Eric Kendricks, Myles Jack named Butkus Award semifinalists

UCLA’s Eric Kendricks and Myles Jack were both named among 15 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given each year to the best linebacker in the country.

Kendricks leads the Pac-12 with 93 tackles this season, and is just 43 tackles away from tying Jerry Robinson’s all-time school record of 468. The senior is coming off one of the best games of his career: a 16-tackle performance in the Bruins’ 40-37 win at Colorado that included an interception, as well as three third-down stops to force a punt or a field goal. All but one of his tackles were unassisted.

Head coach Jim Mora called it Kendricks’ best game of the season, adding that the tackle total wasn’t inflated by plays farther down the field. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Eric Kendricks named a Lott IMPACT Trophy quarterfinalist

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UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks has been named a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which former teammate Anthony Barr won a year ago.

The senior is one of 20 players still short-listed for the award, given each season to a top defensive player. The award purports to “give equal weight to personal character as well as athletic performance.”

Seven quarterfinalists hail from the Pac-12, more than any other conference. With 77 tackles this season, Kendricks is on pace to lead the league in the stat for the second time in three years.

Barr — who became a consensus All-American and the No. 9 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft — displayed the award in a ceremony at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 4, during the Bruins’ 30-28 loss to Utah. UCLA received a $25,000 check toward its general scholarship fund.

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UCLA 36, Cal 34: Linebacker Eric Kendricks

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks talked about the defense’s performance in a 36-34 win at Cal, including cornerback Marcus Rios’ game-sealing interception and what it was like to have to constantly defend a short field after three turnovers.

“We’ve got to find ways to make field goals out of those drives,” Kendricks said. “We can’t let them score that easy. I think we have to go back to work on that this week. … We can’t respond like how we did.”

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UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week

After a star performance in UCLA’s 28-20 win over Virginia, linebacker Eric Kendricks was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

The senior recorded a game-high 16 tackles against the Cavaliers, but also made two more highlight plays: forcing a fumble that turned into a 75-yard touchdown return for safety Randall Goforth, and taking back a pick-six of his own a few minutes later.

Despite all that, he didn’t seem satisfied.

“I left a lot of stuff on the field,” Kendricks said Monday. “I can improve every week. I made a lot of little rookie mistakes. … If you watch the film, you’d see that I made some key mistakes in the pass game as far as drops and stuff like that, so I’m gonna get back to it.” Continue reading

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UCLA defense scores three TDs in 28-20 win over Virginia

Charlottesville, Va. >> UCLA’s offense needed 43 minutes to score its first touchdown of the season.

Well, 43 minutes and 58 seconds, to be exact. In the third quarter of the No. 7 Bruins’ 28-20 win at Virginia, quarterback Brett Hundley took the handoff from six yards out, ran into a defender after three or four steps, and carried him the rest of the way. It was marvelous play, the type befitting someone who had graced two Sports Illustrated covers in three weeks this summer.

What didn’t fit the picture was … just about everything else. A team picked to make the inaugural College Football Playoff shouldn’t muster just 26 offensive yards in the second quarter. It shouldn’t have a offensive line that looked like Swiss cheese, even if the group isn’t at full health.

It shouldn’t need its defense to set historical milestones — not in the season opener against a 21-point underdog. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Linebacker Eric Kendricks scouts Virginia offense

Despite finishing last season as the nation’s No. 110 scoring offense, Virginia can at least take solace in its running back corps. Senior Kevin Parks returns as the program’s eighth-leading all-time rusher, and he has a pair of capable backups in Taquan Mizzell and Khalek Shepherd.

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks said the trio looks “shifty,” but stressed that he’ll be watching for hard, downhill runs.

“They’re going to take it to the perimeter a little bit,” Kendricks said. “They’ll have some lead guys pulling for them and stuff like that, but for the main part they’re going to get upfield.”

The senior co-captain also talked about Virginia’s quarterbacks, and what he looks for in opposing offensive lines.

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Jim Mora announces UCLA’s six captains for 2014

» UCLA voted on team captains last Thursday, and Jim Mora announced the picks Tuesday morning. Not a lot of surprises: on offense, quarterback Brett Hundley and center Jake Brendel; on defense, linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa; on special teams, linebacker Ryan Hofmeister and fullback Taylor Lagace.

» Mora was confident that Brendel, who is recovering from an MCL injury, will be ready to play in the Bruins’ Aug. 30 season opener at Virginia.

Cornerback Marcus Rios (migraines) is seeing a specialist today. He missed a number of practices in San Bernardino before returning late in the week for sideline work. Continue reading

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Pac-12 Media Days roundup: Bruins and Trojans and Huskies; oh my!

Photo gallery from Day 2 of Pac-12 Media Days (Andy Holzman/Daily News)

The Pac-12 stretched its annual media event across two days for the first time, In case you missed any of it, here’s a roundup of all the coverage that appeared in Los Angeles News Group newspapers.

Day 1
– Columnist Jill Painter, on the “glitz and glamour” of the Pac-12′s coaches and athletes.
– The Pac-12 returns 10 of its starting quarterbacks … leaving defensive backs somewhat forgotten.
– It’s a high-scoring conference, but its member teams find the end zone in different ways.
Steve Sarkisian does not care that his USC team received just one division vote to UCLA’s 37.

Day 2
– He isn’t the biggest UCLA name, but linebacker Eric Kendricks is ready to play.
– How many good quarterbacks does the Pac-12 have? Not one, not two, not three
– Washington suspended quarterback Cyler Miles, the Pac-12 Networks are going international, and other conference notes.

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Myles Jack leads Bruins on early national awards watch lists

Less than two months stand between now and the start of college football, and the rush of preseason watch lists is starting up.

Unsurprisingly, Myles Jack pops up more than once.

UCLA’s do-it-all linebacker and part-time running back landed on watch lists for both the Paul Horning and Bednarik Awards. Jack was one of five finalists for the former last season, given to the most versatile player in the country.

He is joined on the Bednarik watch list for top defensive player by fellow Bruin linebacker Eric Kendricks.

Quarterback Brett Hundley, whom UCLA is marketing as a Heisman candidate, is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award for player of the year.

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