Linebacker Eric Kendricks talks Stanford match-up


UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks, currently fifth in the Pac-12 with 47 tackles, is eager to face a more physical team in Stanford. The Cardinal are the 116th in the country with 23.5 pass attempts per game, throwing on just 37.6 percent of their offensive downs.

“We’ve got to be able to hit them in the nose,” Kendricks said.

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Eric Kendricks named Lott IMPACT Player of the Week


UCLA inside linebacker Eric Kendricks somehow missed out on all-conference honors last season despite leading the Pac-12 with 150 tackles. The junior hasn’t lost a step so far this fall, twice notching double-digit tackles through four games.

His 13-tackle showing in a 34-27 victory at Utah earned him Lott IMPACT Player of the Week. Kendricks was responsible for one of the Bruins’ six interceptions too.

Linebacker Anthony Barr won the Lott honor after logging 11 tackles and three forced fumbles in UCLA’s win over Nebraska last month. Five of six winners this year have come from the Pac-12.

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Linebacker Eric Kendricks returns to first full practice since spring


After sitting out most of spring and fall camp, UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks returned to 11-on-11 drills Tuesday morning, the most field action he’s seen in nearly four months.

Last year’s Pac-12 leader with 150 tackles, the 6-foot, 228-pound junior said he underwent ankle surgery four weeks ago. The procedure was optional, but he said he didn’t opt for it because of worsening pain. He just wanted to be fully ready for the season.

“It feels great to be back,” Kendricks said. “To be honest with you, I’ve just been taking it easy. I’ve been in the training room. I got a lot of treatment in San Bernardino.”

He said Tuesday that he had been instructed not to disclose the exact nature of the injury.

“It was just a little bit nagging,” he said. “It was annoying. It just wasn’t normal. I know how my body feels when it’s normal, and it was just a little bit off.” Continue reading

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Friday night notes: Eddie Vanderdoes commands double teams

Half a day after his first extended practice, Eddie Vanderdoes started turning heads.

Still working his way back from a tight back, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive end commanded regular double teams — quickly backing up his ranking as the No. 21 recruit in the country. Even when going up against starting offensive linemen Caleb Benenoch and Torian White, Vanderdoes more than held his own.

Vanderdoes looked more bothered by fatigue Friday night than by the back issues (likely a herniated disc) that had sidelined him for over a week. If the injury doesn’t flare up again, the Auburn, Calif., native will be a beast.

– Before practice started, quarterback Brett Hundley tried to drill a fast-moving camera drone from at least 40 yards away. As teammates and coaches formed an eager audience, he missed the target by just two or three feet. Even got plenty and oohs and aahs out of the crowd.

– Devin Fuller is such a difficult cover coming out of the slot. Continue reading

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UCLA’s list of possible concussions swells to seven

Head cases have beset the Bruins this August.

Whether exacerbated by the San Bernardino heat or simply a bit of bad luck, seven UCLA players were sidelined Tuesday with concussion-like symptoms — taking a large chunk of the offensive line.

“I don’t know why we seem to have this rash of head injuries,” Mora said. “I’m not sure how serious all of them are, but we’re going to treat them all as if they’re very serious.”

The line was without redshirt sophomores Kevin McReynolds and Ben Wysocki, as well as true freshmen Alex Redmond, Poasi Moala and John Lopez. Redmond and Wysocki were competing at right guard, while Moala had taken the majority of second-team snaps at right tackle.

The attrition shuffled what was gradually becoming a more stable line. In one first-team iteration, All-American Xavier Su’a-Filo moved from guard to left tackle, while backup center Carl Hulick slid to left guard.

“It kind of affects everything you do,” Mora said. “It affects the development of the depth. It affects our ability to practice the way we’d like to practice. We just have to modify it.”

Added Su’a-Filo: “When we have the luxury of numbers, we can run, one, two, three groups. With these concussions, we’ve just got to take more reps. We’ve got to make do with what we have.”

Defensive Ian Taubler and running back Malcolm Jones are also out with concussion-like symptoms.

OTHER INJURIES

Freshman defensive end Kylie Fitts suffered full-body cramps. Mora said he drank enough water afterward to gain 8.5 pounds. Junior linebacker Eric Kendricks has missed all team activities in fall camp recovering from an ankle procedure. He is expected to play in the Aug. 31 season opener, and may return to practice next week. Continue reading

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Fall camp preview: Linebackers

When it comes to UCLA linebackers, might as well start here:

Anthony Barr announced himself to many national viewers with that hit, even if it was helped by abysmal blocking. It was a microcosm of the UCLA-USC rivalry tilting toward Westwood: Matt Barkley’s college career ended, and Barr made him highlight-reel fodder for a potential Heisman campaign. He’ll likely be a top-ten pick come May, after he’s flooded with various all-conference and All-American honors.

Already a dynamic player, Barr has worked to improve his pass coverage skills and bulked up to an impressive 255 pounds. While he’s easily the team’s best player, his position teammates aren’t shabby either. Continue reading

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UCLA leads Butkus Award watch list

UCLA linebackers Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Jordan Zumwalt all made the 51-man watch list for the Butkus Award. The Bruins tied BYU with three players on the list, the most of any team.

Barr and offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo were also mentioned for the Lombardi Award watch list, though that ballooned to over 100 names. The award is given to a down lineman on either side of the ball, or linebacker who lines up within five yards of the ball.

No UCLA player has ever won either award. The Pac-12′s last Lombardi winner was Arizona State’s Terrell Suggs (2002), and its last Butkus winner was USC’s Chris Claiborne (1998).

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How much NFL talent does UCLA have?

NFL teams drafted four Bruins in April, the highest number for UCLA since 2005. Could the school best that mark next spring?

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller ranked the 25 college programs with the most talent for the 2014 draft. The Bruins made the cut, along with four other Pac-12 teams:

No. 22: UCLA — 7 prospects (among draft-eligible players)
No. 21: Washington — 7 Continue reading

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Three Bruins land on national award watch lists

UCLA is holding its own as college football enters watch-list season, putting three players on the national speculation bubble today.

Quarterback Brett Hundley and All-American linebacker Anthony Barr are two of 75 names on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, presented to the best player in the country. Barr was one of only six defensive players mentioned. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was the last Maxwell winner, with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck taking the honor in 2011.

Barr was also named to the 75-man watch list for the Bednarik Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player. He is joined there by linebacker Eric Kendricks, whose 150 tackles last season led the Pac-12.

Both also made the Lott Trophy watch list in May. Center Jake Brendel was named to the Rimington Award watch list that month.

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Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks named to Lott watchlist

UCLA linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks were both named today to the Lott IMPACT Trophy’s 42-man watch list. The award, founded in 2004, is given annually to a college defensive player for both on-field performance as well as personal character. Eleven Pac-12 players made the latest list, but Cal’s Dante Hughes is the conference’s only winner — though Arizona State’s Pat Tillman and Stanford’s Owen Marecic both received honorary trophies.

Barr ranked second nationally with 13.5 sacks in 2012, and is projected as a top-10 NFL draft pick entering his second season on defense. Kendricks led the Pac-12 with 150 tackles, the most by a Bruin since Jerry Robinson’s school-record 161 in 1978.

The complete watch list is below the jump, with Pac-12 players bolded. Continue reading

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