Center Jake Brendel returns as one of UCLA’s six captains in 2015

UCLA has announced its team captains for the 2015 season, and unsurprisingly, center Jake Brendel is one of the six.

The redshirt senior was a captain in each of the past two seasons, and has started in 39 of 40 possible games in his career — only missing the 2014 season opener at Virginia with a sprained knee. Offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch called Brendel “the glue that holds not just the offensive line, but the whole offense together.”

Running back Paul Perkins was voted by his teammates as a captain for the first time, as were cornerback Fabian Moreau, defensive tackle Kenny Clark, and linebacker Cameron Judge.

Fullback Taylor Lagace is serving as a captain for the second straight season.

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UCLA players weigh in on freshman quarterback Josh Rosen

Jim Mora announced last Wednesday that Josh Rosen would be UCLA’s starting quarterback. A day later, Rosen and backup Jerry Neuheisel talked about how they each took the decision.

This week, their teammates shared some of their thoughts.

Linebacker Myles Jack, to Sports Illustrated’s Campus Rush: “Don’t be surprised if Josh wins the Heisman. I believe in Josh. Josh is going to be great. Nobody needs to worry about Josh. … Josh is really a cool guy, very about his business, very serious. I like his swagger on the field. He’s not really rattled. Like you can run your mouth at him and he’ll just kind of look at you and smile.”

Center Jake Brendel: “There’s spurts of greatness in him. There’s spurts in greatness in everyone on this team. The coaching staff must have seen those things and decided to go with him. … He’s very intelligent. That’s one of the great attributes about him. Continue reading

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UCLA camp notes: Injured players could return to practice Monday

» Defensive end Takkarist McKinley suffered a head injury during Wednesday morning’s practice and has not dressed or been out on the field since. Offensive lineman Tevita Halalilo is also suffering from a concussion, but head coach Jim Mora said the true freshman is now asymptomatic.

Both could return as soon as Monday, when UCLA will resume practices on campus in Westwood.

The same timeline goes for both left tackle Conor McDermott (knee) and center Jake Brendel (calf), both of whom have been dressed for practice but held out of team drills. Mora said McDermott, who underwent an MRI on Tuesday, could have participated today if necessary.

Receiver Tyler Scott appeared to pull his groin during a one-on-one drill.

» The quarterback competition finally seems to be shrinking down to one that includes just true freshman Josh Rosen and returning backup Jerry Neuheisel. Redshirt junior Mike Fafaul has only taken third-team reps for the last couple of practices. Continue reading

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UCLA camp notes: Jim Mora berates quarterback Josh Rosen

» UCLA’s practice on Wednesday morning was another uneven one for the offense, with quarterback Mike Fafaul throwing four interceptions in the span of about 10 minutes.

Still, it was true freshman Josh Rosen who got the biggest earful. The five-star quarterback out of Bellflower St. John Bosco was running situational drills at the end of practice when head coach Jim Mora took issue with his sense of “urgency.” Mora yelled at him for a few minutes, telling him he wasn’t in high school anymore before remarking, “The anointed one!”

The coach eventually turned toward reporters and said: “You can tell all your readers! This is why there’s no starter named!”

Rosen did not appear to say anything back. Safety Jaleel Wadood, who also played with Rosen in high school, figured the outburst wouldn’t be a major issue for the quarterback.

“He never gets rattled,” Wadood said. “That’s what I like about him the most. Even when things are going tough, and everything’s not going his way, he’ll find a way to dig it out. He’s a pretty strong kid.”

» Left tackle Conor McDermott (knee) and center Jake Brendel (calf) both dressed for practice today, but spent most of the time working on the exercise bike. The same goes for running back Bolu Olorunfunmi, who had a pack of ice wrapped around his right ankle after practice.

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley left with an undisclosed injury, and was sitting in the medical tent for part of practice.

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