VIDEO: Adrian Klemm talks Xavier Su’a-Filo’s draft decision, state of offensive line

– Bowl practices have become almost like an extra training camp, which helps an offensive line that has been juggled around through the season. Individual sessions have been bumped up from 10 minutes to about 30 minutes per practice.

– Judging from what offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said Friday, junior guard Xavier Su’a-Filo could likely be on an NFL roster this time next year. The All-American is still waiting for his evaluation to come back from the NFL draft advisory board to help him decide whether or not to declare early.

“He knows what I think about it,” the assistant coach said. “You come here to have success after you’re done here. If that’s one year earlier, he needs to go ahead and do that. I don’t want to hold him back from it. I want to see him do well. …

“There’s not much more he can accomplish in terms of accolades. He can sharpen up some things, but if he comes out and he’s the first or second guard taken, I think it’s a no-brainer.” Continue reading

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Bruins honored on Pac-12 All-Academic teams

The Pac-12 announced its all-academic teams today, which you can view in full here. The 11 UCLA players mentioned are listed below.

First team
FB Phillip Ruhl, RS Jr., 3.37, Political Science
C Jake Brendel, RS So., 3.49, Economics (two-time mention)
QB Jerry Neuheisel, RS Fr., 3.56, undecided (special teams selection)

Second team
LB Aramide Olaniyan, RS Jr., 3.30, Political Science

Honorable mentions: FB Luke Gane, Rs. Jr.; LB Ryan Hofmeister, Rs. Jr.; LB Eric Kendricks, Rs. Jr.; LB Taylor Lagace, Rs. Fr.; LS Christopher Longo, Rs. So.; RB Steve Manfro, Rs. So.; RB Paul Perkins, Rs. Fr.

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At a glance: No. 12 UCLA at No. 2 Oregon

No. 12 UCLA (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) at No. 2 Oregon (7-0, 4-0)
Location:
Autzen Stadium, Oct. 26, 4 p.m.
TV: ESPN (Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)
Radio: 570 AM (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)

Last meeting: An already-fired Rick Neuheisel coached his final game, a spot in the 2011 Pac-12 Championship game that came by way of a USC postseason ban. UCLA lost 49-31 against No. 8 Oregon, as LaMichael James rushed for three scores — tying LenDale White with 52 career touchdowns.

He scored one more in a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, taking sole possession of second in conference history.

Key storylines: UCLA is trying to rebound after its first loss of the season, a 24-10 loss at Stanford in which its offense struggled as much as ever in the Jim Mora era. Continue reading

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Phil Steele names eight Bruins midseason All-Pac-12

In the mood for a round of meaningless-but-encouraging awards? Have some midseason All-Pac-12 team mentions, courtesy of college football guru Phil Steele.

Steele named eight UCLA players to his all-conference squads, with outside linebacker Anthony Barr and left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo leading the way on the first team. The pair also landed on Steele’s midseason All-American team, with Barr earning a first-team nod and Su’a-Filo a second.

Center Jake Brendel and linebacker Eric Kendricks both made the midseason second team. Receiver Shaq Evans and running back Steve Manfro joined the pair there, but earned their spots for contributions at kick and punt return.

Quarterback Brett Hundley ended up on the third team, behind Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Oregon State’s Sean Mannion. Defensive end Cassius Marsh rounded out the UCLA names on the list.

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Center Jake Brendel attributes low snaps to ‘shortcut’


Center Jake Brendel snapped several balls low throughout UCLA’s 34-27 win at Utah, a nagging issue that could have resulted in a game-costing play. Coaches said the use of a silent count as well as playing next to two freshmen made the game more difficult for the redshirt sophomore, but he didn’t use them as excuses.

“I was taking a little bit of a shortcut,” Brendel said. “The snap process, getting my right hand into the block a little too early. (Now, I’m) just making sure I’m taking the full stroke of the snap … instead of short-stroking it.”

He tried to fix the problem as the game went on, but said it took long to overcome the muscle memory.

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Right guard rotation key to improving UCLA’s offensive line


SAN BERNARDINO — After one of the worst practices he’d ever seen, Adrian Klemm was asked how comfortable he felt with his offensive line.

Frustrated, the UCLA assistant coach said he expected to start two or three true freshmen.

After the Bruins started preseason training camp in San Bernardino, Klemm clarified: He meant that two or three of his seven freshmen will compete for, not necessarily win, a spot.

“More often than not, they’re not as technically sound as you’d like them to be,” said Klemm, who was named Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. “We have three or four of those guys that are physically close.

“We have probably three of them that have a long ways (to go) in terms of body composition. Two that came in pretty poor shape.” Continue reading

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Fall camp preview: Offensive line

With less than four weeks until the start of UCLA’s fall camp, let’s examine each of the Bruins’ position groups as they try and best last season’s 9-5 record — the program’s highest win total since 2005.

First, the offensive line, one of UCLA’s most problematic areas last season. A thin and relatively inexperienced unit, the Bruins’ line gave up 52 sacks and committed numerous penalties. After landing seven touted freshmen, it could be the most improved group on the roster.

Key returners: Continue reading

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Jake Brendel named to Rimington watch list

Sophomore Jake Brendel made the 44-man watch list for the Rimington Trophy, awarded each year to the top center in college football. Last season, the Sporting News named Brendel a first-team Freshman All-American.

The Rimington is decided by All-American selections; whoever receives the most first-team votes on the FWAA, AFCA, Walter Camp and Sporting News teams wins.

Here are the rest of the nominees from the Pac-12: Gus Handler (Colorado), Kody Koebensky (ASU), Isaac Seumalo (Oregon State), Hroniss Grasu (Oregon). The latter two are the most likely candidates for All-Pac-12 first team.

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UCLA football post-spring: Offense

Quarterback

Be happy that you have one of the best quarterbacks in the conference. Brett Hundley isn’t flawless, but not many players in the country have the same level of tantalizing potential. (I don’t think he’ll leave, but if Hundley declares for the 2014 draft, SI already has him as the No. 8 pick.)

A superlative freshman campaign — 3,745 yards, 29 touchdowns against 11 picks — proved that the 6-foot-3 dual threat is the quarterback the Bruins have long sought. Perhaps the biggest knock on him was his decision-making, whether that meant not throwing the ball away when he needed to or not sliding at the right time. In spring, he looked like he corrected some of that, drawing cheers from his teammates once when he slid on a scramble.

He also took 52 sacks last season — second-most in college football, and something that did start to affect him later in the fall. Continue reading

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