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: Jim Mora, Eddie Vanderdoes, Jayon Brown

Story from Tuesday’s practice about UCLA facing its former offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.

Notebook about the run defense, Eddie Vanderdoes and Jim Mora on Twitter.

Head coach Jim Mora talks about the beginning of prep for Texas A&M, getting out of camp mode and facing his old offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.


Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes talks about his knee, stopping the run and that one play called “Panda.”


Linebacker Jayon Brown talks about getting ready for the season opener, going against Mazzone in the season opener and how the Bruins stay mentally sharp.

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VIDEO: Eddie Vanderdoes and Takkarist McKinley

Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes talks about his return to the field, what happened when he tore his ACL and what it felt like watching his team from the couch last year.


Defensive end Takkarist McKinley talks about his relationship with defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, what it’s like having Vanderdoes back and his goals for this year.

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Training camp day 1: Back to work

UCLA's quarterback Josh Rosen runs a play during practice at the UCLA Intramural Fields in Los Angeles CA on Monday, August 8, 2016. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register)

UCLA’s quarterback Josh Rosen runs a play during practice at the UCLA Intramural Fields in Los Angeles CA on Monday, August 8, 2016. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register)

Here is my main story from the opening day of training camp: Josh Rosen is growing, learning and leading in his second year with UCLA.

Notebook items on Cordell Broadus‘ departure, Eddie Vanderdoes and Fabian Moreau’s returns and Arizona’s tragic loss.

Here are video interviews for the day:

And here are notes and observations from the day: Continue reading

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