UCLA camp notes: Bruins continue to run three-quarterback rotation

» At Pac-12 Media Days last month, Jim Mora said he wanted to find a starting quarterback “sooner rather than later.” At the start of training camp this week, he said UCLA would reevaluate the position after five or six practices.

But now, six days and seven practices later, the Bruins’ three-headed rotation is still going strong. During Saturday night’s full-pads session, it was Mike Fafaul who got the bulk of the first-team reps, with some also going to Jerry Neuheisel. Josh Rosen worked with the ones sparingly, but threw a pair of touchdowns.

Asked if at least one could be cut from the race by Monday, quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone held to the status quo.

“All three are doing a great job,” Mazzone said. “They’re having a great camp. I think right now, for the past seven practices, right now we still need to see more from all three of them. … We’re going to keep grinding those guys out, see what they can do.”

Mazzone did allow that if he gets a “gut feeling” about a player, then it would be appropriate to give him a larger share of the reps.

But asked if he had such feelings, he said: “I couldn’t tell you that right now.”

» Myles Jack worked a little bit at returner today, but was held out of essentially the entire second half of practice. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Four UCLA players highlight Lombardi Award watch list

As preseason watch lists continue to drown each other out, the Lombardi Award is trying a new way to distinguish itself: including as many names as it can find.

If such lists are intended as a guideline for award voters heading into the season, this committee won’t get much help from the bloated 145-man roster — a number that more than doubles the size of many other watch lists.

So the fact that four UCLA players are on the radar for the Lombardi Award — given to the top offensive or defensive lineman, or linebacker — is not overly surprising. Linebacker Myles Jack (who also made the Butkus Award watch list today) and defensive linemen Kenny Clark and Eddie Vanderdoes are the Bruin defense’s most valuable players. Each of them will finish the season with at least an all-conference nod.

The one UCLA name on the list that could raise an eyebrow is offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch. While the junior has started 22 games at right tackle, he is not as irreplaceable on the line as center Jake Brendel or left tackle Conor McDermott.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA spring camp position review: Defensive line

Enjoy watching Kenny Clark and Eddie Vanderdoes while you can. Both could be signing NFL contracts by this time next year.

UCLA will enter this fall with arguably the best defensive line duo in the conference, a pair that last season combined for 108 tackles, including 11 for loss. All-Pac-12 nods aren’t the most accurate measures of talent and/or performance, but of the eight defensive linemen that made first or second team last fall, Clark is one of two that return. (The other is Oregon’s DeForest Buckner, who like Clark is making NFL mock drafts as a potential first-round pick.) Vanderdoes followed right behind as an honorable mention.

Clark in particular was vital to the Bruins’ run defense, and is about as stout a nose tackle as you can find in college football. Looking back at his impact the last two seasons, it’s incredible that UCLA was considering redshirting him back in August 2013, during his first camp in San Bernardino. There were several times last fall when opposing offenses noticeably directed the ball away from the middle, where he and Vanderdoes stood as imposing obstacles. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Eddie Vanderdoes will not be punished by Pac-12 for punch against Oregon

After reviewing a clip of Eddie Vanderdoes’ punch against Oregon last Saturday, the Pac-12 has decided not to hand out additional punishment to UCLA’s sophomore defensive lineman.

Vanderdoes received a personal foul penalty during the second quarter of the Bruins’ 42-30 loss for punching left tackle Jake Fisher. The flag gave the Ducks 15 yards and an automatic first down on what what would have been third-and-3 at the UCLA 47-yard line. Oregon scored a touchdown five plays later on Marcus Mariota’s 21-yard screen pass to Thomas Tyner, taking a 15-3 lead.

“I made a stupid decision,” Vanderdoes said. “I regret it. That’s not me. I’ve never done that before to a player in a game.” Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page