UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes, Kenny Clark among nation’s top linemen

UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenny Clark were both named one of the nation’s top-five linemen, according to a new ranking created by graduate students at the University of Alabama.

The Schneider Scale is a collaboration with the Football Writers Association of America and meant to serve as a guide in voting for the Outland Trophy — given each year to the nation’s best offensive linemen or interior defensive linemen. Accounting for both team and individual statistics, it scored Vanderdoes and Clark at 155.0 and 147.5 points, good for second and fifth in the country after Week 1.

The ranking only underscores the impact that Vanderdoes’ injury will have on the Bruins. Continue reading

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UCLA will use two players to replace Eddie Vanderdoes

UCLA defensive lineman Matt Dickerson (99) will be one of the two players expected to try and replace Eddie Vanderdoes. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA defensive lineman Matt Dickerson (99) will be one of the two players expected to try and replace Eddie Vanderdoes. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

After losing defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes to a torn ACL, UCLA will attempt to fill the void with two players: redshirt junior Eli Ankou and sophomore Matt Dickerson.

“It’s going to be hard to replace Eddie,” said defensive line coach Angus McClure. “Obviously we all know the type of player he is, the type of force he can be.”

Still, McClure expressed a bit of optimism. Ankou, he said, is one of the stronger guys on the team, and played well in his 20-plus snaps in UCLA’s 34-16 win over Virginia on Saturday. And whereas Ankou is more a of a “bull-rusher,” Dickerson will provide more speed, length and pass rush to the position. Continue reading

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What’s next for the UCLA defense after Eddie Vanderdoes’ ACL tear?

Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes is out for the season after tearing his ACL in UCLA's 2015 season opener vs. Virginia. (Rachel Luna/Staff)

Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes is out for the season after tearing his ACL in UCLA’s 2015 season opener vs. Virginia. (Rachel Luna/Staff)

UCLA rolled through its season opener at the Rose Bowl on Saturday with a 34-16 win over Virginia, but it took a gut punch a day later. An examination revealed that junior defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes had torn his ACL, sidelining the All-Pac-12 honorable mention for the rest of the season.

Here’s a look at what this means for the Bruins’ defense.

How significant is Vanderdoes’ absence?

It’s bad. Entering the season, UCLA’s most indispensable defensive players were linebacker Myles Jack, nose tackle Kenny Clark, and Vanderdoes. He and Clark made up the Bruins’ foundation on the front, which showed in their performance against Virginia. Vanderdoes led the team with eight total tackles and two for loss, while Kenny Clark was right behind him with seven tackles. Take out either of those players, and one of UVa’s first three field goals could have very well turned into touchdowns.

The injury is also a shame because Vanderdoes had just gotten through his first full offseason of football ever. Before this year, the junior had always been held out of year-round football by various injuries — or, when he was in high school, by the fact that he spent the spring playing baseball. Because of that, he was always stuck playing catch-up in terms of his conditioning early on. This year, he entered camp in top shape — only to see his season end less than a full game in.

Who’s going to replace him?

The defensive line depth was a concern for the Bruins this offseason, and although the development of some younger players assuaged that, none of the reserves are currently capable of playing at Vanderdoes’ level. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes to miss season after tearing ACL

UPDATE: Eddie Vanderdoes tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. This is just about the worst news the UCLA defense could’ve gotten in Week 1.

UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes suffered a knee injury on Saturday against Virginia, the severity of which remains unclear.

Head coach Jim Mora said that the junior’s knee had “locked up” on him during the game. Vanderdoes appeared to aggravate it when he lifted up defensive tackle Kenny Clark to celebrate the latter’s first career touchdown catch. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound defender has undergone an examination, and the team is “waiting to see” on the results.

Vanderdoes and Clark teamed up for a dominant performance against the Cavaliers, helping UCLA limit UVa to just 2.9 yards per carry. Even if he is cleared for action, Vanderdoes seems like a likely candidate to sit out on Saturday against UNLV as a precautionary measure.

Safety Randall Goforth, who was tended to by trainers in the second half, is suffering a sore neck and should be ready to practice again on Tuesday.

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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

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