian White, Vanderdoes more than held his own.

Vanderdoes looked more bothered by fatigue Friday night than by the back issues (likely a herniated disc) that had sidelined him for over a week. If the injury doesn’t flare up again, the Auburn, Calif., native will be a beast.

– Before practice started, quarterback Brett Hundley tried to drill a fast-moving camera drone from at least 40 yards away. As teammates and coaches formed an eager audience, he missed the target by just two or three feet. Even got plenty and oohs and aahs out of the crowd.

– Devin Fuller is such a difficult cover coming out of the slot. Continue reading

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