Demetrice Martin breaks down UCLA’s veteran secondary

UCLA defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin said this week that he’s coaching the deepest secondary he’s ever had in Westwood — one that will also welcome a highly touted freshman this summer in four-star recruit Dechaun Holiday.

Much of that has been due to Martin’s own recruiting efforts, landing multiple four-star prospects every cycle. This year, the Bruins’ top five defensive backs have 80 combined games of starting experience in this system.

The assistant coach broke down a few of his players.

On cornerback Marcus Rios, who put on more than 20 pounds since the end of last season:

“Now he’s feelin’ a lot more cushion for the pushin’. I always joke with him, say he took his legs off and attached them to his shoulders, put his arms on his legs. He’s able to run into guys, feeling real muscular. … He’s fearless, man.”

On cornerback Fabian Moreau, who struggled out of the gates in what was a heavily hyped junior campaign:

“I call him a Cadillac. He’s a such a smooth, powerful guy, where sometimes he feels like he’s in great position, and then it looks like he relaxes. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Punter Matt Mengel takes unorthodox path to UCLA

Matt Mengel punts during UCLA's 42-35 win over Memphis on Sept. 6, 2014.

Matt Mengel punts during UCLA’s 42-35 win over Memphis on Sept. 6, 2014.

After graduating from Pacific Lutheran High, Matt Mengel considered joining the military. Then he tried out as a wide receiver for Los Angeles Harbor College. Now, he’s UCLA’s starting punter.

Here’s the full story on Mengel’s unusual path to major college football, from Tyler Hendrickson.

Some of the other content in today’s Daily News:
— AT&T Stadium won’t be a distraction for UCLA, but it’s near the top of some Bruins’ must-play-at lists.
— Cornerback Fabian Moreau and the UCLA secondary haven’t played up to high preseason expectations.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

UCLA post-spring position outlook: Secondary

Spring football is done, and over three months still stand between us and the start of UCLA’s third season under Jim Mora — one that comes with national title aspirations and accompanying media glare. This blog will cover the status of each position group moving forward. Next up …

Secondary

UCLA is very familiar with offense-to-defense success. With the last project off to the NFL as a top-ten pick, can the Bruins duplicate that sort of transformation?

Heading into the 2014 season, the best bet on the roster is Fabian Moreau — a former three-star running back who converted to cornerback as soon as he arrived in Los Angeles two years ago. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound soon-to-be junior earned an all-conference honorable mention in just his second year at the position — one in which he started 12 games. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Spring notes: Head coach Jim Mora talks up cornerback Fabian Moreau


— Head coach Jim Mora pointed out much of Fabian Moreau’s progress at cornerback, going so far into the hyperbole as to call him a potential All-American.

While it might still be too early to ink that sort of praise, Moreau is clearly turning himself into UCLA’s best defensive back. Even Mora couldn’t resist; in the span of four minutes or so, Mora went from saying he didn’t notice Moreau much (a good thing) to saying the former high school tailback is a future first-round NFL draft pick.

— Mora also said next Saturday’s “Spring Showcase” will involve a lot more actual football than it did last year. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email