Video: Josh Rosen, Marques Tuiasosopo, Tom Bradley, Eli Ankou

Quarterback Josh Rosen talks about preparing to start his sophomore season, Texas A&M receiver Christian Kirk and his mustache.


Quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo talks about Rosen, the hottest game he’s ever played in and how the Bruins can handle the crowd noise in Kyle Field.


Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley talks about the defense’s progress during the summer and if crowd noise can be a good thing for a visiting defense.


Defensive tackle Eli Ankou talks about finally getting to start the season, making progress in the run game and trusting his fellow defensive linemen.

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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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Defense under Tom Bradley focuses on stopping run

Defensive lineman Eli Ankou, left, and linebacker Jayon Brown work on their selfie game after practice on Tuesday. The two are two leaders on the UCLA defense this season. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/SCNG

Defensive lineman Eli Ankou, left, and linebacker Jayon Brown work on their selfie game after practice on Tuesday. The two are two leaders on the UCLA defense this season. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/SCNG

Tom Bradley returns for his second year as UCLA defensive coordinator and a main concern for him and head coach Jim Mora will be solidifying the rushing defense.

The defense lined up mostly in a 4-3 formation during Tuesday’s practice and the shift could go a long way toward solving UCLA’s inconsistent performances against the run last year. However, Mora, linebacker Jayon Brown and defensive tackle Eli Ankou maintained that the changes are minor. Ankou called it “window dressing.”

“You go point A to point B,” he said. “You just play the game. I wouldn’t say it’s much different.” Continue reading

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