By the numbers countdown to kickoff: 9 days

Eddie Vanderdoes (47) talks with Kenny Young (42) at practice. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Eddie Vanderdoes (47) talks with Kenny Young (42) at practice. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Countdown the days to UCLA’s season-opener against Texas A&M with key stats facing the Bruins this year.

10 receiving touchdowns scored by Thomas Duarte last year, which led the team

9 RETURNING STARTERS ON DEFENSE

UCLA sent two big stars on defense to the NFL, but the Bruins are set to reload quickly with nine returning starters.

Eddie Vanderdoes replaces first-round pick Kenny Clark in the starting lineup after a season-ending knee injury last year. Vanderdoes had never missed a game in his college career prior to his injury and made 19 combined starts during his first two years with the Bruins.

Cameron Judge is set to take a starting outside linebacker role opposite Jayon Brown. Judge, a senior, played in 12 games last season and made one start while Myles Jack left school early to prepare for the NFL Draft and recover from a meniscus injury.

Deon Hollins started 12 games last season as an outside linebacker in UCLA’s 3-4 front, but with the team’s switch to a 4-3, defensive end Matt Dickerson worked mostly with the No. 1 unit during training camp. Dickerson played in every game last year and made one start, against Washington State.

The Bruins could have 10 (or possibly 11) upperclassmen starting on defense:

  • Defensive line: Takkarist McKinley (Sr.), Eli Ankou (R-Sr.), Vanderdoes (R-Jr.), Dickerson (Jr.)
  • Linebackers: Brown (Sr.), Kenny Young (Jr.) or Isaako Savaiinaea (Sr.), Judge (Sr.)
  • Defensive backs: Fabian Moreau (Sr.), Randall Goforth (R-Sr.), Jaleel Wadood (Jr.), Marcus Rios (R-Sr.) or Nate Meadors (So.)

The group’s experience is “golden,” Vanderdoes said.

“That’s the biggest asset we have right now,” he continued. “We’ve been through everything. … We’ve experienced big losses, small losses, everything, so I don’t think anything can faze us at this point. We’ve seen it all, we’ve experienced it all. We know what it’s like.”

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VIDEO: Angus McClure, Kenny Young, Cameron Judge, Tahaan Goodman

Defensive line coach Angus McClure talks about how the team spends down time in San Bernardino getting better, the progression of Boss Tagaloa and the health of Eddie Vanderdoes.


Linebacker Kenny Young about the competition at middle linebacker, the Blue Cut Fire and how San Bernardino helps the team build mental toughness.


Linebacker Cameron Judge talks about how the middle linebacker competition affects him, what he thinks about San Bernardino and his role as a starter right now.


Defensive back Tahaan Goodman talks about what he brings to the group of defensive backs, how the team bonds off the field and his reputation as a big hitter.

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Center Jake Brendel returns as one of UCLA’s six captains in 2015

UCLA has announced its team captains for the 2015 season, and unsurprisingly, center Jake Brendel is one of the six.

The redshirt senior was a captain in each of the past two seasons, and has started in 39 of 40 possible games in his career — only missing the 2014 season opener at Virginia with a sprained knee. Offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch called Brendel “the glue that holds not just the offensive line, but the whole offense together.”

Running back Paul Perkins was voted by his teammates as a captain for the first time, as were cornerback Fabian Moreau, defensive tackle Kenny Clark, and linebacker Cameron Judge.

Fullback Taylor Lagace is serving as a captain for the second straight season.

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Signing Day schedule

Here are some Signing Day announcement times for prospective UCLA commitments.

OL Christian Morris — 9 a.m. PT
LB Isaac Savaiinaea — 9 a.m. PT
QB Asiantii Woulard — 9:30 a.m. PT (ESPNU)
LB Myles Jack — 1 p.m. PT
LB Cameron Judge — 3 p.m. PT (FoxSportsWest)
DT Eddie Vanderdoes — 5 p.m. PT

Morris and Judge might flip to Ole Miss and ASU, respectively, while Vanderdoes is the big fish everyone is chasing. Woulard, Savaiinaea and Jack seem like safe bets for UCLA.

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