UCLA left tackle Conor McDermott undergoes MRI on knee

UPDATE: McDermott’s MRI showed no ligament damage.

UCLA left tackle Conor McDermott was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his knee Tuesday evening, but the injury is not expected to be serious.

“He has no swelling,” said head coach Jim Mora. “He really has very little pain. He felt a tiny little pop, so we just wanted to get it checked out. … He’s got no instability. Nothing like that.”

McDermott went down during Monday night’s practice, but walked off the field without a significant limp. Jake Brendel and Alex Redmond were the other offensive linemen who were also left practice on Monday, but Mora said there are no injuries or issues concerning the latter. Brendel is day-to-day with a calf injury. Continue reading

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UCLA camp notes: Three offensive linemen go down during practice

» UCLA lost three starting offensive linemen on Monday night when center Jake Brendel, right guard Alex Redmond and left tackle Conor McDermott all left the field with undisclosed injuries. None of them appeared to be limping significantly, and Brendel was smiling and laughing after the end of practice.

While the Bruins’ have improved depth on the offensive line this year, even the loss of one starter for an extended period of time could have a significant effect on the ceiling of this offense.

» Josh Rosen has not looked as consistently good as he did in spring, and the three-man quarterback competition has not been particularly compelling for the last few practices. Still, he is the one player that has the ability to make a truly head-turning play. On Monday night, those included a beautiful deep ball that went over right over Kenny Walker’s shoulder but off his hands, and a long touchdown pass to Nate Starks.

Rosen is slated to make his first media appearance this camp tomorrow afternoon.

» Hands down the most impressive play of the night belonged to Octavius Spencer. The freshman defensive back ran across the field and made a leaping interception to nab Mike Fafaul’s pass — one he held on too even as the receiver took out his legs mid-air.

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UCLA plans to redshirt offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry

UCLA is planning to redshirt offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry, who underwent surgeries on both shoulders this offseason.

Quessenberry had started 19 games through his freshman and sophomore seasons, playing guard in all but one of those appearances. Head coach Jim Mora said he was unsure whether or not the former three-star recruit will switch to center when he returns in 2016. Quessenberry started the 2014 season opener against Virginia at center in place of Jake Brendel, who is now a redshirt senior.

Even without Quessenberry, the Bruins return plenty of game experience in the trenches, including Brendel and his 39 career starts. Five other linemen have combined for 73 starts.

Offensive tackles Caleb Benenoch and Simon Goines were also limited by injuries in spring, but project to be ready for at least part of preseason camp at Cal State San Bernardino. Linebacker Kenny Orjioke and running back Steve Manfro are also on track to be healthy this season.

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UCLA center Jake Brendel makes Rimington Trophy watch list

For the second year in a row, UCLA offensive lineman Jake Brendel is on the Rimington Trophy watch list.

The Bruins’ fourth-year starter is one of 63 potential candidates up for the award, which has been given to the top center in college football since 2000. No center from the Pac-12 — or from any school west of the Rocky Mountains — has ever won it.

Brendel, who has started 39 out of 40 possible games, also had a spot on the preseason watch list heading into the 2014 season. The Dallas-area native is one of the most important members of UCLA’s offensive line, which appears to have some stability after being ranked near the bottom of the country in sacks allowed in each of the past three seasons.

In addition to Brendel, who had a strong spring camp, UCLA returns left tackle Conor McDermott, whose introduction to the starting lineup last season dramatically improved the unit’s performance. The rest of the first-string line is still somewhat fluid, but guards Alex Redmond, Scott Quessenberry and Kenny Lacy as well as tackles Simon Goines and Caleb Benenoch all have starting experience.

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UCLA’s Jake Brendel, Fabian Moreau to attend Pac-12 Media Days

UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau (10) will help represent the Bruins at Pac-12 Media Days. He is pictured here defending former UCLA receiver Devin Lucien during spring practice on Apr. 16, 2014. (Brad Graverson/Staff)

UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau (10) will help represent the Bruins at Pac-12 Media Days. He is pictured here defending former UCLA receiver Devin Lucien during spring practice on Apr. 16, 2014. (Brad Graverson/Staff)

At Pac-12 Media Days next month, UCLA will be represented by center Jake Brendel and cornerback Fabian Moreau.

The event expanded to two days for the first time in 2014, and will remain in that format at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank on July 30-31. Head coach Jim Mora and his two players are scheduled to speak on the first day at 10:50 a.m.

The Bruins have customarily brought veteran players to the conference’s first major press event of the season, and this year is no exception. Brendel is an easy pick as a team captain, one who has started 39 of 40 possible games in the middle of the offensive line.

That Moreau is attending rather than linebacker Myles Jack is a bit of a surprise, but the cornerback is one of the few seniors with starting experience. The former running back was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection last season, but put together an underwhelming campaign given his preseason hype.

See the full Pac-12 Media Days schedule below: Continue reading

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