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.

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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

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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

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Injury report: Left tackle Simon Goines fractured fibula

Left tackle Simon Goines is done for the season after fracturing his right fibula. He had surgery done Sunday morning at around 8 a.m., and will not be able to put weight on it for eight weeks.

He had returned to the starting lineup Saturday night after missing four games with an injured MCL, and his absence again forces three true freshmen onto UCLA’s first-string offensive line. The unit had one of its worst showings of the season against Arizona State, allowing nine sacks. Head coach Jim Mora said that after looking at film, quarterback Brett Hundley would have had a hard time avoiding most of those even with an early throw or run.

USC’s defensive front is just as impressive than the Sun Devils’. The Trojans have 32 sacks on the season to ASU’s 34, and are slightly ahead with 82 tackles for loss to 77.

– Receivers Grayson Mazzone and Darren Andrews will both have surgery for torn knee ligaments. Continue reading

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