UCLA’s offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone answered questions from the media, along with quarterback Brett Hundley, receivers Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte, center Jake Brendel, and running back Paul Perkins.
UCLA center Jake Brendel has requested an NFL draft evaluation, but said Wednesday that he will definitely return to play his senior season.
Although the news isn’t surprising, the return of offensive line’s most veteran member stabilizes the unit just as the team prepares to introduce a new starting quarterback — a race that Brendel expects to come down to either current backup Jerry Neuheisel or incoming five-star freshman Josh Rosen.
If the Bruins keep the same starting offensive line heading into next season, they will have a senior, a redshirt junior, and three true juniors up front.
“We can take this offseason and really just hone in on our skills and work on just our simple techniques and work on just a lot of the simple things,” Brendel said. “Just break everything down, and really just progress as a unit. It’s always nice to have five selected guys that are going to be starting, and then once the new class comes in, we can just see who fits in where.”
UCLA center Jake Brendel was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first team this morning, marking his third straight appearance on the list.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive lineman has a 3.39 GPA in economics and has started 38 of 39 possible games in his career, sitting out the Bruins’ season opener at Virginia with a knee injury. Without him, UCLA’s offensive line allowed five sacks and committed five false starts in a performance lambasted by position coach Adrian Klemm.
Pac-12 Networks made UCLA the focus of its docu-series “The Drive” this season, and Mora has pointed out numerous times that the film crew has been very unobtrusive in their day-to-day work.
That hasn’t prevented the Bruins from ribbing one another when one of them is featured. The half-hour weekly show usually begins with an individual feature, and the latest subject was center Jake Brendel — a Harley-riding Dallas-area native whose maturity was played up as the show recapped UCLA’s 20-17 win against Texas.
“It’s never good to be that one guy,” Brendel said. “At the same time, it’s something that someone’s got to do. So I guess I’ll take the hit on that one.”